Emily Lam

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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Being Honest With Yourself

I read a blog post a while ago about the "preemptive put-down" by my writing Professor, Author Theodora Goss. Here it is: Value Yourself -- It's a good read and I agree with much of what she said.

Recently though, I've been thinking about how much the "preemptive put-down" is ingrained in our society. I've come to realize that I am expected to preemptively put-down myself; bragging is highly frown upon in our society. And I will admit that when I am having a conversation with someone I don't particularly know, and sometimes with people I do know well, I cave into the routine of using the preemptive put-down. It's so much easier to say things people expect you to say.

Now, I don't preemptively put-down myself often. Because I am consciously aware that it's not an attractive thing to do. And I also try my best not to fish for compliments. However, sometimes I am sincerely honest about the fact that I'm not good at something or that I don't think my idea is any good. But our society at times can't seem to accept that fact: that you will admit and be comfortable with your mediocrity; that your acceptance of your mediocrity is not a lack self-esteem.

We are so used to people using preemptive put-downs that we assume their honest remarks are put-downs. And then we are taught that as good natured human beings, we should offer up encouraging, sometimes untrue, comments in response to any comment that slightly hints at being a put-down. And I'm part of that society; I usually assume people are being super modest, of course unless when they obviously are not, but I do also try to be honest. What I'm trying to say is there are so many complex, ever-changing, unwritten rules our society follows (which is why creating an AI to dynamically interact with a human is so difficult; there's no algorithm), that what's being said to you might be partially filtered, and that it can be difficult to tell when the conversation you're having is honest or not, especially when it pertains to you. So it's up to you to be honest with yourself.

And that's what I'm trying to do right now: trying to be honest with myself by not bragging or selling myself short. I'm trying to figure out where I stand and where I want to be. Although I do enjoy embracing the uncertainty of my future. I am perfectly comfortable with the fact that I do have skills and that I am not great at anything. Because I am 21 and I am young. I have so much of my life left and I have so much to learn, which I look forward to very much.

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