Figuring out identity despite societal norms

Being who you are, living life true to yourself, discovering what’s right for you. These are all really important things. Hey, we’re all hormonal teenagers that are coming of age, right? And we’re all trying to gradually figure out life and have no idea what we’re doing, right? “Hey. Maybe I could write something about creating yourself and growing up since I write for a high school filled with adolescents like me.”, I thought to myself. So here I am, providing the insight I’ve gathered after pondering the development of self-identity for months; I’m not an expert, by any means.

A huge part of growing up, at least for me, has been creating myself and figuring out what I want from life. How do I want to live my life? What do I want to do with my life? Who am I? What do I believe in? It’s also been a whole ton of analysis, some of it probably highly unnecessary; trying to understand the inherent realities of life and what life even is.

My biggest philosophy in terms of this topic is to stay true to who you are. I know that sounds very common and widely known, but I have more to say about this. Who are you innately? Dig deep and understand yourself fully. It’s extremely important to do this in order to live your most authentic life. I feel that society sometimes really stands in our way. With the rise of social media, societal norms and standards are even more prominent in our daily lives. The norms of this world can blur our perceptions of who we are and what we truly want. I say life is a blank canvas. It can be lived however you choose, as there are an infinite number of ways to pursue life. But we often choose the way of life that society promotes. This is your life and it’s precious. I want you to ask yourself, is the way you’re living life right now 100% true to yourself? I’ve realized that many of us are focused on trying to live the “ideal” American life. The cliché “perfect” life portrayed on social media. The glowy, painted picture of what “the best” type of life is. And we fall for it because we’re so heavily exposed to it. But why are we chasing after that life? Is it because we truly want that life or because it’s the stereotypically glorious life? Maybe that is what you want and that’s completely great; I’m not bashing that. I’m just saying, why are you doing the things you do? Why are you living the way you are? Is it because it’s what you internally love, or what some external source has pinned on you? Although, I totally understand that we don’t all have the means to live whatever life we want right now as high schoolers, including me. I mean this for your future goals and dream life. I’m a huge advocate of not letting social constructs influence you if you don’t want them to. You have that power within you.

Again, society is the biggest thing, in my opinion, that’s preventing us from living life how we inherently want to. It’s human nature for us to be swayed by constructs. I understand. But this is a matter of living your life to the fullest. Is the ideal life that American society is feeding you really true to who you are? Just a simple question to ask yourself.

If you lived in a vacuum, free of any social/societal influence, who would you be and how would you live your life? My ultimate goal is to strive for what that is for me. That intrinsic identity and those intrinsic wants. I believe the emphasis on individualism is one of the things the western world got right, not that we shouldn’t have a healthy dose of collectivism as well.

I’m just saying, life is way too short and fleeting to not be living a life that you wholeheartedly love. This life experience is yours after all. The only one benefiting from your life is you. You’re the only one living your life. It’s all yours, and the route to pure contentment is living your idea of an ideal life. It’s how life will feel sincere.

Over the weekend I watched a movie called “The Space Between Us” on Netflix. In short, it was about a boy who grew up on Mars and traveled to Earth for the first time in his life. On Mars, he was socially isolated; exposed to barely anything. Upon coming to Earth, he had no knowledge of social standards and whatnot, he was just himself. Not conditioned by the ways of this world. He asked strangers profound questions and danced in the rain and didn’t filter himself and just lived his way. I know it’s challenging, but the best thing you can do for yourself is to break away from anything that’s limiting you, be it physical or abstract. Additionally, I was flipping through Time Magazine and came across a blurb about a book called “Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential” by Deepak Chopra. Chopra “advises readers to ‘go beyond’ human constructs and connect with their innate beings. He calls this becoming ‘metahuman’ and says it’s necessary for creating a better world. ‘When people start a journey of self-inquiry, it immediately leads to deeper insight.'”