Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Being You: Courtney Morris, Graduate Intern
I have recently become increasingly aware of the pressure many of us put on ourselves to constantly be “doing”. We base a large portion of our self-worth on our achievements and activities rather than who we are intrinsically. This external focus is largely created and reinforced by society at large. We are taught from a young age the importance of attaining high grades in the classroom and winning trophies in little league, dance recitals, or art shows.
Our culture continues to push competition through achievement, placing a strong emphasis on constant striving to “do” more. We often internalize such messages, thus telling ourselves that we must live up to this incessant force taking the place of our true selves. There is no doubt that we are a fast-paced society, but where does this leave room for us to just simply “be”? How and when can we learn who we are at the core, when we are not striving to achieve what we are told we are supposed to?
The formation and maintenance of our true identities seem important in providing a core basis for giving us a strong sense of self. This core self is important to have throughout the highs and lows we all experience in life, something which will carry us through when times are tough and we feel lost.
However, it is easy to get wrapped up in the achievement-focused whirlwind of society. How then do we separate the “doing” versus “being” components of our identities? This can be difficult, especially for those of us who are used to judging ourselves based on our accomplishments. Here are a few suggestions: try out new things you have never done before, not to challenge yourself but rather to learn more about your own preferences; make a list of as many descriptive words about yourself as you can (unrelated to activities you participate in); ask your close friends and family members to describe you in detail; keep a journal about your feelings, thoughts, and ideas. These are just a few ways to become more aware of your self. Remember, this may be a slow process!