In the world of constant comparisons, never ending rewards for the best, and a constant supply of reminders that we must keep achieving, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. After all, high school is a pretty scary place to be. That is, if we let it run our lives.
Ahh the pencil. For all of us enrolled in science classes here at my high school, getting the pencil, or the highest score on a test, is pretty meaningful. Or so we think. After mostly jokingly obsessing about getting it last year (yes, I’m motivated by sparkly red pencils), I’ve begun to wonder what moves us to care so much about that staple of achievement. And the reality is, like most other things we do, the motivation stems from the promise of social praise. As a wise film “Before Sunrise” once said, “isn’t everything we do in life a way to be loved a little more?” Maybe we’re not as shallow as we think. We don’t just buy new shoes because we think they’ll make us happy. It’s all about external reactions from other people. In essence, the belief that being loved can remedy our constant need for approval, may actually ring true.
However, here comes another dilemma. Some people actively and openly yearn for the love they so desire. Usually, to no avail. Because often they predicate their confidence on their ability to be loved. So how can we become self-sufficient enough to be confident whilst knowing that our actions are motivated by the desire to be loved?
Whew…that took a while to think about. If we truly believe that love can help us achieve happiness, we’d be wrong not to want it. However, if in the pursuit of that love, we find ourselves lacking self-confidence, then does love actually help us achieve anything at all?
A side note: This love isn’t romantic, but rather, a love based on social acceptance.
What do we do now? Understand where our motivation is coming from. Do we really want to get into Harvard because we think we belong there, or is it because we foresee some sort of praise? There are no golden-pedastals in this world, and we might just have to accept that. Getting the pencil won’t make us the MASTER OF ALL THINGS CHEMISTRY, nor will it win us any friends. If we want to win people over, we’ll have to stop focusing so much on ourselves. Therefore, in order to gain the love we want, we’ll need to give some love first.