The heading of this post is intended as food for thought, not a factual statement.
As children we strive for popularity, we are desperate to be well liked & be part of the ‘in’ crowd. For many of us it leads to feelings of inadequacy, as we fail miserably. We may well have friends, but for some reason we don’t quite match up to the ‘cool kids’. If we are lucky, we are accepted into the group, but are left trailing behind the popular leaders, never quite good enough to make the transition to becoming one of the central hub. For many this is the reality of growing up, some don’t even make it to the outer edge of the group, left alone & isolated, their childhood is marked with the overwhelming feeling of being a failure.
The journey into adulthood passes through many differing stages, all marked with their own issues. Teenagers generally adopt a pack tendency, with everyone striving to find their place in the world, hence the individual & often bizarre fashion statements. This in between stage is all about attempting to find out who you are.
Parenthood, especially the early stages can be extremely fulfilling, but can also turn into a comparison battle, with those annoyingly pushy parents who insist on flouting their childs’ genius or beauty. The majority of us, with our own cute, yet noisy, messy & let’s face it – normal children, are frequently left to question whether we’ve done our best for our offspring. Once again that familiar feeling of inadequacy.
Later years, with battles for promotion at work & the cut throat fight to climb the ladder of success can, once again cause us to question our worth. Neighbours & friends seem to have more income, better homes, faster cars, fancier holidays & often, more harmonious lives. All in all, life can feel like fighting a losing battle. We accept that we’re never going to be one of the ‘special ‘ people, we are just Mr or Mrs ordinary, plodding through life, just tying to get by. Of course this is just a generalisation, there are those who sail through life, seemingly successful in all that they attempt, but they are definitely in the minority.
This brings me to the subject for today – popularity. Throughout life we tend to go in & out of favour, but on the whole, the most confident ‘golden people’ will always be safely installed at the forefront of society, while the remainder spend a lot of time & heartache trying to reach those heady heights. Where on the popularity ladder are you? Let’s be honest, does it really matter?
What makes a person popular? Sense of humour? Kindness? Appearance? Money? Maybe a bit of all of these, but these attributes are only skin deep. Someone who is central to a group could be considered popular, but move them to a different location, where they are forced to begin again, it is unlikely that they will establish themselves so easily. This would force them to begin on the lower rungs of the popularity ladder & attempt the hard climb upwards.
The entire subject has no hard & fast rules, all we can do is try to find our way through the maze of life, hoping that we are accepted at some point.
Following a recent conversation, it made me think about the importance of popularity. Within my own life I have flowed in & out of popularity, although it has to be said that I have mainly been an ‘also – ran’, a nice enough, friendly person, but never on the top of the invite list. In my present stage of life, I know a lot of people & am comparatively well known in the area. It could be said that I am popular because I am the ‘go to’ person, the one to call on when a volunteer is needed, but then again I have only a small selection of very close friends & am distinctly disliked by some members of society. So am I popular? No, probably not. So where do you draw the line? Is popularity about being liked by everybody? Celebrities are popular, yet apparently many of them suffer crippling depression & the happy, confident face is no more than a public mask. Robin Williams was a perfect example of this. He was much loved, always cheerful, you would imagine him to be fun to be around, yet his life was wracked with self loathing & feelings of inadequacy. He was certainly popular, yet so, so sad. So maybe that is the key – there is no real answer, it’s all subjective.
I believe if we were all able to forget about striving to be popular & instead concentrated on learning to be the kind of person that we would look for in a good friend, the world would be a lot less stressful. None of us is perfect, to some extent we all wear a mask at times, attempting to cover up our characteristic blemishes. We all have aspects of ourselves that we aren’t proud of. We all sometimes say or do things that we regret. In other words – we are all human!
If we stop worrying about what anyone else thinks & work at bringing out the best in ourselves, then the whole issue of popularity becomes unimportant. With a kind, genuine personality, friends will be drawn to you. Be spiritually generous, compassionate & caring, consider the feelings of others, while looking after your inner frailties, be honest & thoughtful. Smile often. Offer unconditional love to the world, yet treat yourself with respect & consideration. Be yourself, ensuring that the real you is a genuinely worthwhile person. If you achieve all of this, or at least make big inroads, you may not be number 1 on the popularity lists, but you will have something less fickle, you will be someone that many enjoy in their company. You will bring joy into other lives. That is worth so much more !
Until next time, stay happy,
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