On Self-Glorification

Ahhh, long time no update here! I’ve actually been writing/maintaining a separate blog called Shiranigans in Asia, which chronicles my life as I live abroad in Asia. However, I haven’t forgotten about this dear blog. In fact, I’ve been struggling lately with a concept I haven’t consciously thought about – or maybe admitted to myself – in a while. This concept is self-glorification, as the title may suggest.

You know, I started this blog – Seeking Something Splendid – with the intent that slowly but surely, I could find my place in this world. What I can do to make a difference, to do something important and meaningful and useful and helpful to society. But the selfish motivation still stands there behind it all: part of why I want to do something “great” is because, I’ll admit, I want to be remembered. I want to be admired for what I’ve done; I want to be recognized for my contributions to society; I want to be “famous” in a good way. The problem is, I haven’t done much to warrant any of that yet.

In fact, if anything, I’ve been more focused on the ends – my reputation, wanting to be known as a “good” person, etc – much more so than the means. Here are a few examples of how I can tell I’m doing this:

  • I’m aiming for more “likes” by posting more on social media like Instagram and Facebook (I notice this because my wall is starting to become all posts by me).
  • I’m hoping to be seen by my increased use of hashtags on Instagram and Twitter, both of which used to be but are no longer set to Private (you see, if it’s private, then strangers will never see you).
  • I’m posting lots of articles that are about causes that I do truly care about, but not only to spread awareness about the cause (it’s also to spread awareness about how I’M a good person because I care about social causes).

Thankfully, I’m getting sick of it. Even I notice how little substance there is in just posting stuff without actually DOING anything. I read an article the other day on Cracked called “6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person” – the article was actually published in 2012 but so popular that they just re-publish it every year. One of the harsh truths – which in fact was not that harsh, and I liked reading it – was that caring about things is kind of useless if there are no actions to back it. I can see how true that is in my life at the moment; I’m doing plenty of “sharing” to show that I care about things, but it doesn’t actually contribute to anything…other than my self-glorification.

As some of you may know, I worked in Shanghai for the past nine months and now am based in Hong Kong for another nine months. Since living abroad, I’ve spent way too much time just having fun and showing it off via pictures – and way too little time actually Seeking Something Splendid. There’s nothing wrong with having fun, of course, but it’s totally, 100% just for my own pleasure. And since I’m too busy living my hedonistic life, I take the easy way out for “making a difference”: I share articles. I talk about stuff I care about – but don’t actually take action. I’m constantly broadcasting, but rarely actually doing.

I think my heart is there. I do genuinely care, and I love reading articles by/for do-gooders like my previous professor, Adam Grant, or by/for people struggling with causes I’m passionate about, like bullying and depression. But as I grow up (wah) I am also starting to appreciate that sometimes, caring isn’t enough. Maybe it’s a start, but it’s not enough. And no amount of self-glorification – no matter how much I try to convince the outside world, or even myself – constitutes something to be admired if I don’t actually do anything to earn it.

While I still have a long way to go, thank goodness I’ve finally taken the time to admit this to myself. I’m a long way from being where I hope to be one day, but it’s a start. Baby steps, right?

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