There is a part of each of us that we seek to keep hidden from the world.
We have learned, over time, to put up our own walls, whether it be outward confidence, cool detachedness, or bright smiles. For these walls allow us to keep at bay what we know from experience can hurt us, to repress what we wish we could excise from the memories that make up our current selves, to mask what we fear the world would reject.
And over time, we grow accustomed to remaining behind these walls, finding comfort within the enclosed space, perhaps believing that the walls and what we project — not what we keep hidden — are what make us strong.
But the truth is, we have individually and collectively accomplished so much, not because of these walls we’ve put up, but in spite of them. Because the most wasteful of energies are the ones we expend when trying to make the world see us in a certain light, rather than allowing the world to see us for who we already are.
During my two years at Wharton, surrounded by my peers who inspire me with their courage, their compassion, and their aspirations, I began to let part of my facade fall away. Through experiences like Power Lab and P3, I began experimenting with allowing people to see the part of me I usually keep hidden. I let myself lean on others when my sister had a brain hemorrhage last year. I let myself be kinder and more forgiving of the parts of myself I did not like.
And it felt strangely refreshing.
My hope for each of us is that we learn to embrace the part of ourselves that we normally keep within our walls. There is strength in allowing ourselves to be open, to be authentic, and, most importantly, to be accepting of our full selves. Only when we are able to accept all parts of ourselves can we feel whole. And there is strength, and beauty, in that wholeness.