I Believe in Self-Actualization

Christina - Marietta, Georgia
Entered on December 18, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in self actualization, being all you can be. And by doing so, being happy with who you are no matter who agrees or what standards you may or may not meet. I believe in accepting yourself, and never holding back just to be accepted; or following the dreams others have crafted out for you because they believe they know what is best for you.

All little kids start out the same, they want to play, they want to fit in, they want to blend in; everyone is the same. This feeling of wanting to blend in and be the same usually lasts until high school; this is when people begin to break the mold. I believe in stepping out and not being afraid of what people will say about you. Up until last year I had lived my life through what people thought of me. I needed to do well in school because I knew it was what my parents wanted of me, I needed to dress a certain way so I wouldn’t get ostracized, I needed to act a certain way so people wouldn’t think I was weird.

By the time I turned 16, I realized I was living my life for other people and not for myself. This is not the life I had dreamed of myself having, that’s for certain. So I decided to show my peers who I really was, and by doing so, ultimately discovering myself. By changing the way I dressed, this helped me express myself through my clothing and hair so I was comfortable enough to eventually change the way I acted around new people. Up until this time I could have never approached someone I didn’t know and start a conversation, and this is something I now do on a daily basis with ease. It might seem immature to say that clothes can make such a difference, but imagine if you were presenting an image to people through your clothing you knew was a lie, you’d feel out of place and uncomfortable, and these feelings show through whether you think you’re letting them or not.

Go to high school, get good grades, graduate with honors, go to college, get a job, be successful. Sounds familiar? This is the journey most high school kids know they need to follow. Seems easy, but it’s not. This entire year I’ve been stressed out trying to figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life, what classes I need to take to get the grades for college, joining clubs just so it will look good for college, I think you get it. And I can confidently say these thoughts are running through almost every other junior’s mind. But, I’ve realized in just the past couple weeks this isn’t for me either.

I was having a conversation with my mom about the rest of my life, one I had had in the past and one I never looked forward to. All the answers were always I don’t know, you don’t understand, and I’ll figure it out later. But, this time she took a different approach, and by doing so, she helped me find out what I really want to do. And thanks to her, I now know that I want to be a hairdresser, and for this I don’t even need to go to college. This was a little of a shock, even to myself, because I’ve never imagined being the kid who doesn’t go to college. But, I can honestly say since I’ve discovered what I aspire to do the rest of my life, I’ve been the happiest I’ve been in a long time, even though it includes not going to college. I can actually envision myself staying happy because I know I’ll be doing something I love, and it really doesn’t bother me that many people will say I’m wasting my brains and I should be going to college, because I know this is who I am and what I need to do for myself.

There is no better feeling than being happy with yourself and accepting who you are whether that turned out to be the person you thought you were or not. I believe in self actualization, because as someone who was once lost and hated themselves, I’ve never been happier.