“Harper was suddenly overwhelmed with the need to make an impression. She didn’t want to be forgotten, even if it was for all the wrong reasons.”
With change so prominent today many struggle with what is their place in the world and their life—in their job, community, relationships, etc. This often manifests itself in some looking for answers, solutions and direction from others, and the associated behaviors often get misconstrued as being entitled, “owed,” and demanding.
Relevance is defined as the quality of state of being closely connected or appropriate. In a world where the aspirational “American Dream” mentality has essentially trained us to want the “best,” to want instant gratification and service and where household debt is rising, are signs of peoples’ struggle with being relevant.
Some people want “important” titles, promotions and raises. Some want designer clothes, fancy cars and big houses. This list of wants can go on, but these wants and sometimes the sense of entitlement that often accompanies them have their roots in people wanting to be relevant—to be connected, to belong and to be recognized. People feel lost and untethered and they don’t quite understand why—which leads to external blame, projection and loss of being genuine or true to oneself.
In a world where institutions set the “rules of the game” and where the masses unconsciously buy into these rules, the values and beliefs of many are derived from unrealistic and unfounded expectations or fear that if they do not follow the rules or meet the expectations they are no longer relevant. Somehow being relevant got blended with one’s purpose, and one’s purpose got viewed through a concocted formula for success and happiness.
In reflecting upon this I started to contemplate how do we transcend this—how do we find our relevance outside of the labels and categories we put upon ourselves that are influenced by others? How do we change our thinking that fulfilling our superficial wants will make us relevant as defined by others?
A first step is to check in with yourself regarding your wants and demands and to explore their origins. What is driving them—is it really a feeling of inequity or injustice? Do they stem from fear, jealousy or anger? Are they driven by wanting to fit in or to illustrate success?
Next is to examine them from a want and a need perspective. Yes, we all like nice things and to live comfortably, but are you overextending yourself for something that is more a desire vs a necessity?
Being relevant is being grounded in you—in being true to yourself. Your relevancy is already built into you. But there are times we often lose sight of that and when we succumb to the expectations and pressures being promoted by others.
Being relevant is not wrapped up in titles, where one lives, what one does and how much one has. Being relevant is about being true to the very best that is in you and living your life consistent with your highest values and aspirations.