Ironically in our search for significance, we undermine this pursuit. We search for significance and meaning from everything we meet. It seems to me that everything we may do in life is in part an attempt to construct meaning for ourselves and make ourselves feel important. Even mundane things, which one might think indifferent to this pursuit, like eating food, could be said to be a way of recharging to pursue significance further. This desire for significance and meaning is not inherently bad, although it certainly has the potential to make us more prideful than we realize.
The most pressing need and desire everyone shares in is to be known and to be loved, but what does this practically amount to? Some people certainly are content to be known and loved only by a few, but I suspect that more people desire to be known and loved by many people. This desire transforms into a desire to be significant and meaningful in the lives of others. This desire can turn into the neurotic compulsion to make ourselves more important than we are in the eyes of others. This is exemplified in the person who does as many extra-circulars and jobs as possible to build their resume. Although this is a practical thing to do that aids in job hunting, a large part of our lives can be motivated to make sure that we will have a good resume. We are more focused on doing things and appearing a certain way to others than we are with being the type of person who grows in self-awareness and character, who naturally will be significant in the lives of others.
This compulsion to make people see us in a certain way is indicative of the state of our hearts. We desire to be important. We desire for meaning beyond the minutia of daily living. Often I will judge others as superficial. This pronouncement helps me to feel like I am more important than that other person. If I am finding my worth by being different than others and/or more significant, then I am searching for my worth in the eyes of others, which are constantly moving and fixating on different targets. Accordingly, I will constantly be forced to compare myself to others and do things to make myself the object of people’s attention. This will be impossible and will cause bitterness in me as I try and compare myself with others who are more successful/important than me. This bitterness will fester and cause me to seek more meaning from other things, which will never satisfy.
TAKE A LONG BREATH, AND CHILL! There will always be others who are better than you at some things. The hardest part of addressing these behaviors is recognizing that you are practicing them. We like to think that if we have addressed these behaviors once that they are gone for good. But guess what? That is and never will be the case. God has created you unique and has equipped you in intensely personal ways that he has not done for others. You are loved by God and nothing you could ever do could change that. You cannot make yourself any more beautiful or pleasing to God than you are right now. To desire significance is to be human. This desire must be acknowledged as good. To be significant is a good thing. It is only when we seek this significance outside of God that we undermine our own project.