If you read many self-help books, they talk about finding yourself by looking within. While there is some element of truth to this notion, it doesn’t paint the entire picture or even the most important element of self-discovery.
First of all, finding oneself is less about discovering and more about creating who you are to become. It’s important for us to find out who God wants us to become but it still takes effort in becoming that individual. You can discover who God wants you to be but that is merely a goal. The creation of that individual or goal requires steps along the way and us changing who we fundamentally are.
Secondly, if your only focus is solely on who you are as an individual, you will miss out on the whole purpose of what this life was to be. This life is all about human connection and the relationships that we build here upon this Earth. It’s about how we connect to one another and ultimately what we can do for those around us. It’s only as we lose ourselves in the service of our fellow beings that we gain an understanding of how we fit into the overall Plan of Salvation. As Joseph Smith once stated “A man filled with the love of God, is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race.”
Our ultimate design is to become saviors on Mount Zion for ourselves and for the human race. For those of us who do get discouraged, depressed or are feeling despair in one form or another, one of the best pieces of advice that has ever been given to me was to go out and lose myself in service. Through service you focus less on your own personal issues and more on the needs of others. Service also provides a lens by which you are better able to understand your own purpose and place here on Earth. It gives us motivation to push forward with the rest of our dealings and challenges that we face and helps those of us who otherwise would be stuck in our own self-pity a reason to look up and see the beauty of the path that lies ahead. Service also provides us with the human element that binds us to our human family and a means by which we can see the world from God’s perspective a little better. It in short is what we will eventually be spending the entirety of eternity doing.
As Gandhi once said “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” You want some real self-help advice? Go and do something meaningful for someone else today.