Connection is a generalization. People want to feel that they matter. Selfies are just that: a statement that documents “I matter.” This is what our generation is quietly screaming but not able to articulate. We want to be sure you know we matter. Gay matters. Women matters. Black lives matter.
We are the response to previous generations that lived their lives as faceless pieces of the capitalistic machinery under the false promise of the American Dream. Baby boomers gave their lives and dreams away in such pursuit and at the end no one was happy.
We as a generation refuse to feel we don’t matter. We refuse to think we have no voice. What others call narcissism is only but our need to reassert ourselves and say me matter. We care a lot about values, because values make a person and every person matters. When it comes to brands and consumption we refuse to be mindless wallets. We demand that brands share such values to reaffirm that we matter to them as individuals. We don’t trust brands that don’t go out of their way to say we matter to them. Hence the organic movement, the fitness boom, etc.
Think about any issue you faced this week. Chances are that if you really dig deep it all comes down to someone feeling like they don’t matter. That’s why you get pissed when you’re driving and someone cuts you off. That’s why you argue fiercely trying to prove you’re right. That’s why we all hate going to the dmv. And that’s why Trump is president (because all the people in rural areas and mining towns feel this way).
At the end of the day we’re all human and Millennials or not, we’re all made the same. We have the same basic need to feel that our individuality, our wants and needs, our ideologies, and everything that makes us who we are, matter.
Do me a favor, next time you’re about to get in an argument, as soon as you start getting all worked up and ready to fight, pause for a second and ask yourself: am I making the other party feel like they don’t matter? Is the other party making me feel I don’t matter? If you apply some empathy (towards yourself or the other party) you’ll quickly realize the answer is yes to either, or both. The next step is to openly acknowledge it. Whether it be a “I’m sorry I’m upset but what you’re saying/doing is making me feel I don’t matter” or “I’m sorry, I just realized what I’m doing/saying is making feel you don’t matter,” these will solve most conflicts and open a line of communication so you can fix whatever needs to be fixed.
At the end of the day though, all changes must start from the inside and the most important person that should acknowledge we matter is ourselves.
And before you go, let me just remind you that you matter.