Marcella appeared to have no values except those derived from other people; she prized what they prized and wanted more of whatever they had, evidently to fill an emptiness inside. Although some people might have called Marcella selfish because she set her sights on luxury and status, Rand didn’t look at it that way. On reflection, she saw that the young woman was actually “selfless,” in the sense that she had no authentic self with which to desire or to create anything that was hers alone.

“Ayn Rand and the World She Made” by Anne Heller

Every so often, I have this thought that perhaps I don’t know my self, or that I still need to find my self.

Like when someone asks me what I want to eat for dinner, I usually respond that I don’t care or that I have no preference.

Similarly, if I’m asked to make a decision at work, I often struggle to choose—especially if I don’t have enough information such that the choice is obvious.

And if someone asks me how I am, I usually say that I’m fine, good, or okay. Yes, because those are my habitual answers, but also because I don’t know how to describe in words how I’m feeling in any given moment.

But if I think more about it, it isn’t that I’ve lost myself or that I don’t know my self. Rather, I think it’s more accurate to say that I’ve spent most of my life trying to, in a sense, destroy my self.

I’ve told myself that my desires don’t matter and that I should focus on what other people want, so I’ve buried anything that I wanted.

I’ve told myself that my opinions don’t matter—the right answer matters (and yes, that the correct choice does, in fact, exist). And so I avoid making decisions unless I think the right answer is obvious.

I’ve told myself that my feelings don’t matter to me or anyone else. And so I numb the bad and belittle the good.

And so I’ve never really lost my self. I don’t need to discover my self. My self has always been, and always will be here with me.

I just need to learn to listen to my self; to respect my self; to love my self. But right now, this is where I find myself.

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