For many people, this is not an easy question to answer. Some possible answers could be: a daughter to your parents, the leader of the school’s student council, or maybe a flute player for the school band. The common thread of these answers is that they are all occupations. However, the question is: is that enough to explain who you really are?
The people of our generation tend to identify themselves by their achievements or failures. In society, we constantly battle through endless competition. As high school students, we compete with one another over who has higher grades, who gets into a better college, or who gets the officer seat in a school club.
“When I go on social media like facebook, I find myself comparing the number of likes I have to what other people have,” said a high school student, who preferred to stay anonymous, in an interview with JSR. “I feel like those numbers decide how popular you are, and your status in school. Sometimes, I would delete photos that does not have much likes, because I feel embarrassed.”
We are sensitive to how others view us, and sometimes we are afraid of how people will judge us. When we are acknowledged, or when we earn something that everybody else wants, we feel proud about ourselves. That is not a bad reaction — it is natural, and good, to feel proud of oneself. However, one must not build up their self-esteem solely on the praises of others, for that means one will lose self-esteem when those praises disappear.
Keeping up with society’s expectations is not easy. The world tells us to do better than other people. On social media, one can easily see celebrities, or even friends, that have the perfect body and face. People publicly announce what college they got accepted to. On internet news articles, I read about teenagers around my age who are smart enough to sweep multiple national contests and get into an Ivy League school.
When we see that the world is full of so many people that are better than us, we can be intimidated. We feel the need and the pressure to be the best, to be “successful.” However, the standards for this success do not — and cannot — apply to everybody. What even is success, anyway? Do we need to be rich and powerful? Do we really need more likes on instagram?
We do not need to be rich. We do not need to be popular or have the highest grades among our friends. The idea that we ‘need’ better grades, or need more likes on social media is a false conception. It’s okay if we don’t have all of them; it’s okay if that one friend talks behind my back. If we accept our imperfections, we will be able to love ourselves as who we are right now.