Knowing everything about yourself is a hard thing to accomplish but it is essential for your self-esteem. I often wish I could go back in time and tell myself exactly who I would become because I spent years worrying about it, always unsure of myself and my abilities. To go back to one of yesterday’s posts, I believe that this is why so many young people rely on social media. Gratification from strangers is a powerful thing but it is not something that people should depend on for self-worth.
Getting forty likes on a photo of myself or something I post should not even come close to being relevant to my self-worth. Of course, it’s nice to be heard or be noticed but it shouldn’t be a factor in what mood I’m in for the day or how I see myself. This is a very serious thing with young adults in Ireland, essentially a case of “The more likes I receive, the better I’ll feel about myself”. This should definitely not be the case.
I have very strong feelings to do with educating the young people of Ireland about the pros and cons of social media and teaching them to appreciate themselves on their own. Of course, the teenage years are a very strange time for a lot of young people, I’m only three years out of them myself so I understand how important it is to be accepted and feel ‘liked’ during this time. Social media is definitely not the solution though.
One of the things that assured me of who I am is music. I found a genre I liked and just went with it, listening to everything Grunge and Rock related. Soon I was able to say that I liked these genres, further cementing my personality in my mind. People would ask what music I listened to and I would be able to tell them, excitedly, that I was a bit of Grunge fan or that I loved Pearl Jam and Fleetwood Mac. Sure, I got some funny looks in school but this music made me feel good about myself and laid the foundations of my personality. Now I listen to Metallica and Royal Blood, further helping me to know who I really am. Another thing that helped me was college. I was very lucky in this regard. I had no idea what I wanted to do, picking a few options that sounded good. After a brief chat with someone who knew me better than I knew myself, I had started down the path to Creative Media. Four years later and I’m in the middle of completing my final year. The last thing that helped me was my family and my partner. Spending time with both was definitely a major part of discovering my self-worth.
Not once in that last paragraph did I mention social media or Facebook. I never used either extensively when I was growing up. Yet here I am, absolutely sure of myself and who I am, happy with how I look, what I’m doing and how I feel about myself. I feel good about me. I found self-worth through the music I listen to, the career path I’ve chosen and who I chose to spend my time with. So let me serve as an example. I never sought gratification or appreciation from internet strangers or those who I didn’t know. Instead, I was able to do both of those things by myself and now I’m infinitely happier for it.
There’s no rush to find out who you are. In the grand scheme of things, it will happen one way or another. The internet and those who use it are not a tool to make you feel good about yourself, you will only grow dependant on them to continue to gratify and appreciate you and when they can’t, you won’t have the proper tools to appreciate yourself. The generations below me are growing up, depending on others for the above and it’s truly an epidemic. In years to come, no one will know how to appreciate themselves.
One of the subjects in schools should be replaced or supplemented with a module aiming to teach young adults about self-worth and how to boost their self-esteem. Not enough is being done to highlight this problem and not enough is being done to highlight the problem with those who it is affecting and at such a critical stage in a young person’s life. Although, not every young person is lucky enough to have a Dad like mine.
A lot of what I’m saying here are things my Dad had warned me about and what he had said to me on the topic of self-worth. My Dad is definitely one of the greatest philosophers I know. He’s a master in the art of self-worth. A man who lives to please himself. An inspiration to me. Though the teachings that he bestowed upon me now need to be heard by the right ears. Find something you love doing and keep doing it, tell everyone about it, read everything about it, buy stuff related to it and talk to others who also love doing it! That, is the essence of self-worth.
The best advice my Dad ever gave me – “You are responsible for your own happiness Aidan.”
Photo credits: https://unsplash.com/photos/oO15xC38wj4