Existential existentialism – the proof we are ourselves

By Alex Paul Atup. Alex, 16, is a student at New Era University, General Santos City, Philippines. Please read his article and leave your thoughts and comments below.

Weak. Powerless. Fool.

You are you.

Ever since humans existed, everyone always varied in opinion when it comes to their social views. Some may be positive, in which they readily accept others, while some may be negative, in which they reject someone who doesn’t match the opinions they have. That’s completely normal. People have different personalities. Their attitudes and viewpoints aren’t the same with the other, making them differ.

Stop. You don’t have the ability to.

When you are on your way up, many things hinder your advancement. We live with the influence of other people – our parents, friends, and superiors. When people meet a new person, they often talk about their first impressions about them. In other words, they are already forming a judgement of you, assuming you are the person you seemed when you met.

That is true, especially in education.

My opinion? You aren’t cool, so why befriend us? I get it now. Come skip class with us and you can join.

Hearing about peer pressure brings a nauseous feeling on me. Usually, many of those “peers”, especially teenage ones don’t have direction of living their lives. You think that you should be like them, concerning their influence to other people. However, they are people that you should never hang out with, possibly to give care about. What then happens to them? Usually, they lead to the wrong path, becoming useless in society. But note that not all peers are bad. There are good ones, inviting you to make you succeed, most likely in education.

Even various famous people today had to go through some kind of persecution. One of them is Apple’s very own Steve Jobs. He once said “do not let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.­­­ And more important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition”.

This statement is truly one of the things that you must believe – even if it seems hard, or even impossible. Again, judgements and opinions may be positive and negative, and it’s hard to stop its influence once it gets going. People should be wary about their surroundings. For example, if you have been mistaken for a bad person, that impression will always stay, and sometimes it will become gossip and you will be the talk of the town. You won’t want that. That is why sometimes, you need to watch out, because others’ opinions can really ruin you.

All of us want to succeed. All of us are hopeful that one day, we can be the person that we aspire to be. To do that, we strive and do our best. Some of us believe in fate. Because of that, we find meaning in our existence. Why settle for others’ opinion about yourself, when you are you?

Why are you trying to do that, you’re weak. Why?

You get criticized for many things – depending on what you do. If they liked it, you get positive judgments, but if you did something wrong, you get negative judgments instead. There are many types of judgement. What else? Underestimation. There are many people who think that you cannot do something, for they think that they are better than you. That also contributes to their opinions. However, you can prove them wrong. You can do it, and because you can, you can become successful. You may have the best goals. But people are naturally imbued with jealousy. Some people won’t want you getting higher than them. And the results? Negative opinions, mostly from those kind of people, and sometimes, to yourself. Many people gave up because of the pressure created by it.

Did you hear about him? Me too! He’s stupid and uncool, right? He should just go somewhere else. Just the thought of him makes me irritated.

I sometimes think: Why would they have the time to criticize me when they can use that time to make themselves more productive? I think that is because of human nature. Does other people really exist just to bring you down? There are people that is like that, but think again. There are your friends and family who support you, yet there are also opponents who rival you. Their opinions are different; thus, there are many variations. Life is strange, isn’t it?

They say that people are equal. Correct, but you can’t see this in modern society. Equality? I think not. Opinions and judgments depend on status, religion, wealth, physical appearance, and even race. Those opinions matter. You won’t want them to be negative. However, who can stop this? It’s human nature to judge each other. And those judgements often rooted to racism, apartheid, and slavery in the past. Now, there are laws about it – human rights. However, in a much smaller scale, like in modern times, those judgements affect the life of many people.

Those are just some of the reasons why you have your own inner voice – a will that mustn’t be weak. You mustn’t be daunted so easily. Your will should be what lets you know that you can do it, because you can! Don’t let their opinions destroy you. Some people have done unimaginable things because they didn’t let others’ opinions get the better of them. Don’t you agree? If they can do it, why can’t you?

And not all judgements are hostile; some of them can guide you, inspiring your success. If you have the necessary knowledge to differentiate the positive and the negative, you can easily succeed in life. If you can judge whether one thing is helpful or not, you can win. But life is difficult without the support of others. Jobs’ statement doesn’t mean that you should ignore all opinions, but rather in my opinion, choose what’s advantageous for you and what’s not. You choose how your existence will bear fruit. You exist in this world full of varying opinions, and that existence is the greatest gift you have been given – if you use it wisely enough.

That’s easier said than done. Do you really think you can do something like that, not minding our opinions?

True. But why complain? You cannot get anything done without trying. Many things that you encounter in life is hard and everything needs to be committed time. That includes ambitions, so that they can be attained. So even if Jobs’ quote might seem impossible to follow, considering the people around you, don’t fret. It may seem impossible, but if you try, it isn’t.

Be yourself. Not being true to yourself is the worst. Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, for if the path you take is right, then you are going to be successful. Who cares if you get rejected from their ‘society’? That means a better one is waiting for you! If you get successful being yourself, not depending on the opinions of others, rest assured that you are doing a really good job! The best thing to do, is persuade yourself to follow Jobs’ example. You are you, and they are they. However, do not forget the people that helped you on your way. That will give you satisfaction and you can surely say: “I have done it!”

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