Being Me

Being Me

I advocate that we be true to ourselves, and be who we really are inside. My personal theme for 2012 is: be me.

But, how do I “be me”?

In fact, how do I even know who I am inside and who is “me”?

I have always had a particular image of myself – I was impatient, generous, versatile, adaptive, kind, friendly, strong… I also created an image for others to see, whether it was in the social or professional world – easy going, efficient, trustworthy, a manager, a leader, a friend…

I thrived on these qualities I attributed to myself. Yet I wonder if this is really me or rather, who I want to be?

Perhaps when something is not true to its core, it will not be sustainable in the long run. Fatalistically, towards the end of 2009, these images crumbled to millions of tiny pieces. As I lugged myself through major depression, ailing health and a few suicide attempts, I could not cope with the fact that perhaps I was not as strong as or easy going as I thought myself to be.

The reality that I could not cope with the stress working as an international executive prancing around the world was more than I could bear.

I hid away from the world. I felt I had let everyone down. The image I had so carefully constructed for others and maintained in the last 10 years disintegrated into thin air. Maybe it wasn’t a fake me, but it was definitely only part of me – the part of me that I wanted the outside world to see. So I crafted carefully the image prior to my demise, heeding to all the management training I had undergone about building a reputation, networking, and how to be a good manager.

As I sat at home everyday, mulling over what happened, I became bitter and angry. For the longest time, I did not understand why I had caved in under stress, or why I was wrought with depression. What was wrong with me?

Needless to say, I was put on anti-depressants, had to see a psychologist regularly, and ordered to take leave of absence from work. It took about 18 months before I became more opened about my fate with depression, or even admit I needed help.

I was pleasantly surprised. My friends did not judge me or think lesser of me. My company and bosses were supportive of plight, and gave me time and space to recover.

One day I picked up a pen and starting scribbling in my journal again, and noted down all these things I wanted to do, places I wanted to visit, what my ideal life was, and what kind of person I’d want to be. I started writing again and started a blog to note down my thoughts.

In the process of self-reflection and self-exploration, I slowly realized that I wasn’t as strong as I was – and that is actually not a problem! I was not invincible either, and that doesn’t make me any less of a person. I finally came to admit that I could not cope with the stress placed on me, and the pressure I placed on myself. I could deny no more that I was not happy despite the veneer of having my life together.

In short, I rediscovered who I was at the core. Personality traits such as strength were imposed on me from childhood – I actually am not so strong, I need a lot of help and support. I’m also not as versatile and adaptive as I thought I was, based on the international experience I had during school years. Moreover, I’m really not that outgoing or friendly; if given a choice, I’d rather stay at home all the time, watch DVDs, sleep, and not talk to anyone.

The psychological jargon I learnt was “Self Awareness,” a state in which we understand who we are, why we have certain emotions, the thoughts behind emotions and the actions as a result. Sadly, many of us plod along day by day, not understanding ourselves at all.

However, the quest for self-awareness is only the first step and it is by no means an end goal. Rather, this is an ongoing process. The process of introspection is in itself a piece of homework and you can find some great insights on how to achieve self-awareness here and here and here.

Yet, once we are aware of who we are, how do we go about being this person we are?

These are some of my humble suggestions after some 2 years of pondering, musing, and reflecting. In no particular order:

  • Have courage to be different from others
  • Know that some people may not like the “new”, or rather, “real” you
  • Surround yourselves with people who are supportive
  • Alienate those who try to make you the person they want you to be
  • Open up to the world and admit this is who you are, the good, the bad and the ugly
  • Laugh at yourself
  • Take criticisms in a stride
  • Do not apologize for who you are
  • Trust in your own judgment, you know best for yourself
  • Love who you are
  • Don’t let others tell you who you are

Today, I am no longer afraid to voice my dissenting opinions for fear of not being accepted, or seen as weird. I am unique and have my own ideas and perspectives. I do not mind that people think I’m a silly idiot for quitting a job that offers me a permanent expatriate package until I retire. I know I’m impatient and hot-tempered, and I cry because I’m emotional. That’s all fine.

The more I love myself, who I am, and accept the good bits of me and the not so good bits of me, the more I am sure of who I am, and I’m not scared to be just that person!

Confidence to be oneself exudes radiance from within. No one else has the right to tell you how you should or should not be.

Once you can look yourself in the mirror, and smile at the reflection, that’s when you know you are being who you are at the core.

These are some enlightened perspectives I came about through my own introspection. I’d love to hear your ideas too on how to be true to ourselves everyday in the comments below.

Photo by digitalpimp.

Noch Noch

After an episode in major depression, Noch Noch is on a quest for clarity and self awareness to be true to herself, jotting down her reflections at “Be Me. Be Natural.”

Latest posts by Noch Noch (see all)

44 Comments

  1. Great post and thank you for your transparency!

    It surely is a road that we travel on “the Road to Self Awareness” – with struggles, challenges, pain, laughter, depression, resolve, and a bit of joy we get there – I like to say, Surrender, Allow, Wonder….

    Staying TRUE to yourself is KEY in life and until we have enough self awareness that we are who we are – then life becomes JOY!

    I stay true to myself with my I AM mantras each morning –
    I am happy
    I am healthy
    I am blessed
    I am joy
    I am love
    I am financially free
    I am loved
    I am YOURS

    In love and light,
    Nancy

    Reply
    • Hi Nancy

      Wonderful mantras!!! Seems to be a way to instill some positive thinking into us – I should do that, as I tend to worry a lot and think negatively. I think with self awareness, knowing who we are , and having the courage to be ourselves, will make us truly happy

      Together on this road to self awareness
      Noch Noch

      Reply
    • Great post

      yea the secret of life is to “Know thy self”

      How well do you know yourself?

      You must express your feeling at all time..

      Let other people know where you stand..

      Reply
      • Hi Jack

        That’s very well said – let other people know where you stand!
        I didn’t do much of that before and thought I knew myself. But we keep learning day by day

        Thanks for coming by and reading my post :)

        Take care
        Noch Noch

        Reply
  2. Love it, love it, love it…true, true true…I totally relate to this post, thanks for sharing…cheers :)

    Reply
    • that is the truth…but you know i tried implying them many a times but somewhere the situations, the circumstances and people are really harsh around me not letting me to come out as m in my core! yet your post brought me that lost confidence to try again….thank you….

      Reply
      • Hi Saradia

        I meet with opposition all the time, or others criticize me for being what I am. Sometimes I doubt myself all over again. But the more times we fail, the more we learn, the more we can come to understand who we are

        Don’t lose faith!
        Noch Noch

        Reply
    • Hi Melissa

      Thanks for coming by and I’m glad you like the post. Hope we all continue to help each other to discover ourselves!

      Noch Noch

      Reply
  3. Take out “international” and that’s an honest and concise version of what 14 months worth of scribbles and word documents were trying to say. Thank you & Best wishes.

    Reply
    • Hi Lynn

      Thanks! but not sure what you mean about “take out international…”?
      Hope you are doing well

      Noch Noch

      Reply
  4. Thanks for your insights Noch Noch. When I was younger and in high school I would always be myself and not worried about what others thought. Needless to say it go me into trouble sometimes and wasn’t exactly the best way to find a job etc. So I conformed and built a reputation and have a successful career, but something is missing. I don’t think either extremes is the best way to go about things. I’m still figuring out who I am and hope to find more of your thoughts here soon.

    Reply
    • Hi James Boozie

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts here too. I hope you can find what you are missing soon and be yourself without fear of what others would say. I’m trying too. not awlays easy. Lets encourage each other along!

      Noch Noch

      Reply
    • Hi James Boozie

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts here too. I hope you find what is missing and be who you are without fear for what others would think. It’s not easy. I can’t do it all the time either. but I hope you will find it soon. Let’s keep encouraging each other

      Noch Noch

      Reply
  5. Hi Noch,
    Once again, thanks for sharing yourself so openly and honestly. :) Like you said here, so much is imposed on us in childhood; be strong, be good, be obedient and so on. We are not robots, we are human beings and we are prone to all of the expressions of being human.

    Reply
    • Like Justin, I admire your openness to talk about your experiences. It is really hard to let go of a self image, especially one that you worked so hard to build. My 5 siblings were into the hard sciences (medicine, engineering, computers), and it was really hard for me to break out of that. It wasn’t even that my family was imposing this will on me…I had just decided that a science field meant success and everything else meant failure. It doesn’t matter that it made me miserable for several years.

      So definitely don’t apologize for who you are, even if it’s YOU who are beating yourself up. Sometimes, you can be your own worst enemy, but if you realize what you’re doing, you can become your own friend again.

      Reply
      • Hi Deborah

        I think that’s what I did – become my own worst enemy and making myself do certain things or be a certain way because I thought I had to. and like you say, now I’m rediscovering what i’m doing and who i am, i seem to start liking me again

        Hope you found your way after the sciences stream and enjoying what you do!

        Noch Noch

        Reply
    • Hi Justin

      Hello again! Yup right on – we are human beings and we can express who we are without succumbing to boxes made for us to fit in
      I think that’s when we are happy – courage to be ourselves

      Noch Noch

      Reply
  6. Wow, its strange sometimes to read something by someone else, and feel its “you” they are writing about! I share a lot of similiarities with you. I am struggling to understand who I am at my core, at 47, I feel like I am running out of time. I want so desperately to be “me”, but I am lost. Thank you for sharing this blog! I am encouraged by your story.

    Reply
    • Hi John

      I feel the same too – I’m running out of time! But sometimes I think, given normal circumstances life expectancy these days is 100 years old. We all got quite a few decades ahead of us. Why the hurry? :)

      Hope you find who you are soon and enjoy the process!

      Thanks for coming by

      Noch Noch

      Reply
  7. Thanks Noch

    Reply
    • Thanks John! Hope you are well :)
      Noch Noch

      Reply
  8. Wow! I really have to say that this post has really inspired me to be even more comfortable in my own skin. To others I may seem very weird, but in reality I am just being myself. There are some times when I feel really depressed and sad because I feel I don’t meet societies standards of “perfect” but I tend to always challenge myself to open up more and speak my feelings to thers by participating in activities or events I have never done before. For instance, I am taking an acting class to help me express my inner capabilities. You really inspired me to keep giving my 100% me in all I do and to not be or act like anyone I am not. Thank you! LOVE JAS <3

    Reply
    • Hi Jassie

      So happy to hear that!!! I’m glad I’m of some inspiration. It’s also a learning process for me. I also get sad that I’m not “perfect” but whatever – I’m me!!

      Enjoy your acting classes and hope that helps you along the way!

      Noch Noch

      Reply
  9. Hi Noch,
    i didn’t read full blog. But i like your blog and “thechangeblog.com”.

    Reply
    • Hi Mani

      Thanks for coming by – hope you will have some time soon to read more here and share your thoughts :)

      Noch Noch

      Reply
  10. that’s a great way to find happiness in life..being who you are

    Reply
    • Hi Birgitte

      Wise – that’s key to happiness indeed!

      Noch Noch

      Reply
  11. Hi :)
    I wanted to thank you for writting this article. You know, I’ve had so much problems regarding this subject… I’m 14, and sometimes I feel I’ve lived all my life pretending, acting, living for others and not for myself. I’m the perfect girl, who is obedient, has the best grades of the class, who will become something big, study medicine, laws, engeneering.
    This year I went through the worst depression of my life. I had so many phisical symtoms.. nausea, headaches, hallucinations, unvoluntary movements, panic attacks, trouble breathing, insomnia.. I thought I would die. I still think it, sometimes.
    But you know what? Even though I went through hell, even though I know it’s not over and might never be, I’m thankful. Because I found my inner strength, I found myself.
    And if I decide to study art, I’ll do it, even if the whole world turns against me.
    That’s me, after all. Crazy, weird, little me. And I’m learning to love it.

    “Once you can look yourself in the mirror, and smile at the reflection, that’s when you know you are being who you are at the core.”
    I always hated my face. My smiles, my eyes, everything. I thought that people would see through it all and see how worthless and empty I really was.
    I don’t want to fear mirrors. (http://chayo8683.deviantart.com/#/d4n6jrg , poem I wrote some time ago)
    Thank you so much for giving me hope <3

    Reply
    • p.s. Rosario

      I went through your art and poetry. Amazing. I love it. I used to write poetry too when I was 14 years old
      Your poem reminds me of poems I have written before. I hope you will pursue your art and painting and whatever you love. I didn’t study literature as I had hoped to because it wasn’t ‘practical’. I miss it. my heart is aching a bit
      But thanks – you inspired me now to pick up my pen and scribble again
      I couldn’t leav a comment on your webpage so I hope you get this message

      All my wishes
      Noch Noch

      Reply
  12. greetings from Egypt :) This time , I’m actually trying to shift from “Pushing-myself-to-be-ideal” state to ” let’s hear me ” state .thought, It’s not easy for me because I’m so judgmental to myself and others .. your experience gives me more hope .. thank you :)

    Reply
    • Hi Hazem

      Hello from Beijing
      That’s a good state to go to! I’m also judgmental to myself and others. My fiance says, to have a little bit more compassion for others and for myself :)

      Lets fight this fight together!
      Take care
      Noch Noch

      Reply
  13. Hi Rosario

    Sorry to hear abt your depression – but I know exactly how you feel because I’ve had that, and some times still have the same symptoms. I’m not over it either but like you I’m learning abt me day by day
    I like the attitude you have: “that’s me after all. Crazy, weird, little me. And I’m learning to love it”
    I think we all need that attitude in life.

    You sound like a fighter. I hope you fight till the end

    Take care and hope to hear from you again soon
    Noch Noch

    Reply
    • Noch Noch:
      Thank you for everything~ I’m glad you liked my poem and that you’ll continue writting.
      Take care ^^
      Rosario

      Reply
  14. Being who I am.

    But who am I?

    I have been doing a lot of introspection lately and did a Google search for “change your life”, which led me to this article.

    I am 22, still young some will say, but I feel like I have not lived up to my own expectations on any aspect of my life.

    “Being me” – I have always had problems with social interaction. There are many times when I feel like withdrawing into a cave and stay in there forever, because I am so sick of humans. Most of the time, I am ok with being left alone to do my own things, be it reading, designing, writing, etc. But sometimes I just feel weird for not being able to interact and live a normal life as other people my age are doing. I had anorexia before but now it’s turning more into binge-eating/bulimia. I wonder if it’s part of me or just part of me trying to fit in. Have been trying to escape from myself for over a year now, my grades suffered (I skipped school and did not submit my assignments), but I redid the module and am graduating soon…does “being me” means I have to be alone because all along I have been a loner and not much for social interaction? I don’t have success and a career or reputation or financial stability yet. If I “be myself” – I don’t think I will be able to survive. Does this mean that “being myself” will only come after I have achieved a certain stability and independence in society? That this is an issue which I can only leave time for consideration after I have climbed to a certain standard in life? When I reach middle age? Am I spending too much time on pondering about this when I should “not be myself” and try to fit into society and work hard like any other young person my age is doing right now?

    Reply
    • Hi Fion,

      Your comment has given me the biggest deja vu I’ve ever felt. I know how it is to read something and relate strongly, but this is just damn uncanny. Nearly everything in your comment matches up to the situation I was/am in, except the I’m not in designing. Especially this last passage:
      “If I “be myself” – I don’t think I will be able to survive. Does this mean that “being myself” will only come after I have achieved a certain stability and independence in society? That this is an issue which I can only leave time for consideration after I have climbed to a certain standard in life? When I reach middle age? Am I spending too much time on pondering about this when I should “not be myself” and try to fit into society and work hard like any other young person my age is doing right now?”

      This is so true for me. It’s gotten to the point that I’ve become indecisive in my choices of who to be.

      Also, I’ve been really struggling for the past years from withdrawing into myself, and at one point I really did believe that I hated people and humanity in general. Lately I’ve come to realize that this isn’t really true; that I’ve just been really good at convincing myself that I don’t need people to be happy. In my case, I believe this came from being hurt by people who are close to me. I’m not saying that you’re not authentically an introvert, but it may be helpful for you to entertain the idea for an afternoon or two. Maybe you’re setting up smokescreens so you don’t have to deal with the pain? Again, just a suggestion from someone who has been/is in a similar place.

      Anyway, I hope that you’re doing better now!

      Light and love,
      Sandra

      Reply
  15. Hi Fion

    I can empathize with all those questions. I don’t have answers for you unfortunately, because probably only you can help yourself – or maybe a counselor / life coach can guide you along. But i’m not a qualified coach so do not want to lead you in the wrong way
    I can feel the loneliness in you. I actually also like being alone but it’s a paradox i live with because i always surround myself with people.

    are you happy being on your own? if so, i think that’s you… but if you are lonely when you are alone, maybe need to think abotu what it is abotu humans that you detest so much? and what are your expectations on yourself? are they goals you’d like to achieve or just things you think others would want you to do? It’s a thin line in between.

    But i think, no, you don’t have to have climbed a certain ladder in the society before you can be yourself. in fact, i think once u be yourself, the rest will follow. I think you are doing well to ponder these things at this age. Many 22 year olds, as i was, was too busy achieving that we didn’t really introspect or think about why we are doing what we are doing. This period of reflection will give you a good basis going foward I think

    Sorry I don’t seem to be much help. But I hope it gives you some more thinking to do, and find yourself. it took me 3 years and i’m still learning about me. so you are not alone.
    in the mean while, design, draw and do what makes you happy :)

    Noch Noch

    Reply
  16. Hi Noch Noch..
    you write:
    In fact, how do I even know who I am inside and who is “me”?

    I have always had a particular image of myself – I was impatient, generous, versatile, adaptive, kind, friendly, strong… I also created an image for others to see, whether it was in the social or professional world – easy going, efficient, trustworthy, a manager, a leader, a friend…

    I thrived on these qualities I attributed to myself. Yet I wonder if this is really me or rather, who I want to be?

    – i have a thought on this matter, maybe completely useless and maybe not. But sometimes (often) i wonder on this matter and i came to the conclusion that for me it did’nt matter. Because even if i only strive to be in a certain way, or think i want to be in a certain way that it somehow must be from somewhere inside “me” that i’m easy going, trustworthy.. for exampel as you write too among others.. then it does not really matter if it comes from the “real” me, because somehow i think that all of my thoughts comes from my core and therefor they are “me” when they pass my mind – if they do not pass my mind tomorrow who cares – the thoughts are valid when they pass and that i have learned to think as good enough. The core “me” changes every single day, and that is good to remember as well, it helps me for sure, because then i do not feel the need so hard to find the final “me” but only to find the “me” i feel like being right now, today, and you know what, and often i suddenly strikes me that i am still me, even more me acctually because the pressure is gone then.

    I have no idea if i am the only one who got the point in what i just wrote, i’m from Denmark so i not use to writing about existential matters in english, but i hope you got the point just a tiny bit :)

    stay cheerfull people :) – Julie

    Reply
    • Hi Julie

      Thanks for coming by – is it very cold in Denmark still for winter? I visited Copahagen once very long time ago and really loved it. I guess you must tired of hearing this from tourists, but I had a lot of fun collecting Vikings and Lucky Trolls from Denmark :)

      Anyways, thanks for dropping us all a note. I think you have a great insight there – our core is always changing, and sometimes we get stuck probably in trying to decipher ourselves, that we forget to be in touch with our changes. Today I may be this, but tomorrow I might be another thing. Perhaps our most natural reflex actions and reactions are all “us”, as you say. And we are multifaceted, we don’t need to be everything at the same time. Different situations and people elicit different responses from us for sure.

      So yes, maybe as long as we are happy doing / saying / reacting the way we are, then it doesn’t really matter how we define ourselves? What do you think?

      Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate it :)

      Noch Noch

      Reply
      • Hi, yes it’s awfully cold here, -8 degrees this morning, nealy frose of my bike on my way to the nursery to drop of my son :D But usually it is not that cold here, it “just” a very grey and rainfull country. Oh copenhagen is also very lovely, glad you liked it – howcome were you in denmark? :)

        I have a coach and i’ll give the credit for me thinking like this now, she told me not to try so hard to define me, but rather to figure out what makes me happy and what makes me feel alive. That changes from day to day and this also has the beneficial effect that i seek new life-affirming challenges to feel alive every single day.
        I am a single mom and therefore i have alot to do everyday because i am taking an education on the side of being a mom and starting at the university this fall. This had the effect that i got very stressed out and “lost” myself along the way, this caused me to feel like an empty shell with no “real” life only duties and things that needed to be done never feeling that i would finish the mile long to do-list. I was so stressed out that i could barely sit down for five minutes, then i started at the coach and she showed me the path back to a furfilling life with joy. I always had the urge to difine my “me” she helped me to stop doing that and helped me back to a life doing something that makes me feel lucky and happy every day.
        So yes i think that as long as we remember to do little things every day that makes us feel happy and alive, then it’s not that important to difine because the things we choose to do are in fact the “me” :)?

        – Julie

        Reply
  17. Hi Julie again

    I was in Denmark only for a few days to visit when I was living in Paris :)
    Was very fun

    That’s what my shrink and I discussed today – to be alive and enjoy live, and not just do the things I think I have to do everyday. And to learn to give myself a pat on the back for the things I have done which i was happy about, and not just things i think i should be doing but have not done
    Good to hear you have a great coach. Keep it up!!! We can all enjoy live and be ourselves!

    Noch Noch

    Reply
  18. This post describes everything I’ve been thinking and feelings the past year or so of my life. I’ve taken a similar approach to “being me” by also starting a blog called With An Open Heart (www.withanopenheart.org). I am someone who is very shut down and rarely makes choices based on what my heart wants. Everything is calculated. Much of this is because I’ve been following in the footsteps of what I thought everyone wanted from me. I still struggle to understand if I’m doing something for others, for myself, or to fulfill that “exterior self” we project to the world. I’m still learning and it’s certainly a struggle, but I certain driving into myself (introspection and self-awareness) will help me become who I really am. I’m almost done with my master’s in mental health counseling, and really, life of purpose and happiness is all about self-awareness, introspection, and being authentic. Unfortunately, our social world is so driven my ego making it difficult to be authentic without fearing judgment. Nonetheless, those of us who can learn how to “be me”, “be authentic” will ultimately be the winners in this game of life. I appreciate so much your words, and your honestly. Thank you for sharing!!! -Nina

    Reply
  19. I purposely take one day and call it my temple day. Where just one whole day a week is all about myself, what is important to just me, what I need to do to make just me comfortable, what I feel like doing for just me. I give six days a week to everyone else, so just one out of seven seems more than fair to take some time for the person I love the most!

    Reply
  20. I admire your courage in opening your heart. You are lucky you had the chance to know the truth about yourself, which means you did not waste being born in this lifetime.

    Congratulations,
    Remy

    Reply
  21. This is really a great reminder to many, will at least it is to me. Thank you so much Noch Noch for this wonderful post.

    Reply

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