A Johari window helps us improve self-awareness and lets us know how others perceive us. But, maybe, they will never know everything about us, as we’re also not aware of some parts of ourselves. In this case, we become strangers to ourselves.
We become a stranger in a way that we question ourselves: “Am I still the same person even though I did something unexpected? Is this still me, because someone doubted that I could do it?” Little do we know we are limiting ourselves because others have high expectation of us and, at the same time, we fear we would disappoint them.
Often times, our emotions and experiences play big roles whenever we feel like we are being strangers to ourselves. An example is when we do not expect ourselves to react in a certain way in a specific scenario. And others would say, “Are you still you?” just because you did not react the same way that you did before.
The people we meet also make us doubt ourselves. Loved ones who hurt us, a special someone who broke promises or a trusted friend who betrayed us — they make us question our self-worth, sometimes to the point that we start to realize that we were not like this before we met them, and that now it feels so hard to go back to our old self. As we embrace changes in ourselves we may sometimes ask, “Will this change makes me a better or a worse version of myself? Would I still be me even if I change myself?”
Doubts, fears and insecurities lead us to be a stranger to ourselves. It feels like we are in a wide black space and we see ourselves standing there, helplessly looking for an escape, shouting and begging for help. And then it hits us that we’re lost. We’re lost to the place we thought was our home, our comfort zone. Then we start to entertain the unending questions, “Who am I? What is my purpose? Who am I supposed to be?” Then we realize we are still a stranger to ourselves. We are yet to find who we are. We are yet to discover ourselves. And it’s a process.
(This is the third of eight essays written by PUP journalism students for their Intercultural/Intercommunication subject, revolving around the theme “the feeling of being a stranger.”)
Words and photo by Jashel B. Tagbas
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism 2-1N
Polytechnic University of the Philippines-Manila