About Yourself

Yesterday, I appeared for an interview and the interviewer began with the most boring, unimaginative and insipid question.

“Tell me something about yourself.”

I thought This is easy and I began my narrative. I told her about my educational qualifications, the experience that I have, the skill sets that I have. I had the answer almost memorized. She broke my recital and said,

“That’s very good but I already figured that out by your resume. I asked you to tell me something about yourself. Not about your educational qualifications, or your skill sets or the experiences. I asked you to tell me something about yourself. Yourself. Could you define yourself in two lines or more to me? Do you know yourself?”

I didn’t expect such an interview. I thought for about 10-15 minutes but everything seemed fuzzy and blurry. I couldn’t form an image of myself. I couldn’t define myself in two lines or more to her. Obviously, I didn’t get selected but that didn’t affect me than the question that kept ringing in my ears. Do you know yourself?
It is rather simple to look at yourself and tell what is perfect about yourself and what is not in the quickest of glances. But it is rather difficult to really know yourself because the definition of yourself is majorly influenced by the judgements and opinions of your family, relatives, close friends, not-so-close friends, acquaintances and even the strangers. You listen to them and accept their elucidations and interpretations but you don’t listen to yourself.

What defines you? Do the number of friends calling you on your birthday define you, or the number of friends reacting to your updates on Facebook, or the number of double taps on your Instagram pictures or the number of times you hang out with your buds? Do short hair or long hair define you or the kind of clothes you wear, or the kind of food you eat, or the way you look? You define and redefine yourself by what most people would like to see in you rather than being your own self.

However, when the jamborees are over, when there’s no one around and you look yourself in the mirror and reach out to your abyss without any prejudices and find that beautiful yet equally terrifying space, YOU, what defines you? Is it your deeds? Is it your looks? Is it your education? Is it your talents? Is it your money? Is it your experiences? Is it your troubles and torments? Is it the presence of that special person in your life or their absence? What is it?

You all live a unique life and your share of experiences, dreams realized and shattered, lessons learnt, connections made and lost are all idiosyncratic. You were born an original and the things that define you are also original. God doesn’t own a xerox machine and your only true and rare quality is your uniqueness. You have a unique style, a unique perspective and a unique life that is to be lived only by you.

However, the question remains what truly defines you? Is it the relationships that turned out to be sour but taught you a lesson or two that’ll help you in the long run? Or is it the gratitude of a random act of kindness by a stranger? Or is it the fire that you feel inside that makes you keep going irrespective of all the failures and the battles lost? Is it the smile of your loved ones that fills you up with warmth and affection? Is it the tribulations that have moulded you and made you more empathetic? Is it the realization after every stormy night comes a day of calmness? Is it the knowledge that life is not about what happens to you but how you react to it?

Instead of brooding on things you can’t control, let your dreams, love and hopes define you because sometimes you’ll win and sometimes you’ll learn. However, the biggest challenge staring right in our faces is to be yourself in a world that is desperately trying you to be like everyone else!

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