Unlike many kids, I freaking loved highschool.
Highschool for me was a time of fun and freedom, not to mention an overwhelming sense of love. My whole life growing up I was almost always in an ASB position so highschool was nothing different.
I went from Freshman Class President to Sophomore Class President to ASB Exec Assemblies Coordinator and then ASB Exec President. (I know right, inspirational speaker was in ASB?, Shocker!)
And there were many things that I love about being in ASB, but the one thing that I probably loved the most though could never admit, was the attention I got.
Whether true or not, it felt like everywhere I went everyone knew me and all eyes were on me. I was always accepted. I was always welcome and I was always loved. Even when someone didn’t like me, at least they knew who I was to decide that they didn’t like me!
To say that I thrived on the constant attention would be an understatement.
And I always did my best to keep my ego in check and my friends never failed to pull me down when my head got too high in the clouds, but regardless of what I did or what I thought, I know that deep down, I loved the attention.
But now, I am a 20 year old unprofessional professional business founder and public speaker. My life is drastically different than when I was in highschool and I do my best to not seek the attention like I used to. And to be honest, I think I do pretty well for myself, though it’s always hard when I am back in the town I grew up in; good ol Sumner, Washington.
Every holiday season I find myself back in the mix of it all. Seeing old friends, visiting old teachers and talking with hundreds of highschool students.
And no matter how much I work to fight it, I know that deep deep down, a part of me still leans back into craving that attention.
I want people to recognize me.
I want people to see me.
I want people to like me.
I guess I just want to know that I had an impact on the school and place that I grew up in.
And before I know it, I start acting like a highschooler again. I fall back into my old ways and old mindsets completely forgetting the growth and change that I have experienced throughout the years. I pride myself on continuing to learn each day, yet somehow I still jump back to old ways. I guess it’s a place of comfort.
The only problem is, my comfort is where I seek my value from other people.
Meaning I want people to know who I am in order to feel good. I want people to like me to know that I am worth something. I need people to recognize me to feel like I’m important in this world.
And I don’t think that I am the only person who thinks like this.
I also don’t think that any of these things are inherently bad either! It’s a positive thing to be appreciated by others and have outward validation that you are making a positive impact on those around you. I recognize that not everyone even gets that in their lifetime! No, I think the problem comes when we need these things to feel like we are valuable.
The problem is when we start seeking our own personal value from others and not ourselves.
In other words, I need you to like me in order for me to like me.
And before we know it, we start acting in ways that are unnatural in order to impress people. We start wearing clothes we hate to fit in. We start carrying ourselves in ways that are aimed at impressing others instead of loving others.
We become a show, rather than a positive influence. And I can’t help but think that sometimes, like a lot of people out there, my life becomes a show. A constant race to have people care about me and I end up forgetting to actually care about people.
So what do we do? How do we become happy with who we are even with no one watching?
I think it all starts with a mindset change… See I think our value has to come from ourselves before others.
OUR VALUE NEEDS TO BE COME FROM WHO WE ARE AND HOW WE TREAT PEOPLE, NOT HOW PEOPLE RESPOND TO US.
Forget how many followers you have. Focus on how many meaningful relationships you can create.
Forget who knows you when you walk into the room. Focus on how many people you can meet when you walk in.
Forget how interesting you are. Focus on being the most interested.
And I think soon our value will flip from being dictated by others to being generated from our own hearts. And what a beautiful stage of life to be in. A place where the only thing you need to be joyful and fulfilled is a good heart.
I for one, know I certainly wasn’t there in highschool and to this day I am still not there, whether I like it or not, a piece of my value still comes from who likes me. With consistent and constant reminders though, I know soon my love for myself might just come from me and not how others view me.
The only question left is, where will your value come from?