Unsurprisingly, finals are a time of poor mental health. So much of your final grade depends on this one exam or project, and naturally, you're going to be stressed. And if you're already prone to deep thought, as I sometimes am, then this final exam crisis can very well turn into a full-blown existential crisis.
Many of my friends and I have fallen victim to such crises recently. Even in a culture full of 'special snowflakes', a lot of people are still left wondering what they have to offer. And over time, I've developed a little food for thought that seems to put things into perspective.
There will be moments where you don't feel smart or experienced or attractive enough. But there's probably a friend of yours that disagrees, and insists that you're all of the above. And you'll argue against such compliments. But here's the thing: what if you're wrong about yourself? After all, according to your own logic, you're always wrong anyway. So you could very well be wrong about your own potential too. And your overactive brain will persist in these dark thoughts, but you've got to keep questioning it. What if you're wrong, and you're everything you needed to be all along? What if when someone gives you a compliment, they aren't lying? Even if it's a slim possibility in your own mind, maybe it's enough to keep going.
Our culture likes to nurture uniqueness to a certain extent. Everyone is a 'special snowflake' that is pure and good and unique. And yeah, that's true. But telling someone they're special doesn't really do much. Complimenting a person with low self-esteem is like adding oil to vinegar. It just won't mix. So rather than shoving compliments down their throat, I've been challenging them instead. 'What if you're wrong?' has kind of been my catchphrase. It catches them off guard. It makes them think and reevaluate. An endless stream of compliments won't fix a special snowflake. If you turn up the heat, the snow only melts. Instead, throw a new gust of wind its way.
I've been pondering this thought a lot lately and encouraging some people to do the same. Most people don't like to be wrong, but in this case, I think I might be willing to take the loss.