To feel significant or important is a need which everybody has. Just as with our other needs, we can satisfy the need to feel important through either positive or negative actions and behaviours.
Positive significance can be achieved through our accomplishments in our education, career and relationships; these require consistent hard work and perseverance and often the rewards only come at the end of the hard work which can take years.
Negative significance is often achieved through actions which either threaten or undermine others. The use of weapons in gang culture and workplace bullying are examples of this. Often those who consciously or unconsciously realise the need to feel important through negative actions or behaviours doubt their ability to feel important through any other means or are blinded by their need to feel important now, without having to invest any sustained effort on their part. It has been suggested that this short-termism has been generated by the advent of reality tv and social media and there may well be some truth in this; what is true is that any form of short-term gain goes against the long held belief that real and meaningful reward comes only after effort.
To feel significant one has to recognise one’s own abilities and to self-validate, rather than relying on other people or external factors for validation. This is an example of living in balance – relying on oneself rather than solely relying on others for validation. We are all important because we exist, not because of the car we drive or our bank balance and when we accept this we can then focus our attention and effort on what we do want from life; success on the outside begins with success on the inside through self-acceptance.