“Be Yourself, Like Everyone Else”

Note: This is going to be my 30th Blog so I wanted to do something special. I really was hoping to have a positive message for this entry but I (SPOILER ALERT) managed to end with a pessimistic message. I honestly, didn’t mean for it to happen but I didn’t know how else to put it. Hopefully we can strive to still be the best we can be and just work as hard as we can and all our dreams will come true. 

It was not until today that I learned that the quote, “You are absolutely unique, just like everyone else” was by Margaret Mead.

I realize now that I shouldn’t have said her name as if I was already familiar with Margaret Mead. Yes, THE Margaret Mead, the woman who did that thing a long time ago? How could I have been so oblivious??

The reason I mention that quote is because I found that quote in 11th grade when I was searching for funny quotes to cheer my friends up. Who knew that that specific quote would assist me in writing this entry.

I was watching “Louie”, the show written, starring, and directed by Louis C.K. in which the hilarious comedian plays a fictional version of himself, a few days ago and one episode in particular made me really think about something. Louie is in Cincinnati and he has to perform right after a comedian he doesn’t really like because their styles of comedy are very different. Louie tells observational humor, the other comedian kind of tells jokes that one would say when entertaining people at a party (but this other comedian gets more laughs than Louie unfortunately at this show) but this does not stop Louie from hating this comic because he thinks he’s (in his words) a hack and a “disgrace to the art form [that is Stand-Up Comedy]”. In response, this comedian shows his apathy to Louis’ comments by referring to the last few shows where he got more laughs than Louie despite Louie being more famous than him. Louie soon feels remorse for his comments and the other comic comforts him by essentially telling him that jokes are jokes, and that there should not be any pressure on comedians to do their job, as there is no right or wrong way to do Stand-Up than to make people laugh.

Louie: “You know, all the years. Just alone out here, and I just wanted to be good at it, it’s all I wanted, was to be really, really good and I- I don’t know what happened.” 

Hack Comic (Kenny): “You know what happened is you tried, to be good at it. See somebody put it in your head, ‘Oh, I gotta be a great Comedian.’…It’s Comedy…It’s about being funny and having fun and being outrageous.”

Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves in the things we do? Are we psychologically programmed to hate ourselves and expect more from ourselves? In some ways, it is good because we strive to keep getting better. But to be the best, is whenever we have problems.

We are taught at a very young age not to gloat about things we’re good at, because no matter how smart we are, strong we are, or cool we are, there is always someone better than us. And I’m not sure exactly what it is that has made us forget that in our adulthood, because we are still striving to be the best.

Perhaps it is the government we live in where our economics are based on Capitalism, the idea that everyone can sustain wealth, however if we’ve learned anything from American Psycho, it’s that we can’t allow anyone else to have something we have, let alone in a better condition.

You’ve got a fast car? I’ve got an even faster car?

Oh yeah? Mine has–“ Okay look, I don’t know much about cars but you get the point, alright? 

Maybe it’s not even Capitalism. It could also be due to Familial Pressures. This however, is two-sided. On one side, you have a child who is born to successful parents, and as a result, their parents want nothing but the best out of their offspring. Who knows? Maybe they’re not as talented in certain things that their parents were. This would explain why certain famous people have unbelievably depressed or outrageous kids. They simply can’t handle the pressure. On the other side, you’ve got a child who did not have a lot and therefore wants to make sure their family never has to struggle and therefore constantly pushing themselves in order to be the very best.

It doesn’t even have to be familial though, it could be Social Pressures in general too. Similar to Capitalism, we live in a society where masculinity is challenged time and time again and the higher level of success, aids in determining one in how masculine they are. This definition of Success, can vary. For some it can be whoever has the biggest muscles, is the most admired for “his success”. That is just one of the many examples of how success can be measured. But that example alone, can show how people will compete and swear up and down that they have the biggest muscles or are the strongest when in actuality, the whole reason for exercising in the first place is to just be healthy.

Looking back on my previous paragraph, I should recant my statement because women are just as bad at judging one another. I’m not gonna go into too many details but anyone whose seen Mean Girls, will testify to this argument.

That’s what I thought.

I’m guilty of putting pressure on myself as well for reasons I won’t go into here but it’s pointless to do so. I remember I met a man 4 years ago who was extremely wealthy and owned a White-Tailed Deer Ranch (I think that’s a big deal cause the guy was pretty freakin’ loaded, I don’t hunt so I wouldn’t know). And curiously, I asked how he was able to ascertain his success and wealth and he snapped at me and I won’t be quoting him exactly cause it was years ago but he said something along the lines of this: “What the hell makes you think I’m successful? Cause I got all this money? Shit, that don’t make a man successful. You stay in your own lane, you run your own race. ” He repeated that last sentence so many times and I didn’t get it until just recently.

We are constantly judged by others and even though we pretend to not care what others think, secretly we yearn for their approval and as a result, we may be able to look in the mirror and be proud of who we are. But, when others will tell us these troubles, we tell them to just be themselves and live their own lives. How can we not practice ourselves what we preach? Even Oscar Wilde said “Be Yourself, Everyone else is already taken”.

However, we look up to certain people and simply can’t help trying to be like them or even trying to be better than them so we can leave behind our own legacy. I’m not even sure how we can begin to stop putting so much pressure on ourselves. How to stop striving to be better than everyone else. In the meantime, we might as well keep telling each other to believe in ourselves and that we are capable of anything we set our mind to. Eventually we’ll all believe it anyway.

-Mr. Writer

Written on the 21st of August, 2016 at 10:05 P.M. 

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