If you’ve ever heard the word Millennial you’ve probably heard it in association to the word selfish. Millennials are wildly known and criticized for self love. Many would say it’s narcissism. There’s always someone saying this is the way it’s always been so suck it up, I used to walk five miles to school, etc.
It’s a cop out. Every generation has made a big deal about the generation after it. The 90s were the first kids to fall in love with boy groups and girl groups, a set of childish kids who flip flopped between worshiping Nirvana and the Backstreet Boys, a sharp turn from the rock and rap heavy 80s, the 80s were glam rock, a move from the ‘real artistry’ of the 70s, the 70s in itself was the generation of revolution.
So what makes Millenials different?
The internet. Social media, the access on a global scale changed how we spoke to each other and how we connected. Forums and chat rooms were the first exercise of mass scale secrecy — you could be completely anonymous and almost untraceable in all the ways it mattered. This was the first time people could speak their truth with real conversation and never have to own up to it.
Not everything is a dirty secret, of course. But what it does mean is people were starting friendships, genuine connections on ideas that you’d never present in the open. No matter how ridiculous, there is bound to be someone that agrees with you.
This is the first time an established magazine can even consider blaming a full generation’s poverty on avocado toast.
People feel power in saying what they want to say because even if everyone around you can think you’re being ridiculous someone somewhere agrees.
Talking shit doesn’t mean you’re wrong
Self-love is a term people use all the time. It’s spawned whole movements to not suffer in silence. From the mundane stress of life to full historic rewrites the new age is caring for yourself. Is this selfish? It can be.
I know people who suffer from social anxiety and it’s often loaded by their own isolation. People spend more time online than ever but having superficial conversations online often means people don’t make real personal connections. This lack of interaction breeds impersonal personalities — you can spend weeks on end only talking to someone online and never having to see a person’s face. It’s a double edged sword — you forget how to talk to people because you’re consumed by talking with people. How can I go to lunch when I’ve got a Skype call and plans to play a campaign in one evening?
Self love can be that too. You focus so much on making yourself comfortable you can neglect those around you and that in itself creates even more stress. Self-care isn’t perfect. If we’re the first group of people to practice it you can bet there’s going to be errors along the way. Shutting down attempts means we’ll never find the perfect balance to understand what makes you stable and happy.
If the system isn’t perfect why should we care?
The world is always changing. That’s a fact. As time progresses the world evolves, whether or not we move in a positive or negative direction is up to us. We as a society are still trying to destigmatize mental health. Our parents didn’t attend therapy because it meant they were crazy. Social issues weren’t social issues because they were inappropriate. But where does that lead us?
We have generations upon generations of broken people. Everyone knows a set of parents who stayed miserable in their lives because they were expected to play a certain role. You got married because you had to — you stayed in that marriage because what else would you do? You stayed in that job because you need money. You can’t take risks because it’s not stable.
But what’s the point of living life if you’re miserable? You exist and you survive but you hate yourself. That doesn’t mean be reckless. You can’t throw away everything in the hopes of manufacturing your best life on a whim but you can be aware of how you can help yourself and your situation.
Millennials get shit for practices loving themselves but why shouldn’t they be able to? Being quiet about things that hurt us leave us miserable and in pain for no reason. So what if it means you’re weak? Who’s the one that has to deal with the consequences of the suffering? You. Don’t make choices that make you miserable. Do better for yourself.
You can attack a Millennial or whatever group of people you’d like but it’s because there’s pain. This is a group of people that has said things don’t need to be the way they are and it’s about time we embrace the fact that we can make changes.
Instead of being spiteful it’s time for people to wake up and realize you can smell the flowers if you want to. Fuck what anyone else says, what have they ever done for you besides shit on your self worth anyway?