The greatest gift you bring to the world

Jen Hill
5 min readSep 24, 2023

Hint: Relax, and look in the mirror

Photo by Devin Avery on Unsplash

“Who are you? What do you do?”

I’ve recently re-entered the dating scene, very cautiously dipping my toe into what seem to be shark-infested waters, and suddenly collide with these two innocent questions. I’m still only in the ‘chatting on WhatsApp’ phase — I haven’t actually met any women in person, and I’d forgotten how hard it is not to ask these basic questions. To be honest, I’d rather not ask them at all, and I ask about friendships and trees and important places instead, preferring to be the one who arrives at the king’s court wearing a shoe on my head (just to let the king know what kind of person I am, you see).

What am I supposed to answer when asked?

I’m Jen. I’m an English teacher.

Well, actually… these are lies. Not exactly lies, per se, but they only scratch at the very surface of me. It’s like these two answers draw a silhouette of me, which the other party can slowly fill in with additional information. Never straying outside the lines, of course.

Because to really answer these questions is the journey of a lifetime.

Each person lives out their own mythic journey in answering these simple questions. Who am I? What is my purpose in life?

Every great religion promises answers. They have teachings, prophets and guides, even ‘manuals’ written to help us find our ways through the mazy and chaotic pathways of life. Choices should become simplified, when there really is only one way through life, the path of righteousness, which comes from obeying these laws, codes, and commandments.

For those who feel called and comforted by religion, I feel kinship of sorts. Their depth of belief and satisfaction or contentment in the life they’ve chosen is mirrored by my own deep happiness at following the life I’ve chosen, with my own set of beliefs that guide, comfort and uphold me.

No matter which religion you follow, which God you worship, or which heaven you don’t believe exists, at some point you will come face to face with these perplexing questions.

Who are you? What is the purpose of your life?

Life itself has presented me with a rather quixotic answer, which nonetheless applies to every single person who asks it.

You are you. Your purpose is to be you.

Before you stop reading in exasperation, let me remind you of the prophetic words above the Temple of Apollo. Know Thyself.

Who are you when you cut away the conditioning you received as a child, the labels the world gave you in endless numbers, the impositions or the privileges you’ve received as a result of your gender or place of birth? Do you know yourself?

Do you love yourself? Just as you are, in this very moment? All judgment and self-improvement books set aside? Can you carve away all the bullsh*t that has been heaped on you throughout your life and see the shining, radiant, divine glory of you?

By the way, when you start asking these questions, you soon realise that there is no way you can be defined by mere labels. You are not your name or actions or beliefs but something greater and wider than it all.

When you stop trying to define yourself with labels, you can relax a bit. There is a rush of energy, of playfulness. Of light-heartedness. There is freedom here, in releasing the structures and confines of these labels, though it also means giving up the security these words provided. Some people may never be able to give up this security, their need for these words, and that’s okay. Everyone lives their own myth.

But for you, the truth seeker, there is space here, and with this space you can bring something new into the world.

What could possibly be new? You yourself. With all the latent gifts that were hidden under the labels.

Image by Frauke Riether from Pixabay

Answering the question of who you are creates the question of your purpose in life. It’s the infinity loop that endlessly recreates itself with each degree of your awakening.

Your purpose in life is to simply be. Be you.

Too simple, you say? No, immensely difficult, which is why most people live their lives doing things.

Because to be yourself means taking responsibility for yourself, owning your condition, your shadows, your traumas, your worth and your glory — all that makes up the immensity of you.

It’s far easier to just go do something, like start another meditation course, or read another self-help book, or make sure everything is all right with your family, your kids, or your chosen wolf-pack. Doesn’t the flat need cleaning? The kids need help with homework? Older parents need some company? The list of things that need doing is endless! So it’s easy to go and do, isn’t it?

But be?

Being yourself is terrifying. Being with yourself opens you to judgements and definitions. When you strip away your definitions, you may strip away your struggle. When your struggle has become the definition of your life, then peace is akin to death. So peace must be denied. After all, why should you have any peace when there is still so much to be done? So much to be saved?

Take it from someone who has lost herself multiple times in the labyrinth of self and life — you being you is the greatest gift you can bring to the world. When you know yourself, you know what gifts of service you can offer. You know your strengths, you know your talents, you know you can take space in this world.

Take your space and own it, and from this centered place of self-love and being, radiate your gifts into the world.

You’ll bring something that has never been seen before, because there’s never been another you. There is true beauty in every individual who finds authentic expression in the world.

And before all this sounds like another task to be done, a point on a cosmic check-list (to do: today — find myself and be myself and bring something unique to the world), please just lighten up. Being you is the most natural thing of all.

For me? Now that I’m done writing this, I’ll make some blunch (that’s when ‘lunch’ is the first meal of the day, shoutout to Marin, who invented the word). I’ll have a nap. Read a book and take a walk. Do some more writing in the evening. Some light cleaning in the flat. Prepare some English lessons for the week ahead. Things Jen has to do. Things Jen loves. It’s all me in the end.

I am me. I am being me.

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Jen Hill

Just a girl in Prague, writing about love, teaching, and spirituality. I enjoy shamanism, writing novels, and drinking craft beer.