The Most Pitiful Thing
By Lucy Pham, July 13, 2018
About Trying To Gain Social Acceptance.
I have struggled with a neurotic personality for most of my life.
My insecurities and gaining social acceptance were always at the forefront of my mind. My middle school experience was riddled with attempts to please others, and episode after episode of inadequacies shaped my formative years.
In high school I simply accepted that there was no place for me in this world.
I believed closing myself off from everyone meant that I couldn’t be picked on for my existence, judged for my appearance, or forced to put on a façade. By the end of high school, I felt that I had finally accepted who I was, and I was proud of it.
Deep down, I knew all too well how untrue that all was.
Day after day, I was alive, but not living. I was trapped in my past and preoccupied by my future; I had forgotten to take advantage of my present, the only thing that was – is– truly concrete and mouldable.
I had surrendered to the routine of doing the bare minimum: whatever it took to get me to tomorrow, to feel relatively productive and conscious. And while I thought I was presenting the most authentic version of myself to the world (or had tricked myself into thinking so), I was indeed putting on a façade which consisted of an air of confidence, a strong foot in my values, and an easy-going attitude.
In my second semester of college, this façade came tumbling down.
I was stunned to find that I was in the same place I had been in middle school – if not worse. Never had I ever felt so desperate and anxious to gain acceptance prior to this moment. It was an out-of-body experience. I had suppressed my insecurities and emotions until finally, they were catching up.
I was forced to confront and reflect on my incessant need to feel accepted by people other than me, and as I did, I remembered the story of the pale blue dot.
If you have never heard Carl Sagan’s speech, he expands on the implications of an image taken by NASA which features the Earth as a pale blue dot.
Upon hearing this speech again, I was reminded of how insignificant, disposable, and delusional human life is. Scratch that – how insignificant, disposable, and delusional we are.
We are mere nothings on this pale blue dot floating in the vastness of space, something that is greater and beyond ourselves. Yet, everyday, we try so hard to gain the approval of others, which in the grand scheme of things won’t matter.
Gaining the acceptance of a peer who you will forget about in time won’t matter.
Trying to appear perfect and important has no purpose when you aren’t going to be remembered by most people tomorrow.
There is no one on this earth who truly, in the perspective of the entire universe, matters more or less than you do.
Therefore, the most pitiful thing about attempting to gain social acceptance is when you, a Nothing, are trying to gain acceptance from those who are just as small and as unimportant as you are.
You have the rest of your life ahead of you. Instead of expending energy on gaining the approval of those who don’t care about your most genuine self, choose to live freely and unapologetically.
It might just be what finally makes you happy.