Beyond (Self-doubting) Borders

The other day, I thought of the potential of our society without judgmental restrictions. See, the issue here is we currently live in a society in which we second guess ourselves and everything we do, whether it’s what we wear to work, what we wear for a dinner party, how we present ourselves in class, or how we express our values and opinions, and so much more. There isn’t a day that goes by without us doubting at least one thing that we do. Perhaps the reason we do so is because of our instinctive fear of being judged and ridiculed, and our own need for approval and praise from others around us. Perhaps the fact that the world is rapidly evolving and becoming increasingly competitive fuels completely reasonable fear that if we make a mistake, we are behind in this universal competition – that no one agreed to – to come out top. Perhaps the unattainable body image that social media (films, adverts, magazines, Victoria Secret models, David Beckham) establishes of a successful and attractive person further generates a societal pressure to be someone who doesn’t exist. Clarification: VS models and David Beckham all have people who make that look incredible, the images published in magazines are photoshopped even though they don’t need to be. We only see the side of them that they allow the public to see. As a result, we restrict ourselves, create our own borders and unattainable goals, and conform.

However, imagine a world where we feel comfortable in sharing our views and expressing ourselves regardless of the situation and circumstance without, for instance, sexist and racist remarks of others infringing on our abilities to express ourselves.  It does seem insurmountable, and maybe we will never reach that stage because of the way we’ve been brought up or the competitiveness indoctrinated into students, but I think it’s worth trying. I’d like to propose three solutions for this:

  1. We have to realise, and help others realise, that each individual is entitled to their own views, opinions, and forms of expression. We must remind ourselves that sometimes other people’s opinions and forms of expressions (such as music, art, fashion) don’t align with ours, and we shouldn’t put them down for being different. We must embrace diversity and realise that if we come across someone who has a different opinion to ours, we’d like them to treat us with respect and empathy and therefore we should do the same. We mustn’t degrade or devalue a certain person’s expression because of their race, sex, upbringing, education, or lack thereof, and it’s worth noting that we do tend to forget that. We must battle against the prejudices that have existed in the past and continue to exist today. Respect is important.
  2. It’s easy to say that everyone is entitled to expressing themselves in a way that is ‘outside the box’, but it’s also important to note that ‘everyone’ includes ‘ourselves’. We must try to be confident in our forms of expressions because we are important and our individuality will help us succeed in this increasingly competitive world. We mustn’t let current confinements of today’s society affect how we should act, what music we should like, what career we should thrive for, determine the way we express ourselves and our world views. It’s also important to find the courage within ourselves to express ourselves because not only will we continue to thrive with this courage, confidence is contagious and more people will be more comfortable in expressing their own views.
  3. Love yourself. Yes, that’s been repeated countless times on every single form of social media that aims to boost self-confidence, but it is true. It’s important to remember that we are all different. Our genes are different, our body shapes are different, our personalities are different. It is impossible to look and act exactly like that one girl or guy that you’ve been tremendously jealous of. However, the message I am attempting to deliver here is crucial: we must learn to treat ourselves kindly; we must teach ourselves to eat healthily (and not starve ourselves or eat carelessly because both equate to mistreating our bodies), shower ourselves with compliments, allow each and every one of us to be proud of who we are. It’s important to acknowledge our differences and accept them.

This is how we will grow as a society.

Written By: Mint Kovavisarach

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