By Sanah Thakur
To be honest, I wasn’t aware that the answer to this question, in my life, has always been a shy yes. It’s not easy, looking back at the experiences that have crafted your identity and pin point the deception. Yet, we might all be ignorant to the fact that, while the accolades and external tags in our life can be confidently claimed by us, can we really shine the same ray of confidence with regards to being experts on ourselves? At job interviews or conversations with strangers, introductions begin with a lengthy monologue on who we think we are. How is it though, that if someone was to question us on truly knowing ourselves, we would really have only a few answers.
While filling out personality tests, I’ve often assumed that I know exactly what all traits mean. For example, I never revisited the difference between self-confidence, self-esteem and self-efficacy, after learning it in school. So naturally, I ticked all three, believing that I knew the difference between each. However, when I was questioned on the real difference, I had no rebuttal, but a quiet nod of disappointment in myself. On another occasion, I was asked to name my top five values in life. This might seem like a question one would naturally be able to answer after a few minutes of thought, yet I wasn’t even sure if I actually practiced these values in my life. If I don’t observe and analyse my own behaviour on a regular basis, how was I supposed to claim I was an expert? It’s one thing to be sure of ‘words’ we can use to describe ourselves and another thing to provide evidence that we do justice to these words. It is in this conflict, between what we say and what we do, that the question of feeling like a fraud often creeps in.
The best example is noticing your behaviour when somebody questions your actions. Do you tend to get defensive? Do you let your emotional reactions take the steering wheel and find every reason to claim the right on your actions? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. It’s almost habitual to never be wrong about yourself. That doesn’t even make sense, does it? How can you be wrong about someone you spend your whole life with. But unfortunately, while we might think we know everything about ourselves, I wouldn’t be wrong to guess that we probably only know around 10%. To answer my question, it’s okay to feel like a fraud, especially when it comes to knowing ourselves. Once you accept that vulnerability, the only way forward it to start your research and really become an expert on who you claim you are.
n The author can be contacted on Instagram @sincerelysanah
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