I’m not special. Every time I finally give myself a chance to not be busy, I realize this fact about myself, and it frees me from the anchors I have tied to my sense of identity and self-worth. Keeping busy with various activities and interests does not provide a sufficient definition of who I am.
Being a freshman, I remember going through the college application process vividly. I remember sitting at college application workshops and panels listening to people telling me ways I can “stand out” and “be interesting,” but also not “overdo it” and seem fake. I remember always being told: “Tell us who you are.”
I would respond with how the extracurriculars and subjects I put a lot of time into in high school and the different aspects of my identity — such as my ethnicity, race, gender, environment — have shaped my experiences and worldview. And while I do agree that all those things inform who I am, my identity is not dependent on those things. What is more important is why I choose to think a certain way or spend time on a certain interest.
What is your why? By letting yourself be still, your focus shifts from defining who you are to your growth as an individual. The instinct to pair what you do with your self-worth begins to drift away. You will never be the protagonist in a story, nor the center of any universe, and you start to feel like you don’t need to be.
When you start to see that you are not special, in a real and not self-deprecating way, that’s when you start to see and want to get to know the light in others. You see people not in how they can serve you, or how they’re a part of your story, but for what they’re worth in their own story — one that we all have in this vast universe that can make us feel so small.
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Contact Emily Shaw on Twitter (@Emily19983185) or email: firstname.lastname@example.org