Things I’ve learned about myself:

Jen Xu
2 min readMay 4, 2022
  1. I hate the thought that people might think I’m stupid.
  2. I act a lot tougher than I really am.
  3. I’m not very good at standing up for myself.
  4. I am way too concerned about what people think of me.
  5. I am terrified of letting people down.

Now, good things I’ve learned about myself — because I realized after writing the first 5 that they were all negative, so I thought I should split them up:

  1. I am trying to learn how to be a better friend.
  2. I’m accepting things about myself that I used to deny.
  3. I am learning how to be a better listener and to be more aware of other peoples’ needs.
  4. I am willing to put the work in.
  5. I’m pretty funny and if I work at this comedy thing, I know it’ll be the best hobby I’ve ever picked up.

It’s always funny when you think you can rest after you’ve learned a good lesson in life. After a nice, humbling experience, it’s too easy to just relax and think, phew, the universe is done screwing me over for a bit. Sometimes you just want a plateau to rest on. Well, after one week of finally working with my weightlifting coach again after over 3.5 months off due to a concussion — I got COVID! So, that’s halting things for a little bit, yet again, especially since I avoided it for over 2 years. It’s quite frustrating to be knocked down this way, but I’ll get back to it.

The interesting thing is that I didn’t write “things I know about myself”. I don’t know why it makes such a difference, but it makes me feel like I’ve finally stopped recycling the same content just to write about self-growth. I am reaching another…point of Enlightenment, you might say. Also, weird. I wrote about wanting a plateau for a little bit, not realizing that I’ve been sort of at a plateau for quite awhile.

I’m being challenged in so many ways in this PhD program, for better or for worse. I’m challenging myself in my new hobbies (hell, I did 5 minutes of open mic, and it didn’t even really scare me that much…), in my new relationships with people, and in my old relationships with old people! (Not actually old people, just the people in my life).

But hey, now that I’ve admitted to all these things…figuring out how to get better at all of them. Easy enough, right? My therapist and I have discussed a lot of behavior modifications to make, which have been so easy for me because I love just doing things that I know will make me better. But trying to think about things differently (aka the cognitive part of CBT) feels nearly impossible to me. Not impossible in that I don’t want to try, but I don’t fully…grasp how to try. So, we’ll see how this goes.



Jen Xu

Athletic trainer, PhD student, coffee lover. I write about fitness, mental health, being Asian-American, and personal growth.