In job interview it's not uncommon to hear questions, "Tell me more about yourself. How do you view yourself? What is your strength? What is your weakness?" Every time I think of these questions I can't help myself but to ponder. If you asked me these kind of questions years ago, I could've easily given you all of my weaknesses, but not with my strengths. But then, I'd changed. Later, I could've told you my strengths, but I would be confused with my weaknesses. What were my weaknesses, really?
Those two phases of my life explain two things. The first phase, it was a time when I didn't have good self-concept. I looked down on myself. I had low self-esteem. All I had in me was a bad, bad, bad thing. I was stupid, I wasn't pretty, I wasn't popular, etc. Every time I looked myself in the mirror, all I could see was a damaged and wrecked human being. The second one, it was a time when I over valued myself. I thought I was smart, pretty, kind, good with people, you know all the good characteristics.
"Delusions of grandeur make me feel a lot better about myself," says Jane Wagner. I read the quote somewhere and it stucked inside my head. It was a moment that I stopped thinking negative things about myself and started thinking more positive. On positive side, it's a good thing. And Jane Wagner was right. Delusions of grandeur indeed make me feel a lot better about myself. I felt so good. I became confident. "I know I can do this, this, and that. I'm sure about that," I thought. But, too much positive views of yourself is like standing at the edge of a cliff. Those positive views are someone that is ready to push you over that cliff. You can fall really hard if you're not careful. And you'll be hurt. You don't know your weakness, well, you think you don't have one. Too much positive views of yourself will cloud your judgment on everything.
Now, do I still over value myself? Have I fallen hard because of it? Now I'm experiencing in my life that I don't know more about myself. If you ask me now to tell you about myself, I honestly don't know what to tell you. I've become clueless. Sometimes I can tell you the positive me, but at any other time all I can tell you is the negative me.
I always believe knowing ourselves better is a key to be a better human being. That's why the last few years I'm on a journey to get to know myself better. I want to grow myself as a person. I search myself everywhere. I read, I watch, I contemplate. I read people's stories. I try to read everything between the lines from their stories. I watch people's experiences. I try to learn from them. Then I contemplate. I've been spending numerous of times to have conversation with myself. What am I? Who am I? What do I really want in this life? What is my purpose on living a life? Have I done anything good? Have I hurt people? The more I search, the more I know nothing about myself. Don't worry, I do not give up in searching. ;)
You maybe wondering since the second paragraph I keep talking about self-concept, but what is it actually? How we think and evaluate about ourselves is self-concept. Roy F. Baumeister defines self-concept as the individual's beliefs about himself or herself, including the person's attributes and who and what the self is. The first thing you need to know how your self-concept is formed is you have to aware that you're different from anybody else. Your self-concept is formed since you're an infant, by the way.
I'm not discussing here the formation of self-concept because it will be a really long one to discuss. Besides, I already digress by now. Let's get back on track. :P
So, when you're reading this line are you already wondering how you view yourself? Are you curious about your self-concept? If you are, good then. Let me ask you again, have ever asked yourself, "Who am I?"? Have you ever had deep conversations with yourself how you define yourself? If you haven't (or if you have, there's no harm you for you to do it again, though), take a piece of paper and a pen or a pencil or a whiteboard marker. Whatever suit you. Then, ask yourself, "Who am I". On that paper, you write number 1 until 20. At each number you write "I am ..." (or in Bahasa you can write "Saya adalah ..."). Now, it's your job to fill the blanks. Write down everything on that paper whatever comes in your mind. Be honest with yourself. Yes, it's difficult. I know. :) By the way, this open question is called "Twenty 'I' Questionnaire". Or sort of. I forgot. Pardon me. xP
I hope after you finish defining yourself, your search don't end there. I hope you never stop looking. Keep searching. Keep looking. Start your own journey to get to know yourself better. Tabik!