“Tell us something interesting about yourself.”

When you join a new place, whether it be in a school, workplace or even a religious group setting, a common ice breaker to these leaders with utter lack of creativity tend ask the dreaded question: Tell us something interesting (or unique, if they’re feeling fancy) about yourself. Everybody stifles a groan and spends a few quiet moments to ponder on this over thought. Most people due to lack of time to truly find something remarkable about themselves often say “Oh, I have 2 brothers” or “I have a pet poodle named fish.” Then after your brief stint in the limelight your head comes back and what you could have said instead, far more interesting crashes in like waves onto a shore, and you are probably in regret that you didn’t say something more interesting to your co-workers or peers.

It’s natural, this process/icebreaker, as comedic as it is, has conveyed a very deep thought in me as I realised truly that I don’t celebrate the uniqueness of myself – and probably many people too, don’t. We have learnt to suppress these unique things about ourselves, because it’s considered arrogant, stupid and narcissistic. These traits in today’s societies (an ancient ones before us) are deemed incredibly unattractive and undesirable. Greek mythology shows us straight up the problems with narcism, the definition being an excessive interest in or admiration of oneself and one’s physical appearance, through the tale of Narcissus’ (hence where we got the name) downfall being his arrogant nature.

And I agree, I do believe that an arrogant, narcissistic mindset creates a warm envelope around yourself, which blinds you to the needs and emotions of others, and therefore makes people perceive you as cold in contrast. But I believe that to much selflessness and humility could be incredibly destructive as well, yet these characteristics of human beings are generally considered ideal, positive. It’s not that I don’t believe that they are necessarily bad, but allow me to quote my mother about what she says about healthy eating: everything in moderation. If you are too narcissistic, you live in a world of your own and are self centered. If you are selfless, you share your world with everybody and sometimes you give more of your world, generously and with good intent, till you have no more of it left. An equilibrium of the two, would be the optimum for personal growth and development, perhaps also, self appreciation.

Raise your flag of achievements high above yourself, but know when to pull it down when the colours have faded and the elements have clearly been at it. Sing from the roof tops of what you have created, earned, done, worthy of glory and praise but recognise that some people would like to sleep when the sun’s gone down. Humility may take you far but I believe self confidence may take you a little bit further. And in this journey of life, the aim is to move forward.

I firmly believe that it is integral that you recognise your strengths and begin to acknowledge them as so. Allow me to illustrate your character as a physical theatre: your weaknesses, shouldn’t take the backseat, more rather the front row. They should be on stage from time to time, under the harsh glare of the lights, but predominantly it’s your unique, interesting and wonderful parts of you that should take the show.

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