A few days ago in my communication class we were talking about self-concept. We had to fill out this paper with adjectives that describe us. It had different categories; emotional state, physical condition, social traits, talents, intellectual capacity, beliefs, and social roles. We were supposed to think of three words for each category. The idea was to see how well we know ourselves and to see what characteristics are most important to us. I struggled with it. It took me a long time to come up with anything and even then I could only come up with one or two words for each category. At first this really bothered me, because I always thought I knew myself pretty well. Then I realized that the reason it was so hard for me was not because I don’t know myself or what is important to me, but because one of the traits that I value most in myself is the fact that I am always evolving. I know who I want to be and I am constantly working to become that person.
For most of my life I think a lot of people have thought of me as a bit of a push-over. That is something that has always bothered me. I have always respected people who stand up for themselves and their beliefs. However, there is a fine line between standing up for yourself and being hurtful. I have always been so afraid of crossing that line that I have let people walk all over me. I have never been terribly bothered by that but, since I have become more involved in animal rights, I have found that I often let people walk all over my beliefs as well, and that does bother me. So from now on, I have decided that I am going to be a nice person, a kind person, but also a person who stands up for her beliefs, who defends those who are unable to defend themselves. That’s who I am going to be now.
I think this communication class is actually going to help me quite a lot in becomming a better activist. Besides helping me to better understand myself and others, it is also forcing me out of my comfort zone. I have never been good at speaking in front of people and I am completely horrible at working in a group. So when I found out that we had to do a group presentation I was pretty much petrified. Somehow I actually managed to pull myself together enough to convince the rest of my group that we should do our presentation on factory farming! Mostly I think, it was just the fact that I already had all of the information and they wouldn’t have to do very much work, but still. The point is, this is something that I never would have been able to do before. Just a couple of years ago, I never would have even been able to convince myself to bring up the idea of factory farming, for fear that they would shoot it down and then things would become even more uncomfortable for me.
I think perhaps the whole point of life is to grow and evolve, to become better than we are. And the moment we become satisfied with the way we are, our lives might as well be over. I’m not saying that, at the end of the day, we should beat ourselves up for not being good enough. I’m saying that, at the end of the day, we should be proud of what we did and believe that we can do even better tomorrow!
P.S. I’ll let you all know how the presentation goes.
*Photo- Me with my adopted piggies, Riley and Petunia, back when they were small and I was blond.
Image credit: Tobias Akerboom (at hutmeelz)