Approval vs. Acceptance

Approval vs. Acceptance

Why is it that we glance around the room when we raise our hand in class?
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Why is it that we glance around the room when we raise our hand in class?

Approval

Seeking approval. It’s always been something that takes more control of our lives than we like to admit. I’d like to say it’s something that can easily be overcome, but it’s not. Every single person has struggled with the fear or worry of how someone else perceives us; it’s human nature.

When I was in middle school, the brand of clothing you wore defined you as a person; it determined your social status. However, when I caved into the pressures of my peers, I felt different. I felt confident at first, like I had finally found the puzzle piece that I needed to feel complete. I received compliments from people who never looked twice at me before; I smiled more, I stood straighter; it felt like a whole new world was in front of me. After a while, though, I walked the halls feeling awkward. I felt like a clone. I may have only been in middle school, but I felt like when I looked at myself in the mirror, I saw who everyone wanted me to be. I felt cliché, and there was no originality in that. What was even the point? Afterall, what’s the purpose in being what’s expected when it doesn’t reflect you at all?

Acceptance

High school was when I really started to grasp the entire idea of acceptance. I accepted the fact of not being like everyone else who followed the latest trends, and who conformed to a single lifestyle because it was “cool,” but most importantly, I wasn’t about to live the next four years of my life piggybacking off of other people when I had the choice to create my own.

It’s a constant cycle: people want to be accepted by the choices they make (especially if they are different), after thinking individuality isn’t always accepted by the crowd that decides what’s “acceptable” and what’s not, that person changes into what is acceptable all because of the opinion of someone else. It’s sad, honestly, but we’re all guilty of it. Besides, the crowd who decides what’s “in” and what’s not have the exact same insecurities as everyone else: they just like to cover it up with their authority of downgrading others to make themselves feel better.

For me, that self-esteem-crushing cycle was humorous. Most parents worry about their children giving into peer pressure, but mine were concerned about my constant rebellion against the social norm. I brushed off outside opinions and popular choices and I did what was best for me, not what was expected of me. I just started doing things my own way, without the worry of what others were going to think, and it was the best decision I ever made. I accepted who I was and who I wanted to be. Being different almost became a goal, a challenge. I strived to not classify anywhere. Predictability became overrated. What’s the fun in that?

“Social reality is objective, materialistic, and subject to prediction and technical control.” -Gerald M. Goldhaber

Approval vs. Acceptance

College has allowed me to really compare the two side-by-side now. I started to think deeper about why the concept of approval was necessary in our day-to-day lives, why it affected us so much, and the purpose behind it. Sometimes taking a step back allows us to fully understand what we’re facing and clears our mind of pointless worries.

Our generation especially, is affected by the #goals we see on social media. We voluntarily exposing ourselves to content that makes us think we’re doing life all wrong. Whether it be materialistic things, lifestyles, or accomplishments, we always view ourselves lower than we are. Has it ever occurred to anyone that social media accounts are people’s highlight reels? Not only are we pressured into putting our best foot forward in public, but virtually as well. It’s honestly difficult to recall all of the different methods of manipulation we face that push us into believing we’re wrong for not being what virtual society tells us we should be.


Recently, I’ve found acceptance to be the healthiest option for me. No matter what the difference is that you see in yourself, and think isn’t “acceptable” to others, think again. Galatians 1:10 states, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” I want you to think on that. What’s the true purpose of seeking man’s approval? What is the great outcome at the finish line we all desire? What is it? If it’s earthly, then we might want to rethink our priorities. Sometimes hopping on the bandwagon harms us more than it helps us.
Cover Image Credit: Lexie Knight

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
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The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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Not Having The 'Picture Perfect' Body Shape Doesn't Mean You Can't Wear A Bikini

All shapes and size are acceptable and beautiful.

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Summer has finally come again and it's now the time where everyone regrets not working out to get their "perfect" summer body. I'm here to say that these summer bodies everyone has been talking about are an unhealthy way to look at yourself and can hurt one's body image. If you're a size zero, that's great for you. If you're not a size zero, that is still great for you. There is no defined size that is required to wear a bikini during the summer, and there shouldn't be these unrealistic society norms on who can and can't wear them.

My entire life I was never worried about my size or how I look in a clothing item such as a bathing suit during the summer. I had always maintained a small figure from being active in grade school all the way through high school. Now that I am in college with no daily or weekly (and sometimes even monthly) exercise routine, I have gained weight and started to feel self conscious in what I look like in certain items that show my stomach. I don't look like the swimsuit models that are posted all over Instagram and started to feel that when summer came along I shouldn't be caught dead in a bathing suit or a shirt that showed any part of my stomach. I was beginning to feel bad about my body image because I didn't have the body shape or size that is considered to be a "society norm" and let it get to me. This is when I knew I needed to change my mindset, and not my physical appearance.

Just because someone isn't a certain size doesn't mean they should be shame into not wearing something they like or makes them feel good about themselves. Summertime is all about being in the sun at the beach or at the pool and getting a tan and getting in the water. This things require a swimsuit of some sort. The size and shape of someone's body shouldn't put a restriction on what type of bathing suit they choose to wear, and no one should comment on how they look in it in a negative manner. For some people, it's hard to lose weight just as it is hard for some people to gain weight. Society is always making remarks about girls being "too small" or "too big" or comments that are similar to those and it's putting a negative effect on how women view themselves which makes it harder for them to have a sense of self love.

Let a woman feel good about herself in what she's wearing no matter her size and leave the rude comments to yourself. Whether she is a size 0 or greater, she is still adding beauty into the world. If you want to wear a bikini, then do it. Don't let the negative people in society harshen your summertime fun.

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