In my psychology class we just finished discussing a unit on motivation. Of course, we spent time discussing Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, but specifically we looked at the need for belonging. In simple terms, this includes the need to feel loved and have positive relationships in our lives. That makes sense, right? Obviously humans need the love of friends and a group to which they belong. This whole idea is very real and tangible in my life at the moment, so I decided to share my thoughts with you.
If you’ve been following my blog for very long you probably have gathered that I’m not the most outgoing or sociable person; I very much prefer to keep to myself most of the time. Now don’t get me wrong. I have a few close friends, and without them I would be even more of a mess than I already am! They mean the world to me, even the ones with whom I’m just beginning a friendship. In other words, I understand this “need for belonging”. What I’m writing about here is when this need becomes an obsession.
Although I cherish my alone time and feel awkward in most social settings, I have an (at times) insatiable desire to feel wanted. It’s not that my friends don’t show me enough love and support, because they never let me down. It’s when someone I’m not already close to catches my eye that problems ensue. Have you ever met someone, or maybe only made eye contact a few times and you automatically thought, “That person has to be my friend. I have to get to know them because somehow I know we’re meant to be best friends”? It’s like going back to 6th grade when everyone had those tiny vacillating crushes on each other. Except this time, I can’t change my mind. Something about this person overwhelmed me and now my mind can not seem to let the issue go.
The problem here, in case it isn’t obvious, is that the person doesn’t always have the clarity of prophecy that you do, and they’re not always willing to jump right into a friendship. Maybe the two of you are in that weird situation where you’ve known each other from afar for some time now, but you’ve never had a decent conversation, so of course it would be strange to start now. Or it could be that you just met each other, and she’s not quite as friendly as you, or he isn’t ready to go for it yet. Best friends take time to form, right? It can be difficult to accept this if the desire to feel wanted by this person takes over your every thought.
For me, it’s not always that I’m so fascinated by this person, but more that I feel a strong need to be wanted by them. You know that feeling, right? Sometimes I get to the point where I feel as though I’d do anything if it meant that I’d earn their approval, that they’d want to include me. (I would never actually be like that though. I’m not insane.) Usually when this happens, the other person is “cooler” than me to some degree. We all know I can be very awkward, so it’s a satisfying feeling to be included by someone who would normally look right over you.
My question is, why do we get these feelings? Why such a severe need for belonging? Is it because we want to fit in with the so-called popular people? And is it okay to have such a strong desire to be wanted? From what I gathered in Psychology, it’s natural. In my opinion, as long as you don’t let your emotions get the better of you and your decision making, everything should be fine in the end. I’ve asked my friends for advice, and I always end up hearing something along the lines of, “You just have to let it go eventually. Especially if you can tell it won’t work out”. Maybe they’re right. I can’t help but be ever hopeful though. After all, I just want another good friend. Is that too much to ask? 🙂
Everyone knows the 22nd Winter Olympics is going on right now. In Russia. Where it’s freezing cold. Not my idea of a super fun time. I mean, it would be an experience of a lifetime to get to watch (or participate in!) the Olympic games in person. I simply feel that contracting hypothermia while doing so would make the whole ordeal not quite worth it. So I’m perfectly content with watching my favorite events, a.k.a. whatever NBC happens to be showing at the time, from the TV in my living-room. I guess that’s what being from the South does to you.
Obviously I’m not some hardcore “I-have-to-watch-every-event-and-cheer-on-my-favorite-athletes-GO-USA!” fan of the Olympics. I thoroughly enjoy watching the opening ceremony and deciding which countries’ outfits are my favorites. After that’s done, and I tire of hearing the announcer call out “Russia!” “The United States of America!” “Norway!” etc. in that iconic voice of hers, I wait until I get to watch my absolute favorite event: Figure Skating. Sure, every event is interesting (with the exception of maybe curling), but this one always manages to capture and maintain my attention more than the rest.
Figure Skating is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful and sophisticated activities a person can learn to do. A close friend of mine from middle school is a figure skater, an exceptionally talented one at that. I remember she would attend practice before school several days a week, and whenever we had free time during gym class she would attempt to teach me some of her moves. This girl was dedicated. It takes a lot of strength, agility, focus, and gracefulness to do what she and so many others around the world do so well.
Now, I’ve only been ice skating a handful of times in my life, so I am certainly not an expert on the subject. Not even close. But when I sat down to watch the women’s free skate a few days ago, I knew I was about to see some amazing talent. And I wasn’t disappointed. Everything from the stunning costume, to the fluid and perfectly timed movements, to the beautiful accompanying music, it was all perfect. The judges didn’t always think so, but I wanted to run out and give every one of them a gold medal simply for sharing such talent. Especially the ones who fell – I think they deserve a medal just for getting back up and continuing. I’m pretty sure I would stay there on the ice until I mustered up enough courage to crawl away and hide for the rest of my life. I don’t handle embarrassing moments well.
Anyways, hopefully you have heard that the girl who won gold was none other than 15-year-old Yulia Lipnitskaya of Russia. She unquestionably blew me away with her performance set to John Williams’ Schindler’s List. Her score of 141.51 (combined total: 214.41) is astonishing. Not only is she Russia’s youngest Winter Olympic gold medalist, she is the world’s youngest gold medalist in figure skating history! That’s amazing! Her performance left me and countless others speechless. The thing that took me most by surprise was the fact that she simply did not seem nervous or anxious from the moment she stepped out on ice to the moment she finished. Yulia was focused and at the end you could see the joy bright upon her face as she received a standing ovation.
Yulia Lipnitskaya is no doubt my hero. Her program was undoubtly one of the best in history, and yet she still wants to improve: not because others told her she needed to, but because she wants to do what she knows is her best. She didn’t let the circumstances of being in a huge stadium at the world’s most prestigious competition cause her any anxiety; she went for it and performed splendidly. I learned a few great lessons from this:
- Work hard at what you love so you can reach your highest potential.
- Even if you are young, you can be an inspiration to others.
- Don’t let others opinions or your circumstances determine who you are.
I trust that you’ve enjoyed reading my take on the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Hopefully you’ll get a chance to see Yulia perform! Until then though, stay warm, watch all of the other amazing athletes do their thing, and remember to stay positive. If you have a favorite athlete or event that I should watch, let me know in the comments!
“And when we meet, which I’m sure we will, all that was there will be there still. I’ll let it pass, and hold my tongue, and you will think that I’ve moved on.”
I heard Dido’s song White Flag recently, one I hadn’t heard in quite a long time. Sometimes lyrics jump out at me, taking me by surprise with how much of an intense impact they have on me. I never cease to be amazed at how some words, when put to music, can describe my emotions so perfectly yet without warning. There isn’t anything particularly special about these, but the poignant, plaintive feeling that consumes me when I heard these words was at the least overwhelming; I felt the need to share them with you. Maybe you aren’t experiencing this situation currently, but at some point you have (or will), and hopefully you will understand.
Have you ever been in a tough situation, and you didn’t know how to respond? Maybe that person you strongly dislike is asking to spend some time with you, and you have no real reason not to say yes, except for the fact that you genuinely hate the very idea of being with him or her. We’ve all been there. “Oh I’m really sorry, but I can’t today. I’ve been super busy and still have a lot to do.” LIAR! You were probably sitting on the couch watching TV when you said that. I’ve done it though, numerous times. I like to call it “giving an excuse” rather than “lying” because, well, the former just sounds better. (They’re the exact same thing though and we all know it).
There are all kinds of things we make up excuses for: turning in a paper late, coming into school/work late, not having a chore finished…and so on. We lie about how well someone sounded when they sang or played an instrument, how much we love the video they just showed us, how good they look in that outfit, how we actually feel at the moment, you name it.
Sometimes we lie so that we can do something, instead of in an attempt to get out of it. I had a friend who, on two separate occasions, lied about who I was so that he could hang out with me. We had a whole plan and everything if something went wrong. Now if that’s not dedication I don’t know what it is!
So why all these lies? I don’t like to hurt people’s feelings, nor do I enjoy getting into trouble. Obviously the way to avoid both of these predicaments is to lie! Duh!
Or maybe not. Sometimes I lie and it’s no big deal, so I don’t worry about it. No one gets hurt. Other times the lies just get deeper and more complicated until finally it has to stop. My point here is, try to avoid lying if you can. And if you can’t, think again. Then if you truly can’t avoid it, at least make it a small one. If it turns out to be a mistake, learn from it, and don’t use the same excuse twice. That can create some seriously awkward moments, and trust me, I know how that goes. 😉