Seek and ye shall find

Mental health

I love that quote from Rumi: What you seek is seeking you. When you hear it, your heart relaxes a little. You stop trying to shove the smudgy roundness of yourself, edges all blurred from life’s sweet and shocking other plans, into a stark square of expectation.

It means that you don’t have to strive so relentlessly to ‘become’, as Michelle Obama might put it. In her brilliant biography Becoming, she traces back through her life, and it reads like a motivational map. You want to apply it to your own hopes and dreams. It’s the kind of book you put down, punch the air and say: Right, I need to get to work. At its core, you see she worked her butt off to get where she is today – but you also understand that who she ‘became’ was inevitable. What she sought was seeking her. She was just very proactive about meeting it halfway. Or, in her case, near the finish line.

We are all ‘becoming’. We really don’t have to know what it is specifically we are becoming. Back in my late 20s, during a treacly bout of depression, I kept hearing a voice in my head. It said, over and over again, Become who you are. Become who you are. I basically thought: Fuck off. Who am I? Who am I supposed to be, anyway? I felt very weighed down by the notion of becoming who I was. So many young people do. The pressure of expectation nearly floors them before they get started.

Eventually, the depression muted and I stopped hearing the voice. Actually, I deliberately stopped listening to it. I shoved it down as far as I could into the depths of my self, so I would never have to face the reality of being who I was.

I’ve grown up a lot since then. I realise that none of us have any choice but to become ourselves. To be ourselves. You can’t fight against who you are, any more than you can stop the tides from rising and falling, any more than you can stop the sun setting or flowers from blooming. You get the picture.

What you seek is seeking you is an immensely comforting snippet to rest your head on. It means that you don’t have to try so hard. The freedom to be yourself stretches out before you on the road less travelled. The path is pristine and nobody has set foot on it.

Nobody can, you see. It’s your road.