Anna-Catherine Kueng ~ Assistant Editor

When you are a preteen desperately trying to find your identity in the middle school halls, older people- likely your mother- will tell you to “just be yourself.” I have never quite understood this expression because how do you truly know yourself? I am not the same person I was back when I was 13-years-old; and, if I am no longer similar to my younger self, am I somehow not myself anymore?

It leads me to the question of how do humans find their identities in the first place? Since I was a child, I always considered my identity to be based on my academic abilities and my personality traits. After all, I was constantly told two things by others: I am smart and quiet. Sure, the former may not be a bad thing, but when people would tell me the latter, it would sting.

There are some qualities about you that may not necessarily be what many people want in a person. Maybe you’re awkward, or nerdy, or too talkative, or whatever else you’ve been called; but, you should not suppress the things that make you, well, you.

Being ourselves is a complex task because we, as humans, are always changing. Since beginning college in August, I have noticed my classmates are trying out new hobbies, joining different organizations, and attempting to figure out where they fit in at UL.

I think being yourself really equates to loving yourself as you are, and even that task is complex. Some days, it’s really hard to wake up and like what you see in the mirror. When you are struggling in a class, or failing to achieve all you had hoped for in school, it’s easy to drown in a puddle of self-deprecation. In those moments, you may feel like yourself is just a failure, but that’s not who you are.

When I think of the moments when I am truly being myself, a few things come to mind: laughing at family dinners, jamming out to Switchfoot with my best friend, doing volunteer work, writing for the newspaper, and eating breakfast in my pajamas on Saturday mornings.

Honestly, to find yourself, you have to let yourself be found by other people. I am most at peace with myself when my attention is not on myself. Maybe it would be a good rule of thumb to not “be yourself” but to think less about yourself and more about others instead.