Flipping The Switch


Photo Courtesy to Pixabay, photo credits to StockSnap

Humanity needs to be more focused on the progress we make, as opposed to the perfection that isn’t there (Photo Courtesy to Pixabay, photo credits to StockSnap).

As the New Year rolls in, resolutions are made in order to reform ourselves, accomplish goals, or do something that we never would have imagined doing. For a majority of the population, this includes weight loss, a health kick, or some other form of changing how we, or others, see ourselves. A large portion of this population attempts to accomplish these goals for themselves, and how they feel in their own skin; however, some of these people do it to improve their outward appearance in order to feel accepted by society. The question is why, and when do we begin to feel pressure from society to look and act a certain way?

“I honestly can’t remember when it happened. I haven’t really thought about it because it didn’t feel like anything had changed significantly,” said sophomore Ana Sallurday.

At a younger age, we can have a tantrum in the middle of a crowded grocery store and not think twice about what others think. However, at one point in our lives, we suddenly become extremely conscientious of our actions. What causes this switch? Outside elements are major contributors but are not the only things causing the change. Mental health, specifically social anxiety, plays a huge role in someone’s self consciousness. This can occur from genetics, an overactive amygdala, or a history of abuse, teasing, or bullying. This disorder usually shows signs around age thirteen, and cannot be helped, however, medication is available to ease the symptoms.

“It probably happened around twelve, or just sometime in middle school. I started maturing and realized that I needed to keep a good image,” said sophomore Corey Golec.

It is not what impacts us on the inside but the outside that affects the majority of the society. Opinions or criticism from parents, siblings, friends, and peers can have a significant influence on how we present ourselves, or how we act in public and in private. Advice or constructive, or not, shared between children and their parents could potentially stay with a child for the rest of their lives and it is extremely influential on further decisions. I, myself, can name a time when my mom was giving me advice in elementary school on an outfit, and I still remember it, all these years later. Advice from peers is the same way. We yearn for society’s acceptance and approval, giving in to what friends say about us is fairly easy, and the “advice” sticks with us, almost insuring us to not make the same decision again. It is because of this influence that, especially in middle school, a switch is flipped in our brains, causing us to overthink almost everything about how we present ourselves to the rest of the world.

“I was made fun of a lot because of my height, so I tried to focus on other things that took my mind off of it. I think this influenced how I thought about myself too,” said senior Will Arndt.

The question is why? Why do we buy into society’s opinion of us, if the only thing that truly matters is that we, and those closest to us, love us for who we are and what we stand for? If we did not listen to the garbage society is feeding us, the world would be a much more interesting, and less of a conforming place. Thus, leading to less people feeling like they are not good enough for the people and experiences in their lives. If we did not care about others’ views of us, we would be more focused on living instead of what we look like as we leave the house.

“We don’t want to stand out, except for good things. People want to be highlighted but not for something that would be considered bad by society. So buying into it will insure that we will be accepted,” said Arndt.