I can already tell that you guys are rolling your eyes at me. And yet, you clicked on the article, so you're ready to be convinced. Well, I'm only too happy to oblige in reminding everyone present that there is a Person for everyone out there. Not necessarily a one-size-fits-all soulmate that aligns perfectly with every aspect of your being. You don't even know yourself yet. How could we expect someone else to?
What I'm saying is, we've all been so enduringly taught to subscribe to the need to find flaws in ourselves.
Any deviation from what has been established as the norm (straight white, rich male) is painted unalterably as a flaw. Sometimes, the flaw can be fixed; solved with some capitalistic consumption and confidence. Other times, however, we absorb into our personality a defense mechanism whereby we can protect ourselves with self-deprecating humor and a tendency towards isolating ourselves when things get hard. As a result of all of this, many of us have been conditioned to view our flaws as things people can use against us. Weaknesses that make us unloveable or undesirable, or fundamentally unworthy.
Hang tight, dear readers, because I'm about to go on a deep dive into everyone's diary entries from 2012 to present… "I'm not good enough. Attractive enough. No one will ever know me. No one will ever love me"
We can't let that attitude curtail our lives.
Sometimes we just need to risk it and accept that we might get hurt.
Stop caring, start thriving
There are so many self-care or self-help books out there that operate under the guise of improving us. Of elevating our identity and crystallizing into something more ideologically secure, consistent and productive. There are so many means of approaching ways to improve our emotional well-being, mental health, physical fitness, and overall social prospects. It can get super overwhelming. You aren't alone in thinking that. Particularly when entering your guidance counselor's office in high school when the walls were pasted top to bottom with naff inspirational posters and placards. 'It's not about the destination. It's about the journey. Or 'things that are hard are worth fighting for.'
The old faithful: 'Life isn't a competition'.
Honestly, I'm sure all of these epithets are true, but that's not to say that there isn't more informative, helpful advice out there. Like, there's a reason the clichés exist – because they're solid – but I can do better.
So I ask you, my implied audience, a question. What's gold dust?
The art of not caring.
I know it can be hard and may sound harsh and alien to 'not care,' but it's not suddenly like you will overnight cease to have a functioning heart. Or that you will be unable to love again – that's unrealistic and sensationalist.
But that way, as soon as you accept that you are not living their life or by their terms, you can separate yourself from those comparisons. It means that you can both exist together, but mutually exclusively, without impinging on each other's sense of self.
You shouldn't only be able to feel proud of yourself in relation to others.
Be proud that you got 78, not that you got higher than your friend in the class. Don't let other people unknowingly determine your self-worth or lack thereof.
There is always pressure to conform to some invisible social timeline when to have sex for the first time or move in together. Or when to get married or have kids. Don't listen to the nonsense around you. Think about what you want. It's okay not to want any of that! Friends can be soul mates platonically just as much as lovers can be. So think, think, think!
We all crave what seems impossible.
But I promise you, love isn't impossible. And you will have it. If you look around yourself now, you will also find that you're surrounded by it. Don't forget the power of family and friends and platonic soul mates when you're thinking about what you want.
We always underestimate how many people are willing to do ridiculous things to get a smile from us.
That way, you can distance yourself from the toxic competition that capitalism and social encounters inherently prompt, and you will be miles happier for it.
So stop what you're doing.
Unfollow those celebrities on Instagram. They don't care about you and if you're honest with yourself, you can't remember the last time you even liked their picture. Stop being a voyeur on other people's lives at the expense of living your own.
Take breaks from social media. Go on a walk. Listen to music. Join a yoga class.
Learn a new language.
Take up an online course.