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  • Wojciech Salski

Self-competition

Updated: Apr 28

There is only one person each of us should strive to impress and compete with every day. It is each of us, for ourselves…


The boy finished reading, and putting the book back on the shelf he leaned towards his phone screen, anticipating the line of notifications ready to be encountered. The glassy surface lit up and the screen emerged, showing nothing but the hour of the day and its date. Weird the boy thought, usually, at this point, there is at least one notification… Approaching the kettle, ready to get the morning routine started, he realized the thought process that has just taken place within his mind a moment ago. He wanted that notification, his ego wanted it. Concluding this situation, he poured himself a cup of coffee and sat down in front of his notebook. We look for appreciation from others he scribbled, without searching for an appraisal from ourselves… Scratching his unshaven chin, he pondered on the idea. Seems as absurd as the book described it he murmured, and shuffling in his seat, he reached for the book to double-check one of the sentences. If you will be doing only what others think you should, you would end up living someone else’s life… He read the statement again and leaning back in his seat, he allowed his mind to digest this little dose of medicine for the soul. If you care more for what others think of you, rather than what you think of yourself his thoughts arranged themselves in a row, making it to a phrase-like order, you are never fully satisfied, as their ideas are theirs and there is no way to know what it is they are thinking anyhow…

*

He sat in silence with a little grin of disgust lingering on his face. Thinking of all the times, when driven by the need to be, do or have exactly what the world ‘out there’ provoked him to wish for, he realized just how much of his life is influenced by the external audience. It’s like a theatre play, in which each phrase and act needs to be applauded by the spectators, otherwise being discarded and scrapped in the next performance he concluded, that would be madness, wouldn’t it…? Feeling the waves of chuckle mixed with a sour taste of salty objections towards his actions, the boy left the book on the shelf and sunk deeper into the chair, letting his hands rest gently on his chest. So shameful he heard himself whisper, so fucking shameful… Remembering the concept of psychological state called the ‘imposter syndrome’ he thought of the absurdity of the idea that by being the way others wish us to be, we are supposedly better off than being ourselves. Isn’t it the greatest expression of the imposter syndrome he announced, sarcasm screaming down the well of his mind, isn’t this the most shameful act one can commit…? Visibly irritated with the repulsion he felt for himself, seeing on the screen of his consciousness all the previous situations, in which his wish to ‘fit in’ took his freedom of self away replayed endlessly over and over again, he squeezed his palms into fists, and noticing the arising annoyance allowed the feeling to wash over and cleanse itself. Good that I see it now at least he hissed through his clenched teeth.

*

Pondering on all the situations that could have gone differently if his actions would not be influenced by the fear of disagreements from his parents, friends, or peers, the boy tried to come to terms with his discovery. I did the best I could in the circumstances he reminded himself, that is essentially what each of us does, constantly… The only trick and issue being, we seldom know whether what we think is best, actually is best to be done in such a situation… His morale boosted a little as he allowed a small amount of acceptance and understanding for his own mistakes of the past, he picked up his pen and wrote another sentence underneath the first one. Take into account the opinions of others only if the decision you are about to make, involves them explicitly and has an immediate effect on their life. He looked at the phrase, thinking whether this he has managed to tackle the idea of ‘doing the right thing’. But even if that would be the case, make sure to put your aspirations first, do not hurt anyone but do not let anyone stop you from doing what is true to your heart he added, underlining the sentence and sighing deeply, as a wave of relief flushed down his spine.

Be your hero and your own greatest contender the boy recited, standing up and taking his day head-on, just be yourself…


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#prose #selfcompetition #birthdaypost #writingforlife #challengeyourself

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