To my family, I am the middle child. The calm one. That glue that often keeps the peace.
To my friends, I am multilayered. I enjoy the company of a variety of different people; I thrive in exposure to diversity in all its forms. In fact, I’ve only recently learned a core lesson about myself: that when I feel tethered to a single group, I often feel suffocated, because I do not feel like myself.
The self is a complex entity indeed, if not because of the way each individual with whom we interact with or hold a relationship with knows us in a different way. Does that make it difficult to identify who we truly are?
Yes and no.
I used to think that I was stuck being one kind of person, and any new person I met must only know a single form of me. It wasn’t until much, much later that I realized, it is simply not normal to be a linear entity. Human beings are so complex, and that’s putting it mildly. The only thing that should remain consistent about ourselves is our core values. It’s easy enough to say that we cherish certain characteristics in ourselves and others – but it’s not until we are put in a situation where our true self is revealed that we realize, we are not quite who we thought we were.
Is that good or bad? It depends. If I were to call myself resilient – a characteristic I constantly strive to maintain – the resilience would manifest when the going gets tough. But in addition, context is key and it always depends. Resilience is practice, and one cannot simply say they are resilient: they must actively show it. Similar to another valuable trait – kindness – you can certainly call yourself kind, but only your actions will prove it. Saying isn’t being.