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The Importance of Others in Becoming Ourselves

This weekend is a favourite of mine, not so much because it is an extended midterm November break, but because traditionally I spend it away from the city with a group of great friends. The opportunity to be with people who know me well, who have been alongside me for life’s ups and downs, and with whom I can be myself is a blessing that I wish for everyone. These weekends are filled with a lot of laughter, great discussions and great quiet time as everyone comfortably does her own thing while still being together.

For me, there is always reading time, and it was a simple line in Camilla’s Gibb’s book This is Happy that reminded me both of the importance of others in contributing to who we are, and how fortunate we are at St. Clement’s to be a small, close-knit community where connections are readily made. As Gibb prepares her readers for her memoir, she says “[One’s story] risks the involvement of others because we do not become ourselves in isolation.”

I believe that our time spent with others is key to who we are and who we become. I also believe that having times and places in our lives where we are able to be our authentic selves is of fundamental importance to really getting to know ourselves and thus getting to know others.

As I reflected on Gibb’s words, I thought not only of my own great good fortune to have close friends with whom I can spend time and who know me well, but also of our small, close-knit St. Clement’s community. Our staff and girls all know each other and while all connections may not be equally close, I believe that our time at the School where we live, lead and learn together is a significant contributor to who each of us is.

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