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Youth Speak

Error 404: Self Not Found

By Naina Grewal , 18 Jul, 2017
  • Error 404: Self Not Found

“Me-time” has become associated with mindless scrolling through one’s social media feed rather than indulgence in self-discovery.

Time: arguably the single most powerful force in the materialistic realm. You may deem it finite or infinite; binding or liberating; curse or boon. Call it what you may, but one thing is for sure – you just never seem to have enough of it. With a resource so limited, the question of allocation prevails as it is precisely the allocation of your time that determines the pervasiveness of your past, the awareness of your present, and the direction of your future. Nevertheless, as uncontrollable as it may be, your time is solely yours, but when did you last spend time with yourself? 
In today’s global ocean swarmed with buzzwords such as interactivity, technology and connectivity, we are ironically least connected with the self. Social media unlocks the capacity to constantly stay in the loop about what others are doing and allows for you to broadcast yourself to the world. The paradox, however, is how little we know about ourselves. “Me-time” has become associated with mindless scrolling through one’s social media feed rather than indulgence in self-discovery. 
For youth, this period of age is critical in forming a worldview and making important decisions that dictate the years to come. Problems in mindsets and choices arise because of the lack of self-awareness, which further stems from the limited attention span that mass media has contributed to, especially in millennials. Simply put, everyone wants to figure themselves out, but it’s just too boring to do it. You don’t get points or level up, there’s no monetary gain and no validation of your actions with ‘likes’. Trying to get in touch with the inner self is equated to embarking on a philosophical journey.
An important thought here is: does spending time with yourself really have to comprise of meditating in a dark room – secluded and silent? Power to you if that’s what your version of finding yourself entails, but self-awareness is a mental state of being rather than a physical one – regardless of how you do it. Moreover, it is more so a way of doing things and less so a task itself.  
So, then, how can you meet yourself? Well, the answer stares at you in the eye everyday quite literally, as you see yourself in the mirror. The secret to meeting your mind is no different: Reflection. You are a product of layers. The first layer consists of your actions, which you perform daily. The second layer consists of the thoughts, beliefs and values that produce your actions. The third layer is awareness. 
Often, we are only able to unravel ourselves until the second layer. If our environment aligns with our thoughts, beliefs and values, we see no rationale – as logical beings – to penetrate our awareness. Your comment on a social media posts generates 1,127 likes and the world seems to be in perfect temporal order. On the other hand, if our thoughts, beliefs and values are challenged, we strive to change our environment. A dissenting reply to your comment interrupts the harmony of your world and you go on to dismiss the credibility of the opposing opinion. In either case, the third layer of awareness remains untouched.
You are not to blame; the democratic regime of today’s liberalistic society embeds and appropriates the freedom of individuality. However, what we are not told is to question our individuality, which lies in one simple question. Why? We are taught to question our actions only as far as we reach the second layer. I am justified in acting this way because my thoughts, beliefs and values result in me doing so. However, this is merely a self-serving bias. You cannot be reduced to your thoughts, beliefs and values because they result from socially constructed ideals like familial background, religion, culture, education and nationality. 
How will you find the right answers if you ask the wrong questions? The key is to ask why you think about, believe in, and value things the way you do. This inner dialogue is the first step to solving the riddle of self-discovery, for which only you can take the reigns and help yourself. Being critical of yourself is just as important as being critical of what is around yourself. Question the authenticity of a news article, but also question your understanding of it. Question your professor’s method of teaching, but also question your way of learning. Question your friend’s outfit, but also question why you would not wear it. Sometimes, the answer lies not in asking a question, but questioning the question itself. Many times, the finger points right back at you. 
As you begin to seek answers, you will unlock hidden potential and empower yourself to take risks, realize your passions and open your mind. Be it the matter of a letter grade or career path – when it comes down to the self, you must confront it until you are one with it. After all, you can only solve what you know – and to know someone, you must spend time with them. When will you spend time with yourself?



Naina Grewal is a youth radio show host on Red FM and is pursuing a Business and Communication Joint Major at SFU as a student on the President’s and Dean’s Honour Roll. Recently recognized as Surrey Board of Trade’s Top 25 Under 25, Naina is an engaged community volunteer, passionate about creating dialogue, and stirring youth involvement.

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