Friday, March 30, 2012

On admiration.

We all have someone we admire. Perhaps it is for their work ethic, or their confidence, or their superb sense of style, or their success... or perhaps just their happiness. Admiration is, I think, a healthy motivation to keep moving forward, but it can also be terribly counterproductive and even unhealthy.

As I said, admiration is healthy -- obsession and idolization are not. Often, when we discover someone to admire, we set them up on a pedestal. It seems they have no faults or flaws, that they never hit obstacles, and that they could not ever be anything but fabulous, all the time. This, of course, is utterly untrue. Even those people who seem like they really have their lives together stumble sometimes. For example, one of my favorite bloggers, a photographer with impeccable fashion and a great sense of humour, who always seems to be living a perfect life, recently posted about how her severe anxiety is turning her life upside down.

It's more than heartening to know that all of these "perfect" people I so admire have issues exactly like mine. But without that post, I would never have known -- in this way, the internet can be wholly misleading. Admiring someone you don't know in real life, such as a celebrity or blogger, is often a set-up for unrealistic expectations. If you knew someone in person, you would see them with less-than-perfect hair, or under stress, or failing to meet a goal. But if you don't, you're only seeing the little bits of them they've hand-selected for you and broadcasted. In this way, millions of people are mislead into thinking they are "not creative enough" or "not smart enough" or "not rich enough" or "not pretty enough" or "not happy enough" to be as successful as their role models.

Tied in with these feelings of irrelevancy, many people will try to be "creative enough" or "pretty enough" or "happy enough" by copying exactly what their role model does. This is where we get trends, and trends get boring fast. Not only will you not have success copying others, it hinders your own creative spirit and overall self-esteem. You are your own person, unique to everyone else, and although we all may share certain things in common, what makes you precisely happy, your niche in life, is different from everyone around you. It's up to you to take inspiration, figure a few things out and rush full steam ahead into your dreams.

Did you hear that? Your dreams. Not anyone else's. Yours. If you follow them, some day you'll become someone to admire, if you aren't already! There are plenty of "practical" people who will sneer at those who blindly follow their passion and intuition until they find happiness. And sure, your dreams may not be completely clear. They probably won't be easy to reach, either. But if you are committed, and are truly carving out your own path in the tangled jungle of life, you will succeed.

It's a wonderful thing, to have figures in your life you can look up to and aspire to be like. But think carefully on that: aspire to be like them. Not to be them. Everyone is flawed, everyone has bad days, and everyone successful had to climb a long ladder to get to where they are. So take inspiration and set some goals, but remember: as fantastic as it may seem to be someone else, there is no one more rewarding to be than you.

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