“If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, what am I?”

Self-reflection. Between the 10 days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we reflect. Who are we? Who are we really? We are made up and composed of many parts. But at our utmost and truest identity, at our core, who are we?

Look at yourself, and ask yourself, who am I? Ask those that are close to you too. Find out how your friends, colleagues, family would describe you to someone else. This is the way in which a person can see their own reflection and in turn learn who they really are. Take the time to find out. What you discover may surprise you.

Why is it important to really and truly know who we are? Why should it matter?

We are born alone and we die alone, there is no in-between, there is no us, there is no we, there is only I and me. Yet throughout the course of our lives, we surround ourselves with people, feeling a sense of comfort and unity in being part of a group. Humans are social creatures, and therefore we use socializing as a way to distract ourselves from the reality of actually having to be alone with ourselves. We don’t want to be alone with ourselves, because we don’t know who we are, and that scares us. Who are we without our best friends? Who are we without our job? Who are we if we are not in the library studying for that exam? We don’t know and that scares us.

During these 10 days we have the chance to tackle this problem head on. We have 10 days to question ourselves, to be alone, and to really challenge ourselves to discover who we really are and if we are happy with that person.

We are creatures of complexity, some of us are patient, some of us are charismatic, indecisive, humorous, perfectionists… We each uniquely hold a set of qualities and attributes about ourselves that transform the way in which others see us. The reflection of ourselves into this world has impacts far beyond what we know. The people we interact with on a day-to-day basis are affected by us whether we know it or not. Therefore it only makes sense that we should be mindful of our thoughts, speech and actions. We are intellectual beings who can think critically, understand and listen to one another.

We are aware of our g-d given abilities, however we rarely use them for means of self-improvement or self-reflection. The New Year is now. I challenge you to find out who you are. I challenge you to discover that person. I challenge you to know yourself enough to be able to identify one thing about yourself, just one atrribute, that you can improve on, just one small thing that will allow you to make steps in becoming the best version of yourself, the person you admire, the person who you yourself look up to.

Shana tova, a healthy and happy New Year.

About the Author
Shayna Friedman is the Social Media Manager at the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest New Jersey. A recent graduate from Penn State University where she grew the Student Supporting Israel chapter, she works towards navigating the Social Media realm, exploring what it means to be Jewish and to support Israel in America.
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