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Resting Upon Words This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

Compliments can be meaningless; too often, they are but empty words on false lips. I don't need those sugarcoated words, telling me, "You did great!" when I know I had not, just to make me feel better about myself. I don't need it when someone says, "I like your shirt!" just to fill the awkward silence. Genuine, sincere compliments make me smile, but they aren't essential to my happiness. I don't need your approval, your validation, to love life.

Many times, people feel dependent on flattery to survive. I see girls who post beautiful pictures of themselves on Facebook followed and then complain they are hideous. To me, they would be beautiful if not for the fact that they are insecure. Compliments are just projections of others' opinions of you. Relying upon something as fragile, unstable, and ever-changing as an opinion proves unreliable. We are inherently programmed to seek acceptance, but the truth is, no one is accepted by everyone. Why are we predisposed to negate our own opinions and revere that of others? Your thoughts are important too. Even if the world rejects you, you can still choose to accept yourself. People's views of each other are subjective, as is your view of yourself. Why not see yourself in a more positive light?

There are moments where I feel incompetent, yes, but I have never identified myself as "the girl who couldn't make the track team" or "the girl whose writing isn't good enough to be published" or "the girl who doesn't draw as well as her friends" or "the girl who will never make it to MIT." I don't associate myself with what I have or have not achieved. Instead, I know myself as the girl who likes to run, the girl who likes to write, the girl to likes to draw, and the girl who wants to go to MIT. I want to make the track team, and to be published, and I will continually work toward those goals. I am not made up solely of my past, but also what may or may not be my future. I am the person I aspire to be.

Life isn't about finding yourself, what is there to be found? You are you are you are you. No one can replicate it, and absolutely no one should be allowed to destroy it. Look deeper and realize that you knew yourself all along, but have denied your own voice the right to give yourself validation. You are not dependent upon the words of others to find happiness. Shed those insecurities and what you perceived as your failures, because you can decide to be happy. You can decide that you didn't fail, because with each unsuccessful attempt, you gained wisdom. By creating your own joy, you also create your own identity. Stop associating yourself with those adjectives that society places upon you. Your self-worth shouldn't be so heavily influenced by compliments or criticism you did or did not receive. You aren't "ugly" or "pretty", "smart" or "dumb", you are who you choose to be. Life is about creating yourself.

I hate compliments. Not only because as we grew older, a word of flattery once said with love and sincerity became a mask for other intentions, but also because they are often lies told to and by people who crave happiness through unreliable means. True approval and happiness comes within. When did we all decide that our opinions were unimportant? As an acquaintance of mine once said, "When did we all decide to stop being happy?"




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