The application process for anything school/work related is tedious and full of generic questions that are meant to help the employer get to know the applicant. Unfortunately for all involved, questions like "what is your biggest strength/weakness" or "how would you react to a customer if...." don't serve to get to know a real person but instead a practiced and rehearsed version of him/her.
Lately, the idea that we rarely get to actually know a person has kept popping up in my head and it's not just because of the applications I've had to fill out lately or the interview questions I've had to answer.
Think about it. How many people actually know you. How many people know why you get sad when you hear a certain song, the reasons behind the walls you put up, or the real reason you don't like to be in big crowds? My guess is not very many; it's become a part of our culture (at least in my experience) to keep the beauty of our exterior lives unblemished by anything that is less than sunshine-y. God forbid we let our real feelings out in the open and cause conflict.
My econ professor said that he doesn't believe in the idea of "Minnesota nice", because Minnesotans are actually the most passive-aggressive people he's ever met (he's not from this state). I tend to believe him, because I see it in my own life and in myself. It's not okay to be anything less than a good christian, a happy kid, a college student (students get a free ticket to mess up because it's the "best time of our lives"), or a hard-working adult so we all makes sure that the exterior matches some sort of image and whatever we stuff inside is kept fairly secret.
So, who are you really? What do you care about and what do you hate? If you could wear anything and not worry about being judged, what would it be? Are you really filled with God's grace and love, or do you just go to church because that's how you grew up? Is coffee pleasing to your palette or do you drink it because it's the hip thing to do?
And beyond who you are, who are you willing to share your real-self with? I double dog-dare you to tell the truth next time someone asks you what your biggest weakness is. Maybe I'll try "Well, I have a problem biting my tongue and tend to speak before I think. It's a weakness because it can occasionally offend people who are important to my future." I probably won't be hired but at least I'd be honest with myself and my almost-boss.