The title of this post occurred to me while I was doing something I very rarely do: listening to Coldplay. Their song entitled “Hymn for the Weekend” was playing (I actually had to look up the title of the song while writing this post) as part of an Apple Music playlist I was listening to, and I was thinking of how it reminded me of last semester of college when I thought “I love myself.” Seconds later, an alternative version then came to mind, which was “I love who I want to be.” It is quite melodramatic, I will admit, but it it is so true.
When I think of myself, I often imagine myself in what I would hope my “brand” is, which is a motivated, self-assured, and introverted student and blogger with some level of maturity. So when I simply think and/or say “I love myself,” the person I find myself picturing is the idealized version and “brand” of myself, which was apparent this morning. What I likely really mean is that I love the person I am working towards being, and the pieces of that future person that are prevalent in myself now.
This reflection ties in well with how I have caught myself portraying who I am as of late, as I have been worried that I might not seem genuine to others. When I am describing myself, only extreme characteristics seem to come to mind. For example, while introducing myself to a class recently, I felt as though I was essentially glorifying myself by conveying some glamorized generalizations about who I am, such as the following:
I have a blog; is that not great? I listen to podcasts! I pay attention to politics and current events! I take walks! I am motivated! I am a Disney expert! I have so many goals and dreams!
On the other hand, I have also found myself downplaying who I am, by keeping and portraying more negative generalizations about myself:
I am so neurotic. I am a loner. I have no credentials. I am so slow. I am crazy. I am unpopular.
As one may have guessed, I felt a bit guilty after expressing my positive, idealized traits. I mean, I would not say that my blog is revolutionary or popular. In addition, I do not take walks very often, I do not read as much as I hope to, I am still oblivious to much of how society and government works, I have a hard time keeping up with podcasts, I am not very social, and I do not know everything there is to know about Disney. Although I do schoolwork every day, I procrastinate quite a bit; I also have a somewhat fragile self-esteem, and I can have a hard time standing up for myself.
I would be doing myself a disservice by concluding that I have many destructive characteristics as well, even if they are only internalized. I may be neurotic and not very social, but I have many people who support me when I need them to. I also may be more of a slower worker, but I am dedicated, and will make sure to gain credibility in whatever I pursue.
Why, though, do I feel as though I need to express myself through extreme generalizations, and even think of myself in vastly different ways?
I probably want to be memorable, or have a “brand,” but have such a hard time expressing a version of myself that is idealized that I must refute it with self-deprecation. Of course, we are supposed to portray ourselves in a positive light and with a “brand” that will help others have positive attitudes toward us (and maybe make them want to give us money too), but it is not always accurate. For example, while describing myself as someone becoming more educated about politics recently, I was honestly hoping no one would ask me questions about the topic, as I was afraid I would not know the answers to them; why did I not just state upfront that I am not an expert yet?
The feeling that I love who I want to be incarnates itself in my insecurity about who I really am; by showing extremes, I can portray different versions of myself that cancel each other out, resulting in some semblance of myself that is likely insincere. Especially since I have found myself trying to downplay my abilities after introducing myself in such a positive way, I likely have felt the need to fight generalizations with other generalizations. In fact, these extremes are likely why I honestly feel as though I do not have a clear view of the level of my self-esteem. Within seconds, I can go from seeing myself as someone with an inflated ego because of how much pride I take in presenting my “brand,” to questioning if my self-esteem is actually poor, as I constantly seek validation from various sources.
I even feel a bit uncomfortable just thinking about who I really am at the moment, but I must admit my actual level of progress if I want to portray myself accurately and actually improve. With so many opportunities in which I must convey who I am, it is so hard to be truthful, though; the desire for people to accept and see potential in who I am often appears, and I may also feel insecure (as a result of this idealization) in a way that makes me want to downplay myself.
Although it is such a cliché, I need to work on loving who I really am, and not just who I want myself to be, or what I picture my personal “brand” being. (Just to let you all know, I cringed and hesitated greatly while typing out that sentence.) Upon first exposure to the fact that millennials are creating “brands” for themselves, I separated myself from discussion of them, but because of my further thought, I have realized that my self-concept is prevalent in my daily thoughts, and I must deal with that.
It would be virtuous to practice expressing myself in a more genuine way, and maybe even try to have this expression incorporated into my “brand” in order to reduce my need for both idealization and self-deprecation, so here goes nothing…
I have a blog that I am working on that is teaching me how to improve as a writer and person in general. I am not perfect at time management and do not leave myself as much time for recreation, in the form of taking walks and listening to podcasts, as I hope to. I am working on becoming more educated on current events but admittedly do not understand some of its aspects or nuances yet. Although I am rather introverted and neurotic, I am working on using my traits to my advantage while growing as a person. I have goals and dreams I want to achieve, and I know have the potential to do so.
So, for once in my life, I must say thank you to Coldplay (and to Beyoncé, who has uncredited background vocals in the aforementioned song, obviously).
I hope you all enjoyed this odd look into myself; so many realizations and ideas I have had over the past month or so have finally combined into this one post. Have any of you ever realized that your “brand” has affected how you perceive and portray yourself in different ways? Let me know.