Dear person who is in the pursuit of finding themselves,
This letter is for the person who just feels like they’re lost in life, with no purpose, no connections with anyone or anything, who is trying to find themselves. Please keep reading some more so I can try to help you find what you’re looking for.
I first want to say is that you’re not alone, I know that may be hard to believe, but you’re not. There are many people out there dealing with depression or anxiety or feeling like they don’t have a purpose in life. I’m not saying everyone has this same type of problem, but everyone deals with their own unique problem.
What’s interesting is that people who tend to feel like this have common factors that contribute to their depression or anxiety. Most of our lives, we’ve been subjected to society giving us false ideas to believe in. Why are we letting society tell us how to live and be happy? Shouldn’t we be the only ones who decide those for ourselves?
People have lost sight of their true values because of what society is making them believe.
One of the main reasons why we have lost sight of our true values is because we are seeing advertisements everywhere that are telling us that we aren’t going to be happy until we have this product, or we won’t have a good life until we go on this vacation. Society is bombarding us with messages about how to live and how we should be happy. In a book written by Johann Hari called Lost Connections, he says “...the advertisements led them to choose an inferior human connection over a superior human connection-because they’d been primed to think that a lump of plastic is what really matters” (Hari 100). Hari is saying that advertisements are making us think that we would rather have “a lump of plastic” than to actually have face-to-face contact with others; advertising can make an object replace the importance of social interaction with one another. How crazy is that? How are we allowing ourselves to be persuaded by advertisements? How can we let them take away the value of social interaction? It’s because of our internal value system.
Well to answer that, we have internal values ingrained in us that tell us how we want to live our lives, also like our morals or motives in life. We have two different sets of values that greatly vary. Intrinsic values represent our inner values, while our extrinsic values represent outer values, also known as our junk values. The intrinsic values are “things you do purely because you value them in and of themselves, not because of anything you get out of them” (Hari 95). So these are things you do that give you joy and happiness. On the other side, our extrinsic values are “the things you do because you actually want to do them, but because you’ll get something in return” (Hari 95). We have these two values that act like the angel and the devil on your shoulders. The intrinsic angel that wants you to do and be good and then the extrinsic devil that wants it to get its way. The advertisements target our extrinsic values because they want us to give in to the want for whatever the advertisement is selling because society is pressuring us into a false belief system.
Society wants to fill us with the wrong values to believe in that appeal only to our extrinsic values. Hari says, “You are hollow, and exist only in other people’s reflections. ‘That’s going to be anxiety-provoking.’ We are all vulnerable to this, he believes. ‘The way I understand the intrinsic values,’ Tim told me, is that they ‘are a fundamental part of what we are as humans, but they’re fragile. It’s easy to distract us from them… You give people social models of consumerism… and they move in an extrinsic way.’ The desire to find meaningful intrinsic values is ‘there, it’s a powerful part of who we are, but it’s not hard to distract us.’ And we have an economic system built around doing precisely that.” (Hari 102). Society preys on our emotions and vulnerability knowing that we are easily distracted with things that appeal to the extrinsic values, it’s like dangling a ball on a string in front of a cat, the cat becomes instantly mesmerized by it. Society knows that as humans, we get distracted and confused by what our brain and heart want. But we have to eventually realize that junk values shouldn’t be the ones we follow.
Realizing what junk values we use can be upsetting because we don’t want to admit what we believed in was wrong, no one wants to say they were wrong. Hari makes a good point on this, he wrote, “...he started to think a lot about the question of authenticity. ‘I was stumbling around,’ he told me. ‘I think I was questioning just about everything. I wasn’t just questioning these values. I was questioning lots about myself, I was questioning lots about the nature of reality and the values of society.”’ (Hari 93). The person Hari is interviewing is talking about once they realized the junk values they believed in, they were in disbelief. The values we believe in become our motives and morals in life, and if we are using extrinsic values then we feeding into exactly what society wants us to do. We are being sheep in a country of sleepy sheep that can’t open their eyes enough to see the big picture, don’t become a sheep, open your mind, realize what society has been trying to feed you.
People have lost sight of their true values because of what society is making them believe. The advertisements are trying to tell us that their plastic is more important than social interactions with one another. Our values are very important to us, they can tell us who we are and what we want in life. Society is trying to control our lives when we should be controlling them. We have to look at the values we are believing in to make sure we are following our morals and motives in life. We have to think logically about what we are allowing our hearts and brain to believe in because there are outside forces trying to work against our values.
Baskin, Jonathan Salem. "Social Media Are Junk Food For Our Brains. Why Are The
Nutritionists Silent?" Forbes, Forbes Media LLC., 6 Feb. 2013,
Hari, Johann. Lost Connections. Bloomsbury, 2018.
Niedzviecki, Hal. "When junk culture becomes a way of life." The Globe and Mail,
The Globe and Mail Inc., 20 July 2000, www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/
when-junk-culture-becomes-a-way-of-life/article1041153/. Accessed 4 Apr.
University of Toronto. "Skinny Models In Ads Cause Immediate Anger, Depression
In Women." Science Daily, 30 Apr. 1999, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/