Monday, November 24, 2008

Something to Prove

I've decided that part of why giving up Starbucks was so successful was because I wanted to show that I could do it. I realize that this is ironic because transcendentalism is primarily about living for yourself and formulating your own ideas, and ignoring what society or other people dictate. So my foray into transcendentalism was guided partially by wanting to show everyone that I could do it. I don't exactly know what this means. It could possibly mean that this is the extent to which society has influenced me, that I need approval in order to keep going, in a sense. I'm fairly sure I'm not the only one; in fact, I think everyone else can relate to this. I'm not ashamed of this, either. I've lived in the same society for sixteen years; it would be completely unrealistic to think that society hadn't influenced me at all in this length of time.

Yesterday, my mom asked if I was excited to go to Starbucks again. I said that no, I was indifferent and that it doesn't matter so much anymore after a week. She didn't seem to believe me. And frankly, I don't know if everyone reading this blog will believe me! But it really is weird what a difference a week can make.

In contrast, I also wanted to be successful in order to prove something to myself. I wanted to show myself that I have internal strength and willpower and that I won't crumble easily and that I could succeed the way I thought (hoped?) I would. And I succeeded.

I don't feel ashamed at all that my reason for succeeding while trying out transcendentalism was partially to prove to others that I could succeed. If this was a motivator, then why shun it? It helped me, after all. Besides, I'm not a hardcore transcendentalist; this project was merely an exploration. Even though it didn't exactly follow all of the fundamentals of transcendentalism, it taught me about it, and I think that's what's truly significant in the end.


ParkerH said...

You know, you bring up an interesting point. How often do we just try to impress others, and not be true to ourselves? I think personally that people spend too much time playing the game of impressing people and pleasing the powers that be, while not simply being true to ourselves. Something I've noticed (ok, not just me, I have to give my mom some credit here) is that you can't be happy always comparing yourself to others. You just can't. You'll never feel like you're good enough, and as soon as you reach one thing, it's reaching the next thing, not to better yourself, or to make you happy, but to be better or on the same level as someone else. I'm not saying competition is a bad thing, but... yeah. I hope that made sense. Sorry if I stole any of your thunder Amy.

amyw said...

@parkerh---No, not at all! Thanks for leaving comments :)
I think everyone tries a bit too hard to please people. That's exactly what transcendentalists speak out against. And I think healthy competition is good, but there's a fine line...
This makes me curious...could transcendentalism ever be executed exactly the way its creators want it to be? There would always be human traits getting in the way. It's kind of like Communism (not that I'm comparing it to Communism, but it's the only example I could think of). In an idealistic world, it would work perfectly, but because we're human, it doesn't work out quite as well as it's expected to. Just a thought.

macm said...

I completely agree, living for oneself is the only road to true happiness. I don't mean to sound selfish or narcississtic, I just believe that the only way one can be truly happy is by satisfying first yourself, and then others. Also, isn't it easier to make people happy when you yourself feel the same way? Anyways, I am SO impressed by your self-restraint Amy! Breaking a Starbucks addiction takes dedication. I just tell myself that their coffee isn't really that good and make my own. (Although, I can't make mocha frappucinos, so there you go.) And to answer your question, I think that by following a certin path set by a trancendentalist, you would just become another comformist. To be a true trancendentalist, you must make you own path not for others to follow, but to look at and realize that you had a deeper meaning in your life. I think the hope of the transcendentalists was that people would see their tracks and want the courage and vision to blaze their own trail. Once again, great job!