Humans we tend to be selfish and do things only when we get something out of it. Why? Because we always want profit and materialistic rewards. What is the meaning of helping? What is the meaning of giving? What is the point of being good to others? What is the point of lending a hand without receiving anything back? If you have ever asked yourself that questions, please check the following video. If you have never asked yourself that questions, check it too. Your perspective on life might change after it.
Every year in the day of my birthday I choose a song to guide me during the next year. For instance, my 17th song was “17” by Avril Lavigne, because I was hoping to have a year full of friends, constant party, an active social life and excellent memories to remember one day when I was older. I spent a year seeking a good family and strong friendships. However, I didn’t find any of these things. In fact, my 17s (together with my 16s) was one the worst years of my life, when comes to my emotional and social life. I never felt so lonely and it was frustrating. I worked so hard to make friends. I worked so hard to engage with my family. I basically worked so hard to be likeable by everyone. And nothing went fine.
I must admit I did make a few friends, but I can’t meet any of them regularly. My main focus was making friends in college, but I just… couldn’t. When comes to family, it came to a moment in which I got fed up because my future was in danger. And since then, everything went down. The worst part of this failure wasn’t the failure itself: it was that, somehow, I lost myself during the process. I became someone I weren’t. I tried to be feminine, submissive and traditional for my family to accept me. I tried to act like the rest of girls in my college, wearing make up and all that stuff, just to make friends. In front of others, I would repress my thoughts and feelings, because I knew they would be rejected or I would receive strange looks. For instance, my family wanted me to be a stereotypical classy girl, and I was in for it. I went into wearing make up every day, using body shapers, threading my eyebrows regularly, and tolerating unfair house chores divisions at home just for the sake of being a female. I have nothing against these behaviours, but they are just not me. I’m not that type of person. And I will never be that type of person.
When I realised of my failure after all the hard work, I went into a spiral of confusion. Then sadness. And finally anger. I became conscious of the fact that faking a personality didn’t get me very far, and the journey to being me again would be hard. However, as I evaluated my life more and more, I realised I didn’t like who I was, even before my changes to fit in: that person was the one I was in Spain, before coming to England, and trust me, it wasn’t any more realer or better. In Spain, I also followed the current quite a lot, and I did a lot of things I didn’t like just to please others. It is funny, because in England I had more chances to be myself than I ever did in Spain, but for some reason, I didn’t take them. In Spain I was only real with my friends and with my classmates, because many of them were people I had known since I was three years old, so there wasn’t much I could hide. During primary school I would try hard to be “popular”, but in secondary school, it came to a point in which I was like “f*** it” and I just acted naturally most of the times.
Due to all this, when my 18th birthday came, I no longer wanted a strong network of friendships or an active social life or a perfect family. I wanted to establish my identity. I wanted to accept who I was, and only change for the better. I wanted to start having a set of aims and goals for life. I realised that I would never able to make true friends if I kept faking my attitude and repressing my views. I realised that my family may never accept who I am, and I can’t allow their opinion to be a ghost haunting me during my whole life. I realised that my happiness was more important than fitting in society. Being fake and following the current didn’t get me anywhere but to misery and loneliness. So, I decided that I would have to find myself, before trying to find anything else. And that’s the piece of advice I want to give you all.
You will never be comfortable in a place if you fake your personality and your likes. It is ok to adapt to situations: of course you are not going to act the same in your workplace and with your friends down the pub. But if for instance, you don’t like sports, don’t act as if you like them just to be accepted by your colleagues. Make them know sports aren’t your favourite thing in the world, but you enjoy other things such as reading or cooking. If you don’t like what your friend has said about a topic such as feminism, don’t just nod and accept it. Tell them you don’t agree and share your opinion too. If your parents want you to study an academic subject, but you rather study a vocational/artistic course, just follow your heart. It is your life, your decision.
What is the point in pleasing others, if you are not pleasing yourself at the same time? Since we are little we are taught to do things to make our parents proud, to get a good job, to achieve a high status, to make money, to marry and have children… However, what about our OWN dreams, goals and desires? Not everyone wants to be rich. Not everyone wants a high status. Not everyone wants to have children. Not everyone wants to marry. There is no “correct” way of living. Just a traditional way which is diverse across different cultures and societies. And you don’t need to follow any of those ways. As the unique human being you are, you can create your own one.
Religion and spiritualism are one of the main approaches to discovering who you are, because they offer wisdom and a non-scientific view of life, which is often needed for people to make sense of what is going on in their surroundings. However, there are other methods. If you feel lost and you don’t know who you are, my advice would be trying new things. Submerge yourself in new experiences, having your main likes as reference. For instance, if you are interested in cultures, you could try and save money to fund yourself a year of travelling. Or conversely, you could look for organisations in your area that work towards the promotion of multiculturalism and integration, and work/volunteer for them.
So yeah: find yourself before finding anything else. In order to be happy, this is a step that must be taken. And, how can you find yourself? Easily: Be yourself. Do your thing. Speak your thoughts. Accept your body. Dress as you like. Have your own dreams. Only change for you. And for the better.
Sharing some advice,
Emilie H. Featherington
Success is defined in two ways in the Oxford Dictionary: “The accomplishment of an aim or purpose“, and “the attainment of fame, wealth, or social status“. However, I have never been a big fan of how the word success is used. In most cases, successful is an adjective used to describe someone who makes a lot of money and/or someone who is famous. And I don’t see it like that. I wondered if people really believe that you need to be rich and famous to be successful, so I decided to ask “what is success?” to random people in Twitter, and as an open question in Spring. me. Here are the responses:
“I think success is just growing up and doing what you want, doing something that makes you happy. Being in a job that you enjoy, and that enables you to make enough £ to live comfortably. To be able to be independent, to take care of yourself. That’s success innit.”
“Aiming for a goal and reach it.”
“Getting the end result you wanted.”
“Finding something you love and turning it into a career if you’re talking long term.”
“Success is when you achieve something you’ve been working for for so long and it makes you feel satisfied with yourself.”
“Success is having enough money, etc.to meet your needs & enough extra to help out anyone you chose to help, and not being a jerk. That’s real important. Not being a jerk.”
“Happiness in your personal struggle.”
“Constant innovation, accepting that nothing is as perfect as it can be. This need to continually improve drives evolution and progress. That is success.”
From all these answers I got something really important: not everyone actually thinks that you need to be famous and rich to be successful. So, why do we keep acting as if rich and famous people are the only successful people on Earth? I have heard so many celebrities speak as if they are better and more successful than other people because they are known and millionaire, and it is upsetting. I like to believe that is just a too generalised and overused mindset. Before I continue, thanks to all the kind people who answered my questions. You keep this blog going.
Success is about goals, happiness and satisfaction: having some aims in life and working hard to achieve them, while you have a good time. Success is linked too often to status, money and fame, what leads to a sense of failure in people who don’t have any of these things. If your aim in life is being millionaire, I understand you feel successful when reaching that goal. But that doesn’t mean that someone that works in a hospital as a nurse is any less successful, if that is the career they always wanted. Personally, I only feel successful when I achieve things I wanted with all my heart. Back in school days, I would pass exams with good grades but I didn’t care, because they were just exams to me: I didn’t pass them because I wanted to pass from the bottom of my heart, I passed them because I had to pass them, as said by my teachers and family. However, the minute I finished writing my first book ever, I never felt more successful in my life: and that was something that didn’t gave me any fame, money or similar. It was just for me. My own life goal met. My hard work paid off, and I was satisfied and happy.
Various people in the quotes above have linked success with achieving something: I agree. In life, everyone has goals and aims, even in a subconscious way. Becoming a singer, publishing a book, being a football player, winning elections to be a president, finding love, travelling, marrying, having children… As diverse humans, we all have diverse objectives in life. Sometimes we don’t realise we have them: but we do. There is always something we really want to do or get: it is within human nature having wishes and dreams. However, not everyone pursues them. Because they are oppressed, because they don’t have time, because they don’t believe in themselves. And it makes me sad, because I truly believe that you can’t be happy if you are not working towards something you want. Self-satisfaction is not selfish: it is important. It is key to be happy. Having our own needs met. Don’t forget about that. Before anything else, make yourself happy.
Another thing to take into account is that after reaching a goal, we always set a new one in an automatic way. Some of our goals will never be met while we are alive. Some of our goals will never be met even if we die. You can spend your whole like working towards something, and never having it. And that is not bad, if you enjoyed the journey. That’s why you need to make sure you are not suffering the whole way to meet your objective. There is always going to be pain in everything, but if there is a continuous pain, rather than a momentous bad situation, you need to change something. The journey is more important than the destination. The result doesn’t always justifies the method. Yes, you have to work hard to achieve things. But that doesn’t mean the hard work needs to make you feel miserable. In addition, in life nothing can be taken for granted. Don’t let time pass by: the sad truth is that you never know when your time will come, so it is better to do things as soon as possible. Life is short when we waste it but long when we spend it correctly.
Lastly, I would like to point out that your success won’t always be praised or rewarded. That’s why the number of awards and the level of praises don’t measure success. Neither do grades in school, nor medals in ceremonies A lot of people who do great things for humanity go unnoticed every year. Doctors, nurses, firefighters, activists, psychologists, teachers… People who have “average” and normal jobs, who save lives every minute, who work hard to fight for justice, who are in charge of educating the next generation. Those people win in life every single day. But you don’t see them in magazines and newspapers. They rarely receive awards as “woman/man of the year”. Though they are successful heroes who help their communities. Awards are nice: praises are nice. But just because you don’t get them, it doesn’t mean you haven’t done anything important.
On conclusion: you are the only one that can measure how successful you are. Don’t ever thing your aspirations are too small. Don’t ever thing your dreams are too big. As long as you worked hard and you are happy and satisfied with what you did, you are successful, my friend. It is not about money, fame or status, unless those are your goals of course. If you want to be a model, fine. If you want to be a doctor, fine. If you want to have kids, fine. If you want to travel the world, fine. Just keep in mind that the successful human is not the one that never fell: it is the one that never gave up. And be positive. Life isn’t perfect: the struggle is real. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t beautiful.
Reflecting a bit,
Emilie H. Featherington