Sunday, April 24, 2011

Guest Post: Desperately Seeking Validation by Eric Buckner

Lonely in crowd
"Lonely in Crowd" by Camillia Greve

What exactly is the deal with everyone seeking everyone else's approval lately? Why does it seem that I'm left out of the loop with this trend? Is it because I'm getting older? As I look around me, many of those that care the most are at least a decade my elder, so no, that's not the answer. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't want you to think that I'm out for no good. Truth be told though, I don't really NEED your approval. If you don't like me for who I am, then you can just kiss me where the good Lord split me. This doesn't mean that I will try to hurt you or anyone else. If you respect me for who I am, "great" I say, but I'm not going to go out of my way to try to make anyone like me for something I'm not.

Being comfortable in oneself is an acquired ability. It is either something that you can develop on your own or its something that can be pressured onto you from others. My apathy was formed by the latter of these two. I was not popular in Elementary school, not really having many friends. I had a horrible self-image and who wants to be around a kid like that? Who wants their child to be around a kid like that? I had a chemical imbalance at this age and I was a true odd ball as far as other kids were concerned. I always had one foot in the fantasy world and one tenuous foot within the realm of reality.

Middle school was even worse for me. I was enrolled into an even larger school, with kids that I hadn't ever met before. They either didn't know about my imbalance or they ridiculed me for the problem. Every day was a constant session in harassment. I became one of the misfits; why not, they didn't have self-esteem either. Its tough to find a bond with someone that doesn't have good self-esteem, not impossible, of course, just tough.

When High school moved around, our family, by the grace of God, moved out to a different school system. This high school had a fifth of the amount of students in its halls. I didn't have a reputation of being an outcast, so I tried to fit in and it felt good, for a little while, about a month or two. Suddenly, I was asking myself, is it worth it to seek their validation? What exactly is in it for me? Their kinship with me just felt superficial, I was a teenager, that's what I had in common with them. I couldn't live the way I wanted and I was unhappy. I had to live all the time in reality and that was confining to me. So I gave up trying to fit in, I was unhappy in trying to be somebody that I'm not. Even if I was only trying a little bit to be someone they wanted, I felt horrible, a fake, a phony.

William Shakespeare said it best, "To thine own self be true", because if you spend your life trying to make everyone else happy, where will you ever find time for yourself? Our lives are only a mere hundred years long, if we're lucky, why do we care about those that don't really care about us? To be honest, there is only one person in this world that I really care about how she feels about me and that's my wife, I have to sleep with her. I love her with all my heart and I know that she cares about me. Everybody else in this world is just one gigantic question mark. I'm sure if I had children, I would care about what they thought of me, but nobody else. I love my family and I love her family, but if someone from either family didn't love me back, it wouldn't kill me. This makes me free from judgment, I just don't care. I don't care if others see me as "a good person" because truth be told, I'm human, just like everybody else.

It is this apathy, this pure absence of caring that I believe makes me either a lovable, a respectful, and/or just a flat out happier person. You must set your priorities straight. Please, for your own good, ask yourselves the following questions. If you want, don't even discuss them, just meditate on them.

Who is it that you TRULY want to respect you?

Can you respect yourself for who you are?

Have you lost contact (or just social intimacy) with those that you honestly NEED their respect?

With Christian Love,

Eric Buckner

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