Wicked Problems in the Eyes of a Former Narcissist

In all honesty, before I was enrolled in this course, I was completely unaware of what wicked problems even were, so the thought of how they might affect me never crossed my mind. Although that makes me seem wildly conceited and gives the impression that I don’t worry about anything other than myself, I now know that in many cases, it is not uncommon for people to be unaware of what may be happening around the world. Even though I was constantly on social media, I found myself to be more annoyed than concerned with posts recognizing issues that were bigger than me. Oftentimes, I was bothered by the ones portrayed with bright colors and dumbed down so that way they were “easier” to talk about. Almost as if they were implying that they were something to celebrate or simply an addition to one’s aesthetic rather than something to fear or something that needed to be changed. Then after I initially heard the definition of a wicked problem, I experienced a flood of emotions. Embarrassment, fear, anxiety, and an overwhelming sense of guilt for simply scrolling past each post instead of educating myself on what might actually be hidden behind those bright colors that were probably being utilized in order to draw the attention of a viewer. Even though I didn’t fully understand, I was so dragged down by the idea that I could’ve been one of those factors that made it impossible to solve because of my ignorance, and maybe I could’ve done something sooner to help, but instead I chose to ignore everything that came across my feed in hopes that maybe someone else would do something to improve it, but that someone was never me. Though I would’ve been nothing but a drop in the ocean, that one drop could have caused a ripple, whether it had helped raise awareness for someone in the dark, or urging someone to take immediate action to make a change happen. However, going into a deeper understanding of what a wicked problem is made me change my perspective once again. A wicked problem is defined as a “problem with many interdependent factors making them seem impossible to solve,” meaning that simply making one change won’t solve the problem as a whole, it takes multiple different viewpoints and a little bit of creativity or an exciting innovation to come closer to a solution. I abandoned the feeling of hopelessness that I was experiencing before and really took a second to stop and evaluate the fact that as an individual, I have the ability to fight to make a difference, but I can’t fix it alone, and attempting to hold the weight of the world on my shoulders would only hurt me in the end. Given the chance to learn more about the benefits of mindfulness along the way has made it easier for me to remain present where I am instead of drifting away to a state where I ignore my own wellbeing. By placing a few tasks on hold for a moment to practice being mindful, I’ve noticed that I’ve adopted a freer and more positive outlook on my own life, thus allowing me to take a deeper dive into the different strategies that I can put in place in my own life to lessen my own impact on the significance of the issues as a whole. Paying more attention to my wellbeing has also aided in my ability to assist others that may be in earlier stages of their journey than I am, which in my opinion comes back as good karma, making every second worthwhile. I really feel as if in a few short weeks, I’ve experienced an insane amount of growth, and also a little bit of healing when it comes to my current mental state. With leaving my hometown for college, there were so many adjustments to make, and for a while I was extremely selfish in the sense that I assumed that I was the only person dealing with those major adjustments, when in reality, everyone around me was going through the exact same situation. Transitioning from a borderline narcissist when I first moved here, to now being much more aware of and compassionate toward those around me and the fact that they are all fighting their own battles has been one of the best changes that I’ve undergone, and I have a sense that it will not only benefit me in the long run, but will also be a valuable thing for my peers to know. In addition to a greater compassion toward the people I come across, I have developed a greater sense of compassion for those that I am not directly in contact with. Before attending this class, I was aware that there were things happening in other parts of the world, however, I chose to ignore them because I thought “why worry about something that doesn’t directly affect me?” or “what could I possibly do to fix something that’s happening so far away?” Now, I’m more aware of the fact that although it is virtually impossible to be a part of everyone’s story, we all overlap in one way or another. So one small action that I may complete, could change the course of another person’s life. Simply choosing to shop locally, or cutting out any fast fashion based companies may not change the way the world works, but it could be the one thing that improves another person’s current situation. Which is exactly what I’ve tried to do as I continue along my journey of being more aware of myself and my impact on the world. As a student very focused on fashion, but with a limited income, steering myself away from fast fashion companies has been difficult, but I realize that one small change could possibly inspire someone else to do the same. Instead of just reposting information to my Instagram story, or completely ignoring it, I choose to look deeper into the issue, and search for ways that I can contribute to the cause. I never was aware of things unless they were talked about on a huge platform and given attention from my favorite celebrities, and now I try my best to stay in the loop and better myself so that in the end I can better those around me.

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