Each day, we face a storm of metaphorical attacks. We are hit in the face as someone tells us we wear too much makeup, bruised and scratched when our body is criticized, and concussed when our opinion is underappreciated. Heartburn attacks as friends change, people pass and life continues to move on.
As humans living in 2016, we are constantly compared to the world’s expectations for us. Growing up, we are told to be ourselves and do what makes us happy. But as soon as we start to find ourselves, we get confined and lost returning to the norm. All our internal struggles stem from the fact that each day, we make choices trying to define ourselves. But in reality, we have no idea who we are. Isn’t the goal in life to be happy? Considering we're individuals, why should everyone find happiness in the same things? Yet somehow in society, we define what happiness is, what success means. We allow other people to tell us who we are instead of simply being ourselves. The hard, unpopular and often inconvenient truth is that the only way to achieve success and reach our maximum potential is by making no exceptions to be who we are.
As human beings, we are born with individual characteristics that define who we are and make us completely unique. We come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors and genetics. Everyone is blessed with talents and given weaknesses to help us learn and develop through our trials. People are born into different countries, cultures, customs, religions and traditions. Some are born rich, others poor. It doesn’t even matter if you’re a twin—everyone is born completely different from everyone else, and this is simply an uncontrollable fact.
However, as people living in a society obsessed with being the best, we act as if we're clones of each other. People have the mindset that in order to be good enough for themselves, they have to be better than everyone else. When someone is confident that they are the best, their first reaction is to brag, to advertise that they are better than another person and to make them jealous; however, perfection is impossible and we are all subject to our human flaws. So when the person isn’t the best, or doesn’t have the same ability someone else has, they obsess over it, and it becomes an insecurity.
Unfortunately, this sickening process is one we have all participated in at one point or another. When a class gets their tests back, the first person to ask what everyone else in the class scored is the person who got a 100. In a conversation between two girls, the girl with a bigger chest will bring up bra size with the flat chested one. After Christmas, your richest friend will be the one to ask you what you got and then proceed to tell you a list they already know is longer. It’s contagious. And the more we grow jealous of other people, the more we continue to brag. A lot of times, we aren’t even aware we are doing it.
The best part is that this cycle doesn’t even make sense. If someone talked about how much they loved running to someone with only one leg, society would tell them they’re cruel. By definition, a disability is merely a handicap, a disadvantage. If this is the case, aren’t we all disabled? We live in a world full of physically, financially, mentally, emotionally, socially disadvantaged people who are all working to overcome whatever weakness they were given at birth. Worse, since were all individuals striving to be societies perfect person we compare and criticize our weaknesses with other people’s strengths.
The only way to beat the system is to stop trying to make ourselves what society wants us to be and start being what we actually are: unique, special and irreplaceable people. It’s time we, as a society, realize the harm we subconsciously inflict from our comparisons and make a conscious effort to embrace our individuality. By living as ourselves, we can excel in our strengths and improve our weaknesses in order to do and be what no one else can. Since no one else is anything like us, we can only compare us to ourselves. Maybe someday we will be able to acknowledge that as people living in 2016, we are constantly attacked by the world’s expectations for us, but then decide as humans we only care about our own.