People want to be attached to something beyond themselves. They
want to get “out there” every day and not be stuck all alone in the house. They
don’t want to be nameless and unaffiliated. They don’t want to be aimless. They
perceive that they need the label of some relationship or job or club in order
to avoid all this.
Is this you?
People feel they must be attached to something they can give a name to in order to feel like a person. Otherwise they are invalid.
Consider that the majority of high school graduates go off to college so that their parents will continue to support them while they buy time—that is, to continue receiving support before they are able to support themselves. I mean, that’s what I’m doing, and most of my friends certainly don’t want to be in college. So many kids at my school just don’t care and don’t want to be there. Of course, I go to community college so I might just have the low end of totem pole to look at here.
What about students at fancier-pants places though? What if putting their fancy pants on is the only way they feel worthy? What if all other pursuits just look way too low-brow—even if those are what they really want?
Floating through space. People attest to being so busy all the time. Yet, might it really be that they love hustling from one activity to the next, no matter how mundane or meaningless, so that they won’t have to stop and stare in the face of life? So they have a good excuse to keep putting off those scary things they really want to do? So they can say, “Sorry, I just didn’t have time to get around to it”? So they don’t have to face up to what they’re really feeling? Cue Tove Lo, from the top please.
I’m certainly not suggesting that you do the opposite of rush around, which is to stop and stagnate But when you constantly go, go, go… Are you even doing things you want to be doing? Do you really care about the commitments you’ve made? Are the bulk of your activities soulless? Might you be running on an endless treadmill?
Maybe you talk to a certain girl everyday just because you think it’s better than being alone, or you stay at your job because you think it’s better than being broke. Is it really? Are you sure? Have you tested this? What if when you let go of these things, you are able to connect with better things?
I like to speed through schoolwork so I have time to work on my own projects, such as this. In the past I might have allowed myself to take all the time in the world on homework so as avoid such scary creative endeavors.
Let’s get down to the dirty stuff here. So tell me. If I dropped out of school, remained jobless, and just worked on my own stuff for a while, what would become of me? Would I shrivel up and die in oblivion? Would I even be a person anymore? Would I have a name? Of course, I have a website, so that’s something. But what if I didn’t, and I just went out and travelled the world all by myself for a little while? Then what am I? Who would Kim Wrate be?
The fallacy of those questions lies in the assumption that my worth is objectively-based. In other words, I’ve wrongly imagined that what makes me a valid person is being attached to something outside myself.
The problem there is that I have no idea what other people think of me, and I can never have any idea. When I run in the woods, it doesn’t matter that I’m a community college student on the indoor track team. Those labels are meaningless there. I’m just another- albeit clothed and domesticated- animal.
Step Into Your Self-worth
We must determine our own self-worth. It is impossible to define yourself by the value someone else attributes to you. Ultimately, you are the one who accepts and applies that value-judgment to yourself.
I’m not suggesting you lay around all day and get big and tell yourself you’re valuable. I don’t want to live like that anyway. I genuinely want to live an active, full life and help other people to do so. I would like to be part of the solution rather than the problem. I just think living and working on my own terms is the best way for me to do so.
Yeah, it might be a bit scary once I become, for the first time, unattached from a massive organization beyond myself, and it could very well be a little lonely. But what’s the use of keeping up this game? That’s largely what it (school) is to me now.
I don’t mean to say I don’t learn anything valuable there and that it isn’t a valid path for others to take. But I’ve thrown away more life to it than I ought to. I see that at this point it’s probably holding me back more than it is propelling me forward. I know logically that floating around on my own probably would not be as tragic as I fear. I also know that I really am just floating around at school anyway.
At least on my own I’d be doing conscious floating. At school there’s a tendency for people to accept their present role and hope there will be something waiting for them at the end of it, whether it’s graduate school, a fancy-pants job, or a spot on the couch back home. It’s as though they get so used to being drilled with directions all the time that they can’t find their own direction anymore. They have become dependent on others telling them what to do. To do any other would require too much effort. Let me just sleep through life and hope…
Yet, no one wants to be alone and unnamed. At least at school or a job there’s some perception of being productive, and there are other people there to connect with. I understand this feeling. It’s part of my motivation for sticking around the institutional life, for the time being.
Stepping Into Love
What we can choose to do instead of grasping for external validation is connect with each other consciously. Not due to mere convenience or expectation. Not due to a need to avoid solitude, monotony, and boredom. Not due to a desire to disconnect from something undesirable. Instead, due to a genuine interest to connect with something wonderful. Doesn’t that sound beautiful?
I know people do this already. Yes, you can connect with people who you’ve known for years and who you see every day at some large organization. The point is to connect based on something you really, really care about. To connect out of excitement. To connect by mutual attraction.
To do this, I also have to connect with myself in a love-based fashion. Instead of railing on myself to get my work done so I can make money, I can be genuinely interested and excited about the ideas I have to share with others. Instead of staring myself down in the mirror to become more attractive, I can take joy in what beauty I know I do have. Instead of wishing I’d just get my shit together and become a perfect person already, I can take pride in what I have accomplished thus far, and from there look with a smile to what I shall do next.
Likewise, instead of wanting for another person to just get a grip and become happy, or lose weight, or stop complaining already, I can choose to connect to what a beautiful person she is now. Now is all we have anyway; plus, you’re a beautiful person and so am I, so… Why not?
Provided I take responsibility for what happens, why not allow inspiration and a higher purpose to guide me into wildly fun, unabashed love? What the heck is wrong with that?
So long as I have no hidden motive, we respect one another, and all the cards are out on the table to both myself and to my friend, nothing is wrong. There is nothing the matter at all. We are each great spirits of unending value, and no namesake could ever give or take that away from us.