Remember when you were in high school, probably freshman or sophomore year, and you sat next to that popular kid, or the kid that was going to play Division I football? You observed their every movement in awe as they smoothly talked to everyone throughout the room, including cracking jokes with the teacher like it was nothing.
Meanwhile you sit there slumped over, thinking of something to say that might make that cool kid pay the slightest attention to you. Instead, all you can do is compliment them, in a desperate ploy to receive recognition, a validation of sorts that would instantly result in being invited to project X type parties and receiving the numbers of every attractive girl east of the Mississippi River…
Instead, the kid looks at you like a scrub who has no right even being in the same stratosphere as them. You are just a mere peasant that is clearly trying to gain entrance into the royal highness friend group. It is that moment you realize that you are never going to be good enough for this kid, so you go through the rest of the day feeling inferior, and extremely disappointed that your attempt at talking to his royal highness didn’t result in the phone numbers of every attractive girl east of the Mississippi River.
Why do we do this? Why do we let ourselves go about life feeling inferior to others? A wise woman named Eleanor Roosevelt, you may have heard of her before… once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” So, why is it that we are constantly giving people the consent to make us feel worthless and inferior?
It’s really an epidemic. You see people on a daily basis giving out consent left and right for others to treat them like second-class citizens. Your coworker’s bending over backwards for your boss, in hopes of getting a “good job, peasant” reply. Or maybe a measly picture on the wall that’s says peasant of the month… I mean employee of the month… Or maybe you see your friend selling their soul and everything else but the kitchen sink for a girl that just rolls her eyes at his attempt to talk to her.
As a society we think that in order to get what we want, or to be successful, we have to constantly meet the approval of those with power. We essentially sell our souls to a few people that hold power over us and then they can control us like puppets. It’s quite upsetting. We live in a society that tells us to be ourselves every day, yet at the same time tells us to fit into a certain mold so we can “climb the ladder” and get a good solid job. T
he hypocrisy is far too real for me to handle, commercials saying just be yourself and let everything fall into place, followed by an ad for Crest White strips, so you can have a perfect Hollywood smile. So… Wait, I thought everyone was perfect just the way they are and being yourself was what you’re supposed to do? I guess that’s true unless you aren’t meeting someone else’s standards in some way.
If you watch enough TV, scroll through enough Instagram photos, or listen to enough news, then you will surely think that you are not up to par and you need to start changing yourself, so you can gain society’s approval.
But hold on a second, what if instead of subjecting ourselves to constant ridicule and scrutiny from others, we looked at only gaining approval from the person we see when we look into a puddle on a clear day, or the person we see on a spoon after we shine it up with soap and water?
What if we went through our lives only trying to please that person, wouldn’t that make our lives a lot simpler and a lot less stressful? Instead of trying to make ourselves fit into a round hole when we are meant to be square, we should focus on looking at ourselves and our square edges, and smiling.
Smile, because there is not a single person in the entire galaxy that has the same edges. Smile, because we like what we see when we look into that puddle on the ground when it’s sunny out.
Think about all the time that we spend trying to gain approval from others… I’ll save you the math, it’s a lot. But imagine what we could do with that time and energy if we didn’t put it towards trying to change ourselves. We could accomplish so much more in life and not to mention have a sense of peace because of our self-assurance.
Trying to gain approval is a never-ending cycle, because you are constantly going to meet new people, or have a new boss, or a new job. The cycle will never end, you could spend your entire life changing yourself for others… The once-unique square peg edges will have turned round in a desperate effort to fit into a round hole.
So, what is going to happen when you are a round peg trying to fit into the newest trend, a triangle hole? You are right back where you started, trying to change yourself to fit in for others, and so the cycle repeats.
So next time you are feeling inferior to a classmate, colleague or coworker, and you find yourself trying to gain his or her approval, think about how beautifully unique your square peg edges are. Look at that person and feel sorry for them. Because beneath that façade of being too good for you, was once a square peg who tried so hard to become round, that they completely lost track of who they are.
I would rather get up every morning and smile at my reflection in the mirror, even when society tells me I shouldn’t have any reason to. I’d rather do that, then wake up everyday trying to find a way to change myself, strictly for the benefits of others.