Life at UCB through the eyes of our international student bloggers

Getting to know yourself

Getting to know yourself

Hello everyone! I hope you are all keeping yourself healthy and safe. Ever since the UK was placed in a state of lockdown, I’ve been trying to keep myself busy and occupied. I spend most of my time alone since I live away from friends and family. This has made me self-reflect a lot more often than usual. I started to think about who I really am.

It’s very hard to express yourself especially when you are seen as different or not what other people expect you to be. It’s like being put in a box in which you are forced to accept who you are. It seems daunting to be different and people see it as an absurdity in this world. I admire those who are not afraid and sorry for being who they are. We should not be scared to be different because differences are what makes the world interesting and unique.

I have always been struggling to figure out who I am. I am pretty sure a lot of you may have felt the same way about yourselves at some point in your life. I never really give much thought about it when I was younger. I knew I was different than other children because I was “too quiet”. Now that I am older, I noticed that I seem to observe people more than I talk. I’ve been told countless times how quiet and reserved I am as if that’s something bad. Back then I would have felt bad for myself but now, I understand that what other people say about me does not make me who I am.

You are not born knowing yourself, and you don’t simply know yourself by growing up and growing older. Knowing yourself is a conscious effort of understanding and accepting why you are the way you are. Executing it is not easy or comfortable but in my opinion, it’s worth it. I find beauty in knowing my own weaknesses and acknowledging them. It’s completely normal and acceptable to have weaknesses. I had a sudden realisation that I seem to know people around me more than I know myself. I was able to identify the little things that contributes to their personality or identity. Somehow, it’s difficult for me to do that for myself. I depended too much on what people think of me to know who I am, which made me realise I am giving other people the power to give me an identity. This kickstarted my personal journey to get to know who I am.

I started asking myself why it is easy for me to accept people the way they are and why is it difficult for me to accept who I am. I plucked up the courage to force myself to see the truth. I was in denial for a long time because I see myself in a certain way because it seems more acceptable to others for me to be that way. After a while, I gave up on letting people decide who I am. At one point, I became addicted to finding my identity that I took a lot of online personality tests. However, I realise that those tests are there to help me better understand or improve myself but not to define who I am.

The process of getting to know yourself is like taking bitter medicine. You don’t like it but you know you’ll eventually feel better after taking it. I have a love-hate relationship with myself and I think that’s perfectly fine. Even if I do dislike myself on a day, I try to not purposely self-sabotage my life on that day. As much as if you dislike someone, you should still be kind and respectful. This should apply to how you treat yourself too. Sometimes, we learn things better with some tough love.

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