Staying True to Yourself

A flock of birds

“Tell me about yourself. What are your goals? Proud accomplishments?” 

Whenever I’ve answered these questions, I always feel the need to impress others and create a high reputation for myself. I’ve wanted to show others that I’m worthy enough for them to accept me, so they think of me as a capable and accomplished person. I hear these questions, and instantly, my palms start to sweat and my heart starts thumping as I think to myself “What if my accomplishments aren’t strong enough? What if my goals are trivial?” It’s in our human nature to seek validation from others because our subconscious priority is to feel accepted by society, which is why many of us may fear the same: not being good enough. 

All of us have created a character. Some of us have created one that accurately represents ourselves, while others have created a mask in front of society.  Inevitably, our character will keep changing as time progresses depending on our experiences, interactions and feelings. Although, we need to ask ourselves: are we changing because our true identity is growing or are we changing because we feel the need to change in order to feel accepted? Based on your perspectives, interests and passions, you should make decisions without bias judgement. There’s a fine line between being your best self because of the urge to fit within society or discovering your true self because that’s your genuine identity. Forcing yourself in the mold that society has created for you is not an act of wisdom, but through life experiences of finding your talent and acting on your passions, you will find the wisdom to continue your path of life in the right direction.

Granted, it’s much easier said than done. We can’t just forget about society’s “rules'', but we should analyze and reflect on our valuable experiences to shape our own characters. Staying true to ourselves is perhaps one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves because we should live for ourselves, not society. So, if you ever think this: “What if my accomplishments aren’t strong enough? What if my goals are trivial?” 

Here are my answers: 

  1. There is no threshold that categorizes accomplishments as “strong” or “weak”. Whether you built a space shuttle for NASA or woke up before 9 AM (yes, it can be hard :)) there will always be a “next step.” So if you don’t take the time to recognize and take pride in both your personal and professional goals, you will always feel dissatisfied. While you may believe that your dissatisfaction motivates you, it could backfire, leading to anxiety rather than happiness. 
  2. Your goals will never be trivial as long as you genuinely look forward to reaching them. Don’t define your goals based on what you think society would appreciate, but what you want to spend your time doing. From climbing Mt. Everest to even remembering to mow the lawn, the word “goal” is very subjective and the only definition that matters is your own. 

So, next time you answer the questions at the top of this article, don’t be afraid to be yourself and don’t think about what others may think of you. Answer the questions honestly and take pride in your accomplishments and goals. For a moment, forget about others - parents, friends, co-workers - and list out your personal and professional accomplishments (no matter how big or small). Everything counts as long as you do it with your heart and you will continue to stay true to yourself, creating a character that reflects you and not the mold society creates for you.

“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens” ~ Carl Jung.
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