As things come, they will go. No use basing your self-worth around external factors like popularity and the opinions of others. What is popular today probably will not be as popular to as many people tomorrow. What wasn’t popular yesterday could become popular today. Opinions change. People change. The opinion of yourself is probably the only constant. Is there a way to retain your self-confidence even when it seems like no one else wants you?
I have it easy now. I wasn’t popular at all growing up.
Sure, I had “friends.” They were just often rude to me and manipulative. I grew up socially isolated with undiagnosed situational depression. That didn’t help. I escaped into videogames to forget the pressures of school and socializing. Now that I have friends that legitimately care about me, have mostly figured out how to overcome my low spots, and have most importantly learned to respect myself despite my impossibly attainable work standards, popularity doesn’t interest me.
What would popularity give me?
Would popularity give me an easier life where I could wake up when I want, do what I want, and be who I want? I think that might actually be the exact opposite of popularity. I’m not interested enough in the new Star Wars movie right now to ride that zeitgeist. Even if my writing content featured movies to any degree, I’d have to watch the new movie, and give a fairly innocuous review matching up well with my peers and the consensus, unless I wanted to stand out too much.
What if I built my popularity around doing what I want?
That’s more ideal. Even if it means defending myself constantly, either in trivial ways like ignoring the thoughts of others, or making retorts to the commentary of others. As I’ve learned over the years: when you’re not on your own side in those situations, you’re in for serious trouble. That’s where the mattress in the photograph above, a smiley face covering any branding, comes in. The mattress was once an important object before being discarded distastefully.
The smiley is intentional. That inanimate mattress could still be happy.
You can still be happy when your world is crumbling. Those are just external factors. The trick to retaining your self-confidence is two-fold: you must remind yourself of your motivations and you must keep your inner resolve. Let’s say you’re this mattress and your motivation is getting out of this situation and your resolve summons you to figure out a way to execute your motivation. It will take time and effort. Eventually, through persistence, it could happen.
Especially when you ignore external factors.
Why are the opinions of others so valuable? Is it because we hold the opinions of others in higher regard than our own opinions? Should we really consider our popularity in our creative or professional pursuits as even a slight basis of our self-worth? Doesn’t popularity win and wane?
If you’re doing good work, in your opinion, that’s all that matters.