How to Discover Who You Are - According to Nietzsche
You've probably heard of Friedrich Nietzsche. Maybe they made you read about him at school.
Nietzsche was a German philosopher, thinker, and essayist. His highly acclaimed works explored society, ethics, morality, religion, and many more topics.
Many associate Nietzsche's work with nihilism and cynicism. Although they are topics that he constantly covers in his works, it is mistakenly believed that he claimed that life has no meaning or is not worth living.
This may be because Friedrich is known to be an existentialist, but contrary to what many believe, he promoted the search for a life full of meaning. This he did throughout his many books.
Nietzsche spoke about discovering yourself and thus finding purpose. Not just once, but many times. These are some of his tips for self-discovery.
1. Question moral codes
Nietzche explained that what is known as universal values and moral codes are nothing more than imposed customs.
Manners, traditions, culture, all of these are simple impositions that are preserved only to maintain order. Although they may be necessary to some extent, following these customs blindly only limits your individuality.
Nietzsche called this behavior the Herd Mentality.
Question everything that you have accepted as true throughout your life. Don't adopt the beliefs of others just because you were taught that way, make sure that your values are really yours.
It's not a call to be antisocial, but a way of thinking freely.
2. Accept suffering to discover yourself
Naturally, we seek the easiest way and avoid suffering, that is why it is easy to accept moral codes without questioning them.
However, Nietzsche assures us that we must inevitably choose the difficult path to grow.
This is explored in his essay Schopenhauer As Educator.
Suffering is part of the path, and to flee from it is to refuse to travel it. Seeking to think freely is a decision that will lead us to more complicated paths.
For Nietzsche, there is no high price to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.
Accept challenges, push your limits, allow yourself to fail and thus, you will be closer to who you really are.
3. Get closer to what gives you meaning
In ancient times, it was not very difficult to know where to look for meaning. Everything was in God's hands.
However, you have surely heard that Nietzsche was not the biggest fan of God.
Look for the things and activities that make you feel whole. If you find meaning in religion, that's fine.
If you find it in other activities, that's great too.
It must be something that society has not imposed on you and that fulfills you.
Nietzsche didn't believe that we are destined to find our purpose, but that we can create it ourselves.
Doing the things you genuinely love will bring you closer to finding meaning.
4. Live on your own terms
Nietzsche posed a question that we should all ask ourselves:
If a demon condemned you to live your life over and over again, would you make the same decisions?
If the answer is no, you're not living by your own values.
Following your own terms means breaking repetitive cycles. If you find yourself getting in and out of the same failed relationships. If you prefer to please others to avoid conflicts. If you only complain about your job and your ungrateful boss.
All of this happens when you live by the values of others.
Make your decisions yours, otherwise, you are living inside a prison. And many times, that prison is yourself.
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