13 November 2008

“Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”

Most of us take an active part in the various areas of our life, but perhaps few of us take active part in creating ourselves. We often let forces like our peers, our family, and our circumstances, condition us, instead of taking advantage of the control we have over who we are, and shaping ourselves into the kind of person we want to be.

There is nothing specifically wrong with being a reflection of our friends, or our family, unless they are not who we want to be, and unless we have lost our individualism to their influence over us.

Many say they are still finding themselves, though no one knows how exactly this process of finding one's self operates, and it seems to result most often in great frustrations and despair. Not to mention that the idea of finding something is generally unappealing, knowing that what we find may not be what it is we want to find at all.

Perhaps we should not let life happen to us, as much as we should make life happen for us. Acknowledging that there is much beyond our control, we still have more control over who we are, and who we will become, than we often believe.

Why wait an unforeseen amount of time, in attempt and hope of discovering ourselves, when instead we could begin the process of character development at any given time?

It is all good and well to know others, but take the time to reflect, to know yourself, as well. Are you who you want to be?

Most of us like to create, and I find there is something so promising, so stirring, about the prospect of creating ourselves. This is not to say the process will be easy, there will surely be difficulties in molding ourselves, but imagine the possibilities of active participation in building your character versus simply letting your surroundings sculpt you.

Leo Tolstoy said, "Everyone thinks of changing the world, no one thinks of changing himself." Perhaps it is true that we often fuss over the flaws of the world, what we believe the world should be like, instead of first knowing our own shortcomings, and following that, most importantly improving our own character. And while we need not obsessively worry about what we do, or who we are, a healthy dose of self reflection can be quite beneficial.

There is tremendous power in knowing yourself, and even more power in daring to chisel away faults to unearth your own potential. May it seem an overwhelming task, it should not and does not happen in a day. Do not be afraid to start simple, after all, every accomplishment, and every journey, first begins with a single step.

Do you more so look to find yourself, or create yourself? Are you already who you want to be? If not, do you know what kind of person you want to be? How often, if ever, do you simply reflect on your life, and who you are, who you want to be? Other thoughts?

Title Quote: George Bernard Shaw
Photo Credits: Editorial "Niagara" from Elle Magazine Italia, photographed by Stefania Paparelli, and scanned by allicantaste @


Tuesdai Noelle said...

Good Morning S-C!

Love the last photo of the entry.

"...but imagine the possibilities of active participation in building your character versus simply letting your surroundings sculpt you." S-C

I 100% agree. 2 quotes I could use that would fit (for me on this post)

“"The best color in the whole world, is the one that looks good, on you!”
“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.”
~CoCo Chanel

I mostly strive to create & form myself, which is usually by daily & new things I find out about me. We grow everyday and learn something new...I take bits & pieces from the; good, bad & humourous moments, and shape them around my personality. I'm still shaping, guessing and filling my way, so far so good... :o)

Hope your day is cool :O)

DaisyChain said...

Another truly amazing post.
Of which I cannot find the words to adequatley express my thoughts
(I can't even spell the words I do have!)

Much love x

Ms Unreliable said...

I perhaps think a bit too much about who I am and who I want to be, and I actually find it quite stifling. I should just settle with wanting to be better, and hope that good will follow :)

Anabel said...

"Perhaps we should not let life happen to us, as much as we should make life happen for us"
this is just sooo true!!

xoxo sweetie

rebeca's said...

so so so so cute(L)

Franco said...

i'M not read the person I want to be!
and yes i have to sart looking for me, I have to make me1
you just opened my eyes!
thank you!

J'Adore Fashion said...

LOVE the pictures as always, so dreamy and lost!!!

Everyday day, with every experience, i try to form, create and embrace myself--experiences have shaped me a lot--Am happy with me :)

Oh dear, am with you on that exercise thing :-P


Kenza said...

As always, an amazing post with crazy pictures !
All that you said is so true... Beautiful but intelligent is what you are ;)

♥ Marta ♥ said...

Hey you...
ooh .. the lovely Canadian Niagra Falls... I love going there :)

I never had any expectations as to whom I want to be... I just allow for life to take its course and shape me into the person I am supposed to become ... I don't like to over think my existence, I just live my every day the best I can ...and the outcome is what it meant to be :)

P.S. I don't know if you notice but I nominated you for the" You rock award".... :)

Dorkys Ramos said...

I reflect on my life probably more than I should instead of just living it and letting my heart lead the way. I know who I'd like to become and am still in the process of getting there.

Mila said...

Hi dear!!

Sorry for not commenting the last few days..

Gorgeous and inspiring post.
So funny; changing the world, but not ourselves.
In my case it's definitely not very true. I am always working on myself, i guess since i can remember. I don't know why actually, because sometimes it makes life harder than it actually is. Nevertheless i so agree with you that working on yourself and knowing what kind of person you want to be is very important and something more people should be aware of and work on.
But on the other hand, i think it's also very important for people to come to a certain point of acceptance, self-acceptance.

Love you dear,


ps. Congrats for the award! You sooo deserve it.
I wish the world for you, Susanna.

Couture Carrie said...

Excellent GBS post title and exquisite pictures, as usual, S-C!

I consider myself a work in progress. I probably try to create myself rather than find myself, though.
Fun existential Qs - you should totally complete the Proust questionnaire!


CapuccinoB. said...

honestly, i have no idea about my future. i'm 14 now, and you know, people use to say: i wanna be a doctor! i wanna be a lawyer, but before that im gonna study blah blah blah
you know, they just already know everything. okey, that's not my situation xD i wanna be something realted to fashion, you already know it, but it seems so difficult, so impossible that... well, we'll see :P


Betsey said...

thank you for your encouraging comment dear!
i think its something that i have to work through.

this post is so lovely. i think im still trying to find myself...and trying to create myself as well. its quite a process!

Miss Woo said...

Thought provoking post! I think at this point of my life I've no idea what I want to be, but that's good as it gives more opportunities in the future.

♥ fashion chalet said...

hey S-C, hope all is going well. :)

Thanks for the lovely outfit comment in my blog. I have a new fondness for floor length dresses. Well, I always wanted one when the "maxidress craze" was present. But finally, it took a while, got my hands on one, so it's a very fun and ecstatic feeling for me! :)

I have so many books I want to get. Here's hoping I get some bookstore gift cards for the Holidays! Maybe it'll be more fun this way, waiting...

Sometimes, late at night; the lights are off, and I kid you not am partially asleep, I spring up with the perfect write up or outfit idea for the blog. ACK. It's funny but yet, also productive. ;)

Well for being on-a-whim, you are quite excellent at it my dear. I applaud you, as this is another brilliant topic accompanied with the most beautiful of editorials! :)

Jess said...

I am in complete agreement. People always tell you to get out start living, don't wait for life to happen, make it happen! So right.

Hippie, hippie - milkshake said...

lovely post- and I totally agree.

Who know who you are if you don´t know yourself....

Hot Bot said...

"Be the change you want to see in the world."

Great proactive message S-C :) And so true. You can't change your past, those interactions definitely influence one in a tremendous way. But you are the ultimate dictator of who you are, and who you become.

Wana said...

live life love you! thats my inner motto.
another great post boo! *a thundering round of applause*

She's Dressing Up said...

Gorgeous, gorgeous photographs.
I don't think I'm exactly who I want to be - I'd love to be more self confident, but I'm not sure what I can do about it. I'll figure it out =]

Miss Karen said...

I think because I have spent a lot of time alone, in self-reflection that I know exactly who I am and what I believe in. I didn't find it an arduous process, rather I just dropped as many external influences as possible and just listened to myself and what/who I wanted to be. And this didn't take the form of a vocation or a superfiscial personality type but rather something more deeper.

While my life situation can sometimes be the complete opposite of what I dream, I know that myself as a person, my beliefs, philosophies, morals, love of pistachio icecream, will still stay strong and inform everything I do/say no matter what.

jujusheart2 said...

lovely blog....

i.d. said...

I don't know what I want to be, only that I want to be better. I think about this every day...Dwelling on it rather than taking action becomes pretty stressful, but luckily I think I am making some progress, however slow.

C.B. said...

totally agree. I´m making life happen for me :)

Society Hill said...

your blog truly is the most refreshing and amazing blog I have come across in a long time. The pictures are gorgeous, but your thought process is so inspiring as well. keep it up.


Elizabeth said...

I love this quote about creating yourself. It's amazing how changing the perspective of how you look at your life can increase feeling of hope for the future. Especially for someone like me who likes to work on creative projects. This post was really helpful for me right now :)

muchlove said...

Fantastic post. I LOVE those editorial shots.

I'm still figuring out who I am. I'm still figuring out who I want to be. It's a work in progress.


STEFANIE said...

Wow, 'life isn't about finding yourself. life is about creating yourself.' I've never thought about this before, I'm usually not very reflective on that sort of stuff, but this one's different! I love it, and it's so true! I think people change or 'create' themselves with every new thing they know or with someone they meet or whatever. It's not: 'wow, now I know who I want to be, done!', it's really a longer process of creating yourself,
And I think I am beginning to sound weird or stupid so I will leave you with that ^-^
But thank you again for the lovely post, reading your blog is always a pleasure!

offset outfit said...

Great pics and great model!!!! soooooo inspiring!!


Frances said...

What a post full of wisdom. I believe the same thing, that we must create who we are and not let others define us. I've never also understood "finding oneself" since I've always known who I am and what I want. I am also constantly changing myself; I am definitely not the girl I was last year, or even 3 months ago. Self-reflection and reinvention are necessary always if one wants to survive in this world, and to love living in it!

PorcelainBlonde said...

Beautiful pictures, I love them.

Whenever I read your blog, I'm touched by your thoughtfulness and inspiration. I'm amazed and impressed that you think like this at your age, I didn't start delving into these sorts of issues till my early 20's.

I do believe we create ourselves and our lives, every day. We are all artists really and its inspiring to think we have the power to create and shape ourselves.

May I link you darling?

D said...

Im so glad that you posted this because it has always been a constant battle of mine not to get lost and twisted into someone's beliefs,because i like to be an individual,i would not buy a certain article of clothing just because i saw someone else wears it,i love to just be me and i take different parts of people through my experience and i aspire to be a little bit of my friends and family because i want to be a better person,i want to learn from others and my mistakes,i want to be a better man i want to create a better environment for myself,individualism helps me be who i want to be,it helps me stand out,it permits me to live life,i hope to mold myself into a better person every single day of my life<3

great post,you've touched me once AGAIN

Sarah Von said...

Amazing post, lovely photos. What great thoughts to read right before I tumble into bed!

rachel said...

I am far from the person I want to be. I want to be stronger, and more grounded in the word of God. Everything else will just go from there. and it's easier said than done! I still struggle to spend more time with the most important One in my life.

I loove the dress on that first photo! so lovely :)

♥ R

Caf said...

hear hear
such a perfect title...encompasses such a huge wisdom that people think is elusive :)

Cate said...

You know, yesterday when I passed that homeless guy in front of the supermarket, I thought of you and gave him some money.
I don't think we should imitate our friends. Because our friends love us for what WE are, and most people aren't exactly delighted when they find that someone is copying them all the time. Also it gets boring when one person is an exact replica of the other person. They can't really develop a conversation either, because the one person would go "You know, xxx is so great!" and the person who is copying the other one would say "Yes, I know!" And then? Well, the conversation would be over.
I think that expression of "finding yourself" is.. I dunno... weird. What do you do when you have found yourself? Then your life hasn't got any meaning anymore, supposing that the meaning of life is finding yourself.
I think the journey of finding yourself or creating yourself, is basically the aim you want to achieve in the end.

emma said...

these pictures are so beautiful, i love them!

sueper said...

Such a beutiful editorial and you're such a great writer!

Lisa said...

my beauty.

ah. i miss you.

SO glad you are healing girl.
been thinking + wishing you well.

ohmy. this is deep.
i think i am constantly finding myself...
i would like to think that each day i grow and expose myself to new things...
therefore i will never get to that point where i am full "me".

hmm i think that sounds crazy.
i just never want to get to the point where i am content.
i want to constantly grow and discover me and the plans God sets in front of me...
the journey never ends.

but for now i am happy with me & the direction i am going in.
i am with the most amazing man in the world :) :) :) and for that i am forever grateful.

ah. cheese.sorry!

your comments make my heart melt

you are 1 in a million girl.

stay shining.

have a wonderful weekend.


agnes said...

I must say, it's hard to divide a line betwee finding/ creating. We people always spend a lot of time in finding our true self, but for 99 out of 100, we often fail. While we are searching, we actaully built some inner qualities and shape us who we are today. it's rather contrasting, isn't it?

btw, the title becomes my quote of today :)

Savvy Mode SG said...

I agree with you. how can a person find onself if he/she doesn't know what to look for. a person's life is the composition of past and present which will make a future.

Paloma said...

I think too Steven Meisel pics were too racy, like just to provok and not to be beautiful.
I don't ike today's photoshoot thath much, but you stil have my heart :)

Stompface said...

I get confused trying to figure out who I am, because I am so many different things rolled in to one.

and I reflect on it ALL the time. all the time.

hope you are awesome!


Bambola said...

what gorgeous photos!! Your post is rather similar to one I've just done. Very reflective. It's nice to have moments in the madness.

Songy said...

I'm nearly there I think. It took me a while. I used to read Hermann Hesse and Albert Camus. Their novels confused hell out of me when I was growing up.
I can't say they didn't have any influence as I believe they gave me depth to my personality. So here I'm thinking ... yes i'm a creation of all cultural consumption. Does it make sense?

miss ashli nicole said...

wow, great post =]

The Stylish Wanderer said...

I find that I like who I am currently, but know that there is a part of me that could still be nicer, sweeter, more helpful, learn more etc.

We are all not perfect. and I think we all strive to be. which is sometimes a bad thing and a good thing.

though sometimes I find myself self-loathing myself. which is not good and touches upon another post you had.

when people tell me they remind me of someone I kinda get angry, and then other times Im completely flattered. the door swings both ways.

Hila said...

I think the title of this post pretty much says it all :)

Brigadeiro said...

What a simple yet deeply insightful post!

I agree wholeheartedly, and thank you for the reminder, I really needed it today :)

surimay said...

hello helloooo!
very intriguing post! i'd have to say i don't think i'm fully myself. i admire people who are so self assured in who they are, their goals etc. my goals are rather vague and i fear are being shaped by my parents worries. they like to think i will pick a nice safe well earning job (like...accounting >:/ )
i assume all the experiences i have yet to gain will help to give me stronger feild in who i am and what i believe in :)

p.s. lovely lovellyyyyy images by the way! and also thank you muchly for the sweet comments on my new shoes! :D

Styleseeking Zurich said...

Let me start by saying that i love your blog and you're writing really touches my deeply..

I reflect about myself a lot, since I was a little girl I am very self-conscious although many thing I am self-confident. I know myself very well and there are so many traits I want to change. Being so aware of yourself is not always that good, I should learn to let myself go and not worry about everything and take things too serious.

As you said, it's not easy to create the you you want to be. It's hard for me to find that distant and objective point of view..

Take care!


Nita-Karoliina said...

i must say, you.18 years old woman, you are my menthor. all your recent post has touched me, deeply. i am constantly thinking, who am i, and i havent found my self. i wonder do i ever..i have so amny issues which blocks my true self. its hard to explain. i have thinked that i am freesoul, i dont want to be gaged. like i was in my previous relationship and in my childhood. i know that i dont want anymore to people walk over me. i have started to stand up, raise my voice, defend and make me noticable. and its easy to complain that the world is messed up. well it is, but so are some humanbeings as well. i think people should start caring more eachother, help. not destroy..i know i make no sence, you just made me think so many things..
i really adore you susan-cole! and i wish i had that same wisdom you have. i often go to the dark,deppression side..that i am nothing, everybody else are something..but sometimes i do rise up. and its new, it means i am getting better and all those "demons" maybe i can fight them off..some day..let see..
sorry all this, i changed the subject about hundred times but you just make me think..
with love:Nita

Nita-Karoliina said...

and like miss karen, i spend time alone too and i have strong opinions and morals. nobody can take those away!

Valentine said...

Good evening Miss Susanna Cole! (well, its evening o'er here..)

To answer your always very though provoking query-- I do tend to reflect frequently which often leads to change. However, I find that whenever I change its only temporary and I go back to "who I was" before-- with a few new lessons learned.. so I guess.. I just develop or as you have said "create" who Iam as time goes.

Elena said...

Truly inspiring..

ryan manning said...

i like your blog

allaboutvintage said...

lovely retro photos but...the first one is really amazing!!

do you like vintage?
VINTAGe earrings in sale, they have been purchased in local markets of PARIS,BARCELONA, MADRID..and ITALY each piece that i bought has a small story. so delightful for fans of vintage and unique pieces...

Taryn "Skinny Genes" B. said...

the pictures are oh so lovely.

I think its an amazing thing when someone knows who they are.
Im not quite the person i want to be, but I know for a fact that im growing into the person I want to be each day.
I never saw myself as a follower, but not much of a leader either. I was usually the type do just do my own thing simply because 'I' wanted to do it, and if it just so happened that people wanted to follow, then they were welcomed to.

A Rose said...

Your post is so beautiful :) Thankfully, for once in my life, I am on my way to creating who I am and who I want to be.

Linnéa said...

Absolutely fab photos!!

Petra said...

Heya! Yet another stunning and wonderfully philosophical post!

Hmm tricky too! After thinking for a bit, i have to say that I hope and try to grow as a person every day, with different experiences and encounters adding to my person and perspectives all the time.

I hope to create myself and my life through growing through observance of others. It can often be hard to see oneself from an objective point of view, but I try to keep myself on the path that I want to take.

Not sure if that even made any sense, I'm rather sleep deprived!

The Clothes Horse said...

I think I'm fairly active in creating myself...or at least developing the parts I like. Unfortunately these parts don't always please others. :)
It's interesting though to reflect on the influence of family--there's so many little things that add up to so much.
Your posts are always so fresh. Always something new to explore.

CaraMia ♥Hippie Couture♥ said...

"There is nothing specifically wrong with being a reflection of our friends, or our family, unless they are not who we want to be"

This is so true. It is essential to analyze who we are spending our time with and what effect they are having on our life. If we are spending time with friends or even family that are tearing us down instead of building us up, sometimes it is best to just move on, even though it can be painful.

It will become more painful long term, if we feed into the negativity or habits of those around us, then to say goodbye.

Always surround yourself with positive people and those that will lift your spirits.

Great post as always Susanna!
Cara Mia

Lump said...

I'm 28 years old and I'm still trying to create myself. I have a ton of discovering to do. I just wish I knew where to start.

great post!!

Female Action Star said...

This is a beautiful post and very uplifting for me! Thank u sooooooooo much for this...


JESSY said...

hey, wonderful blog you have here. very inspiring :)

glayki said...

i love your blog ,your posts and your photos!
glayki from greece!