The Quicksand of Self-Actualization

By Dillon Turman
Edited by Christopher Heide

Imagine living in a society where your most basic human rights are regulated, stripped and perhaps even vacant. As you begin to paint that picture in your head, take into account that there are many societies today in our world that still do not focus on individuality; rather, they focus on tradition and/or a linear set of beliefs and expectations.

Understandably, it is hard for us as members of this world to imagine some ideas and ways of living that may be outside of our comfort zones. As humans, I would say that it is natural for us to find comfortability and become used to repetition. In a black and white world, this ideology may be effective. However, we do not live in a black and white world. We have evolved greatly and we now live in a world of Technicolor, diversity and change. To adapt to a certain set of beliefs or expectations of others our whole life would be silly, no?

With that being said, allow me to share a few topics that I still personally consider to be linear and traditional: marriage equality, age discrimination, salary difference amongst men and women and finally – prejudice.

Granted each and every one of the aforementioned terms means something a little different to you, me, your neighbor, your friend, your family and perhaps even your community. Why, you ask? Simply because we are all raised differently, each one of us ingests the information we are given throughout life differently and the world, yet again, is filled with many beliefs that may at times simply separate themselves entirely from your own.

I believe the hardest challenge I have faced in my short twenty-two years on this planet has been looking my demons--or what others may consider to be my flaws--in the face and telling them that I love them regardless of where they come from or what has fostered them. When I finally allowed myself to accept this sense of self-awareness I became happier and more hyperaware of the world around me. Though I have much more life to live and plenty more experiences to learn from, I feel I am truly able to utilize the building blocks life has presented to me and showcase my work, by way of example, for others to see.

I challenge you, as the reader of this article, to be different. Accept your differences as your own and be proud of them. Take on a new belief for the sake of saying that you tried. Utilize the building blocks life is presenting to you and upon your newfound self-actualizations, succumb to being a beacon of acceptance and change for others who wish to find their true happiness in life.