For most of our high school experience, we spend so much time trying to be validated by others that we forget how important it is to maintain our individuality, which gives us the chance to develop the confidence to stand out.
For many of us, being validated has been a process where we have sought the approval of others in order to feel self-worth. Some of us count how many “friends” and “likes” we have on social media or measure our worth by how many treats are delivered to us in class. In reality, there is no numerical value to measure self-worth; the only important thing we must constantly monitor is valuing ourselves as people and individuals.
When we lose sight of who we are, peer pressure and “herd mentality” become overwhelmingly easy to succumb to. In an attempt to feel valued, many sacrifice integrity to achieve success, resorting to lying and cheating. The recent lying scandal of News anchor Brian Williams, where he told incorrect information in a story he covered years ago, was an attempt to gain glory for himself and impress both his audience and his journalistic peers.
Going against “herd” or “mob” mentality, in which we become influenced by peers to adopt certain behaviors or beliefs simply because “everyone” is doing it, can cause us problems. We must start by recognizing the value of our own thoughts and ideas. By having confidence in ourselves, we will become stronger, because we are held accountable for our actions.
With many of us approaching adulthood, we must understand the consequences of losing our individuality and giving in to the pressures of others. Not only do we become reliant on others for recognition and acceptance, but credibility and respect, the two crucial qualities needed for any job, are lost and instead replaced with untrustworthiness and unreliability.
As we near the middle of the third quarter, we should all take some time for personal reflection. Keeping in touch with our inner selves and individuality is what will allow us to develop the confidence needed to succeed.