Part of me
Ready for a philosophical discussion? Listen: every part of me makes up the real me. The only question is what I attribute importance to, but they’re all part of me. If even one part were different, I would be different. Okay? Okay.
The struggles we face are a huge part of us and define a lot of the things in our lives beyond the struggle itself. Then again, so does every other part of life. I mean, how often is someone defined as so American, Israeli, etc. The only difference is that those parts of us are public whether we like it or not and usually impartial, yet these struggles which are private and make us feel bad, are known only to us. It’s another part of our real selves but this one we don’t want anyone to know. Ever. Because even when we ‘overcome’ this struggle, change this part of ourselves, and can say we haven’t given in in days, weeks, months, even years, and we can be proud of our new real selves, we still don't want anyone to know. Because even though then our real selves will be a version we are proud to identify as, and give importance to, we don’t expect the rest of society to give us the same credit.
Ultimately, whatever you define the real you as, it all boils down to this (I think): we are each a beautiful Neshama (the real-deal me) with its own unique external and internal coverings, one of them being our challenges. And this will ultimately bring that beautiful neshama to it’s Tikkun.
Hope that didn’t come across too preachy, but bottom-line, it’s all in your hands. Just for your own good, choose to define yourself by your successes and not your failures, by your talents and not your struggles, while still keeping a healthy view on your struggles in order to improve. We can do it!