However, sometimes focusing on yourself isn't such a bad thing! For example, learning to accept who you are means analyzing and being happy with what you see. I am no psychiatrist though so don't take this advice as a cure all. I write about this today because lately I realized how much I concern myself with what others think.
When I first arrived in Ireland, I made a mini goal; learn to enjoy silence*. Growing up in a family of 8 kids, there wasn't a whole lot of silence to go around. When I started living in the dorms at my college in Maine, being by myself in the dorm room was almost painful. I felt trapped, and highly alone. I was surrounded by people who I am sure would have invited me into their circle of friends, but I didn't feel comfortable seeking people out. I didn't expand my friend base further than two or three people.
The opposite occurred in Cork though! Maybe it is because I know I have the option to get up and do anything I want, but sitting alone in my apartment in Cork is relaxing (my amazing view might have something to do with that too...). The other night I sat thinking to myself, I actually have come to enjoy the silence! It isn't oppressive like it once was!
What does this have to do with accepting who you are? Good question! It was during one of these moments of silence in which I was having a conversation with myself (yes...I talk to myself in my head, even make jokes :P) that I realized it doesn't matter what other people think of you. They will never truly experience the real "you". What they see is a facade, a reflection, even a caricature of your true self. The only person who will truly know you is you. Now, I know this won't be the end of my worrying if someone thinks I am rude, loud, or obnoxious etc, but it is one step closer to believing that my inner self isn't comprised of how others measure me. This sort of thing isn't a new theory, however sometimes you need to have an epiphany yourself before you can believe something. So cheers to self-discover!
*Another goal I made was to finally memorize when to use semi-colons versus colons...those things are tricky!
** I suppose I should edit and say I was a hypocrite that week, and this post was my nemesis. I am currently stuck between two worlds: One in which I like other to take lead in projects, and the second where I naturally take lead (I just have discovered yet if thats a good thing or if people appreciate it).I just worry that people think I am overstepping boundaries, but at the same time someone needs to lead, thus...my quandary. All well, live and learn they say!
A few photos of my trip to Bantry and Garnish Island with the other International Students: