defy your stereotypes

You're Not Another Piece Of The Venn Diagram

We all wonder if we'll ever be as tall as the other trees.

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Let us take a look at the scientific method, starting with the question, are you better than the person next to you? Take some background research about what they are good at. Look at your hypothesis, if they did better than me at this, then they are better than me overall. Now, through your experiment, you will go through life and the failures you have and compare them to the accomplishments they have. After analyzing, you result in feeling like you have lost some self-worth.

Why do we compare ourselves? Social psychologists came up with the Social Comparison Theory, which states that "in the absence of objective measures for self-evaluation, we compare ourselves to others to find out how well we are doing." Psychologist, Dr. Williams, says "we come to know ourselves by comparing ourselves to other people, and we compare ourselves to others to learn about our feelings, traits, and abilities." It's not terrible to compare yourself because that way, we can motivate or even feel better about ourselves, but sometimes, comparing ourselves can cause us to lose self-worth. It is astonishing how one number can affect your mood.

But NUMBERS are incapable of measuring all of the EFFORT, TALENT, and CAPABILITIES we possess. Anyone can be talented, anyone can be smart, but why let a simple number define how talented or smart you are? How good you are at something is not solely based on talent. Everyone has talent, but talent is nothing without hard work and dedication, skill develops from the time we spend on perfecting that talent. And after all, a number can't measure your willpower or determination. Ms. Halvorson, the author of "Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals" states that "we should think about why we were seeking the information. Upward comparison can be punishing and make you feel terrible… but you can also look upward to learn." Don't just feel inferior about performing badly, or even looking bad, especially when you are giving your best. What more can you offer to yourself other than your best?

We are constantly looking at the person next to us rather than focusing on ourselves. We see ourselves every day, the same image and we know what we are capable of doing, so it's easy to avert our attention to others and their strengths and compare their strengths to our weaknesses. Erzo F.P. Luttmer, the author of the study and associate professor of economics at Dartmouth College says that people "influence what you think is a normal lifestyle." You have these standards and this ideal image that everyone strives to be, but while in the midst of trying to achieve that goal or standard for yourself, you start feeling like you have lost self-worth.

You start to lose yourself.

All of us want to be the best, but the most important thing is to be the best of your OWN capabilities. You will be successful either way. What matters the most is to make the difference for yourself and to do what makes you happy. You do not need to be better than everyone else, but be better for your own satisfaction. It is hard for all of us to just accept how we are now and how much effort is put into everything already when there are so many people in the world that are "higher" than us, comparing your life to someone else's is always a losing proposition because there will always be someone who will appear to be doing a better job or living a better life, you can not always be at the top.

Every person in this world is stuck in this box. We are constantly surrounded by the walls that close in on us daily. On one side is the expectations people set for us that we are expected to hold, the next side is the kind of criticism that we face. Coming down from the top is the failure that could come crashing down at any moment, and the bottom is the bottomless pit we are all stuck in. We are in this box because we are constantly beating ourselves up inside and out, wondering WHY can't we be as smart as them, WHY can't we be as good looking or as nice or cool as the next person?

But we always fail to ask this one question: WHY can't we just seem to accept ourselves the way we are now?

If we know that we, ourselves can do better, then do better! All it takes is hard work, and if hard work doesn't take you to where you want, then push a little harder and satisfy yourself and no one else around you. Talent is what we possess but skill is gained every second, hour to a day worth of time to carve. No one has fallen down yet, and those who have, have failed to realize that they are only one step closer to success. On the road to success, you will always pass by failure.

We are all tiny plants stuck in this giant forest with trees towering above us, unable to reach the sunlight we need as the shadows cast upon us, wondering when we'll ever be as tall as the other trees. All of us. How will we ever grow to be that tall? We are all like different seeds, some of us are capable of growing that tall and some of us have a limit to how much we can grow, but still be as beautiful and magnificent as the other. In order to grow and develop into the plant that we are, we must be planted, watered, and given enough sunlight or fertilizer. You can't only have water without all the other elements, because that way, you can't grow.

Just like water, numbers itself cannot define you and it does not make you grow with itself. You need sunlight and clippings, and fertilizer and much more than just water to help you grow, to help to get where you want to be. Like plants, too much water and too little of everything else will kill you. It will kill your happiness, and fog up the whole picture of ourselves that include all the other qualities of ourselves and cause us to think we are failures just because of one, single quality. You don't need to be like those trees, you just need to be like you, the plant you are with your own qualities. Grow from your soil, and admire others and look up to them, but you will never be them like they will never be you.

Now let us plug in another question into the scientific method. Does one quality define who you are? Our research or background information is what you are good at. Look at your hypothesis, If I am good at all of these things and I start to realize it, then I do not need to worry about trying to be better than someone else. The experiment is working hard at what you do best and trying to be the best you can. Analyze by looking at all your achievements, and future goals and current accomplishments. Conclude that you are a unique individual who is different from anyone else, and you do not need to achieve what they have in order to realize that you are good at what you do, and who you are as a person.

Grades, ranking, and looks may all be important, but when you look in the mirror, you don't see a mere number, you see yourself. In that reflection, you may not be able to see all the other qualities you have, but remember, you see the person who has weaknesses, but also strengths. The person who does not only have an image on the outside to define who they are but the person who has more on the inside to complete who they are.

Cover Image Credit:

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If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.
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Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things.

If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize, and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity toward this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs. In a world where a six-figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm..

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

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You May Be In College, But Positive Reinforcement Is Still Essential For A Better Life

It's truly amazing to see how positive reinforcement, especially from a professor or someone who works in your chosen field, can boost your confidence.

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Being a freshman in college is tough, and I'm absolutely positive that I'm not the first person to say that. For me, the biggest adjustments came with being far from home, having to make brand new friends, and actually figuring out what I want to do with my life. Now, those first two items were not that difficult to find solutions to, but that last one? That is a completely different story.

In the span of six-seven months, I have gone back and forth, again and again with just about every combination of majors and minors that you could think of. At this moment, I think I've finally found a combination that will truly push me to succeed in my goals. By the end of next semester, I'm hopeful that I will be able to declare my major and minors.

But, the point of this article is to share the point in this current semester, where I really believed that my goals can become a reality. Right now, I am enrolled in a course called "introduction to critical intelligence studies." After much debate with the class, our professor decided to put our midterm online, making it a take-home exam. It consisted of a few multiple choice questions and three essays of our choosing. With the idea that this exam was take-home, I knew that my professor would be expecting us to put our best foot forward and all of our time and effort into making sure we did well.

And I did. This was the first midterm result that I got back and it was a 100. How did I find this out? For one day, instead of class, my professor met with each of us individually for at least ten minutes to discuss what we were hoping to get out of this class. It was during this meeting that she told me my grades and more.

My professor had explained to me that based on my writing, she did not think that I was just a mere freshman. She continued to say that I have a knack for analysis, as well as the fact that it was truly evident that I took in all the information from her lectures and the assigned readings. With my grades in mind and what I hoped to do in the future, my professor assured me that I should have no problem accomplishing my goals. My professor made sure that I had confidence in myself and my abilities, providing me with even more steps that would lead to success.

It's truly amazing to see how positive reinforcement, especially from a professor or someone who works in your chosen field, can boost your confidence. This reinforcement has provided me with the means and opportunity to further push myself. Since this meeting, I have been in constant contact with my professor to learn about different opportunities that can build up my resume. With her help, as well as the director of the program, I've been able to learn more about anything and everything that has to do with intelligence.

I'm proud to say that I want to go into such a field. And I'm also proud to say that I'm thankful for everyone who has decided to push me and not only celebrate my successes — but also to help me learn from my mistakes.

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