Happy Sunday everyone!!
How’s everyone doing? I hope you all are doing fantabulous on this beautiful sunny Sunday! Can you believe it’s already June?! Time flies when you’re busy and having fun…separately. It’s been two (?) weeks since I last posted and I have no excuses. However, this time around, I’ve thought long and hard about what I should write about as graduation season has been looming around…what better than to talk about self-discovery?
To put into context, I’m no where near to being an expert of building confidence and self-discovery. After all, I didn’t study psychology other than my Science of Happiness class (more on that in a future post). All I can share are my thoughts and things that have worked for me and those around me who struggled and suffered through being lost and down as life seems to speed past by them, so let’s get on with my first part on this topic, which sets the stage and relates to my experience with confidence and job-hunting:)
Self-confidence has always been a heavy subject for me and I’m sure for many of you. I’ve seen my friends and those around me struggle with their identity, with the process of fitting in, with trying to gain acceptance from other people. When I try to console them and support them through their hard times, I often get the question or comment “how are you so confidence and comfortable with yourself all the time?” I never once felt that I was confident because I always felt I could do more, do better. But then…if that was the case, why do others think that I’m a confident person? The more I thought about it, the more I realized that what others perceive as self-confidence, I perceived it as being comfortable with my own self. That, I believe, is very different than being confident.
Being comfortable with myself meant I really needed to understand what I can offer to the world and what are areas I need to improve on. I don’t necessarily like to call them strengths and weaknesses because depending on circumstances, your greatest strength can become your greatest weakness and vice versa. It was a hard step for me to achieve this because growing up within the Asian-Chinese customs, we were taught to be humble and reserved about our accomplishments. However, being in an westernized society where technology has now permeated every part of our lives, we are constantly asked to list out our accomplishments, describe them, own them, and showcase them to the world. For those in or entering the work force, how many times have you stepped into an interview or networking event and have been asked to verbally convey what your accomplishments are to impress the company representatives in hopes for them to give you a chance? If you were like me, probably every single time. Even during high school and college applicable season, we were constantly bombarded with comments that we need to be able to convey and essentially brand ourselves so that schools will want to accept us.
For me, that was insane and I absolutely abhorred it because I felt that many began to put emphasis upon emphasis of their true “strengths” to magnify them and filter after filter on their weaknesses until they seemed negligible. The end result was they were showcasing a distorted and muted version of themselves. Can you imagine a company hiring someone based on this version…only for the person or the company to later realize it was a complete mismatch? In my head I ask, how long can a person keep this distortion up before they completely lose themselves under the pressure? Seeing that, I just refused to accept the fact that we needed to do this in order to be “successful” or to be “likable”.
Why are we so concerned with what others think of us that we hide the beautiful parts of ourselves?
So, how did I manage to navigate through this? I sat down and started thinking about what I can offer to the world and what areas I needed to work on. Everyone has something they can offer to this world, and even the little things such as a desire to make others laugh with jokes or just sharing their personal journey and thoughts have a much larger impact. Why are we so concerned with what others think of us that we hide those beautiful parts of ourselves, the parts that we can genuinely own and show? The answer is that we shouldn’t, as long as we are not harming others and we stay true to our own moral values. At least, that’s how I started thinking. And, I continued. I acknowledged that I have many areas where I needed to work on, such as my impatient nature, and I’m still trying to be more understanding and empathetic when I start becoming impatient. However, I understand and acknowledge it. I own my weaknesses just as I own my strengths.
Thus, during recruitment and job-hunting, I began by first peeling away words and content from my conversations with others that I don’t truly believe in or have any opinions on. True, I might not impress everyone, but at least I’m not lying to myself and to other people. I began to steer away from doing things just because everyone else was doing it if I didn’t believe it would help me with self-growth.
One prime example came in college during job recruitment season. I was so wrapped up in my Engineering courses that I actively chose not to become involved in extra-curricular activities. After constant involvement in high school, I knew I had enough. I wanted to focus learning my discipline, and I wasn’t too interested in any of the organizations for me to detract from my courses. In hind-sight, the lack of extra-curricular activities probably did hurt my chances with non-engineering firms, such as consulting or business firms, but do I regret it? Maybe a tiny bit at the beginning. However, I realized that I was much happier with this decision than had I forced myself to be involved in something I had no interest in simply because companies looked for it or others all did it. In my mind, I knew I had something to offer to any company that would hire me, and if the companies reject me for this, then they simply didn’t value what I had to offer. Isn’t it more important that we choose a path that values our true selves rather than a version of us that in reality doesn’t exist?
I recognize that this is simply my way of navigating through the whole job-hunt/transition to adult world that work for me. I also realize others may have their own spin on it…so for those who have also struggled and have different thoughts to share, please feel free to comment! 🙂 I’d love to hear what others have to share with the world. That’s the purpose of my blog..to share what I’ve been through and how I went through it in hopes that it can help others even just for a bit.
Stay tuned for the next part of my self-discovery series! 🙂
~::The Whimsy Me::~