Validation

by elusiveunderstanding5

 It’s almost four in the morning here and I should be sleeping. However, I was on Twitter and felt the need to write this. I was in the cab earlier tonight talking about my future plans. I was telling Frank, my cab driver of choice, about my plans to pursue journalism or a similar field once I start school again. It sounded good in my head but did not have the reaction I was looking for from Frank. You might be thinking that it is utterly pointless to be concerned with the opinion of a random cab driver and that I should do what I want. I absolutely agree with that sentiment; however, therein lies the problem with my philosophy. I have never fit the mold of the typical Indian and yet, in many ways, I have always tried to attain the validation I feel they get. I have always tried to conform or attain a type of happiness I feel everyone else has or are on the verge of attaining. Rather than trying to discover my own truth, I have often tried to decipher the Pandora’s box of other people’s truths. I didn’t follow the typical path and often made choices that I felt were the antithesis of what was expected of me. However, in many ways, I was making said choices because I was trying to seek the validation I felt I lacked from my family and friends. I wanted to be an English major in college but I always heard about the worthlessness of liberal arts degrees. Furthermore, growing up in an Indian family discouraged me from that path as most of my relatives were either pursuing medicine or other science-related fields. As much as I wanted to distinguish myself from the stereotypical Indian, it seemed I was yearning more and more for that validation. Therefore, I chose not to major in English and chose Neuroscience as my major. I had aspirations of going to medical school or so I would tell people. Really, it was never my dream to go to medical school but that validation felt good when I would tell my parents that I was planning on trying to go to medical school. After my sophomore year, I no longer cared as much for that feeling and chose to switch my major to Psychology. This was met with a lot of conflict and many of my relatives essentially gave up on me and wondered what I was going to do with my life. To them, a Psychology degree was basically worthless. More so, they didn’t fully understand what exactly Psychology was as it was a soft science and not one of the so-called real sciences. Looking back, I wish I had pursued an English degree and done what I wanted. I let other’s opinions, including loved ones, get in my head and ultimately guide me. Therein lies the problem in my opinion. Too often, we try to appease family members or other people and try to fit the expectation they have in their head. Many times, it seems, this expectation they have does not line up with our real selves. We put our plans or desires on the back burner and proceed to try to live their dream. This is unfortunate as that leads to time being wasted and gives us less time to focus on something that we’re actually good at. Two different cultures are in play when it comes to my situation. I am an American that grew up in an Indian household. As a result, I was exposed to two different philosophies. I am an American and as such, I am individualistic. Meaning, sometimes I do care strictly for myself and I want to do what I want to do. However, I am also part of an Asian culture as my parents are from India. In that culture, the opinion of family members is much more important than one’s opinion of themselves. These were the two warring schools of thought I was exposed to in my formative years.  As a result, it has shaped a hybrid philosophy, so to speak. I am concerned at times strictly with matters involving myself and I do not care what others think. On the other side of the coin, I do care a good amount of what my family thinks of what I’m doing with my life. It is a struggle to balance the two philosophies in certain instances as both are fighting for control of my psyche. It is a work in progress, indeed.

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