Whether we’re dipping into online dating, starting up on social media or even just job hunting, our online presences have become increasingly centered on projected profiles of who we are.
When signing up for any social media profile, it’s a routine part of the process to include a description of ourselves in a brief bio, coupled with a carefully-chosen picture. "About Me" boxes can definitely be tricky to fill in, and I have always struggled to select the words that best describe me.
This is probably because I was never actually looking for the best words to describe me; I was choosing words based on how I thought people might perceive me. It's hard to tell the world who I am when I don't have a basic understanding of that myself.
So, what do we do? Quite often, we're limited to a box where we censor ourselves down to a few basic statistics: I’m Yvonne; I’m 21 and I’m from Ireland.
We do this without even thinking, whether it’s online or in person, when faced with the opener of "tell me about yourself." It usually results in a litany of facts about us we think might be important, but more often than not, they're just kind of boring.
If you’re not passionate about your job, telling me your job title won't tell me sh*t about you. If you were unemployed tomorrow, who would you be?
Even then, we often find ourselves scrambling for answers, trying to measure up, impress or somehow get external validation for how we’re living our lives.
Telling people about your real self doesn’t mean oversharing or dragging up the details of your life story, but rather, allowing a little insight into whom you truly are.
I only truly discovered who I am in the last two years, and this is the stuff that’s initially intriguing. I love hearing what people are passionate about, what their opinions are and what makes them tick.
Meeting new people and just being yourself is freeing. Forget about the stats and think about what you could tell people that would communicate the beautiful, unique person you are.
Let’s face it: Between selfies and quick swipes based on appearances, we’re missing out on getting to know one another. It’s essential to start speaking about our substance rather than our stats. We could gain so much from sharing who we really are. Here's why:
You create deeper connections
When someone is unapologetically him or herself around you, it allows you to get to know him or her on another level. You begin to understand more than where he or she came from and what he or she has experienced, which has shaped him or her into the person in front of you.
This can come little by little, but when it becomes a complete picture, you'll have something real, which allows for a solid foundation of authenticity.
While I respect people who work hard, job titles don't make me swoon. Their idiosyncrasies and ways of thinking are much more likely to help me feel deeper appreciations for who they are as whole people.
You can share and relate
It’s amazing when people talk about themselves and you realize you have something in common. They see life how you see it; they have the same senses of humor, and they share your interests.
Story swapping and relating to one another is the birthplace of connection. It's where relationships begin to thrive.
You’ll be okay, even if your stats change
Jobs change; we get older, and we move towns, but we are still the same people through the whole journey. If you don't know who you are, it can be easy to get lost.
I grew up largely identified by the sports I played, or the fact that I was a student, but when those chapters of my life closed, I felt pretty empty and at a loss for who I was.
We can’t place too much identity emphasis in transient titles. You are your only constant, so start being proud of you.
Other people appreciate it
I like getting to know people for who they are, and I like learning about others and learning their views.
There are so many personalities, mannerisms and dreams that exist in each of us. It’s refreshing getting to know others' and be able to share your own, too. Always keep this to more of a conversation than a job interview.
You have pride in who you are
Knowing yourself and being able to show whom you are to whoever is asking gives you a strong sense of self.
Everyone has his or her own achievements, big or small, which catalyze smiles. I’d rather be proud of who I am than what I do between the hours of 9 and 5.
Filters are great and motivational quotes in bios are lovely, but try putting more of yourself in the picture. If you like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain, that’s what I want to know -- it makes me want to grab one and go dancing in the puddles with you.
Allow people see the real you and know what you’re all about.
If we all started placing more value on who we are, we could use social media to socialize face-to-face more often, rather than just settling for observing each other’s surface-level qualities.