Why Millennials Have a Love-Hate Relationship With Themselves
It's no secret that there's a whole lot of buzz about "Millennials." It's a generation that has nearly everyone interested — and somewhat confused. Older generations are trying to learn how to understand them, market towards them, and reach them; while Millennials are trying to understand themselves and embrace the qualities that they have.
But one of the things other generations might not know about Millennials is that we have a love-hate relationship with ourselves.
Since I was born between 1977 and 2000, I’m a Millennial and have been surrounded mostly by them my entire life. This means that I actually understand how Millennials act, think, learn, and grow. I understand the traits we’re labeled to have and how we feel about them.
Most Millennials are fully aware that we have certain traits that maybe we shouldn’t be totally proud of, but that’s exactly where the love-hate comes in. We are aware of our flaws, accept, and embrace them.
Travel is a big aspect that we embrace. Millennials are known to want to get away. We want to travel and explore. We want to see as much as we can in our lifetime and we will do anything to make that happen. This is something we love about ourselves because it allows us to learn, grow, and understand the rest of the world. However, when Millennials are in one place for too long, we get a little stir crazy, which is a trait we don’t like about themselves. Our tendency to want to travel reflects in our workplace and sometimes labels us as “lazy” and having a bad work ethic because we don’t want to be there (because we’d rather be traveling). I’ll admit, some Millennials really do have a terrible work ethic and are lazy, but don’t let a few bad eggs spoil the dozen.
Speaking of jobs, Millennials’ values are very much so different than the generations before. We value flexibility, work-life balance, and company culture far more than anything else. Sure, we love making as much money as we can, but if you ask us, we’d rather make slightly less money and have more vacation time. We want to be happy at our jobs, not spend 8-10 hours of our day being miserable.
That being said, passion is a big trait of Millennials. When we are passionate about something, we give it our all. We become obsessed and work tirelessly for our passion. However, if we aren’t passionate about whatever it is, don’t expect much to get done. We know this is our biggest strength and weakness.
Technology is also a big love-hate relationship aspect of ours. We love that we adapt well to it, understand it, and the fact that technology makes things far easier. But still, we know it’s not good for us. It creates illusions, exposes us to things that can make us feel like we’re not good enough, and promotes materialistic values. On top of that, with the social media networks we create and use, we are happy we can present and share our lives with virtually anyone, but we also know how it can destroy our relationships in real life too. 95% of my peers’ breakups have had to do with social media or technology. From going through the other person’s device to noticing that the other person “liked” another person’s photo, social media and technology rips apart our relationships, yet we can’t stop using it.
We also want to have relationships with the brands we get our products from. We love the story, message, and mission companies have. We like to feel like we’re doing good socially. However, most of us know that this trait of ours makes some of our purchases more expensive and makes the people who work for those companies a little more stressed because suddenly they have to figure out how to contribute to the greater social good. But still, we want to create a better society, so ultimately, we don’t care that it makes some people’s days a little more challenging because we think it’ll make a larger positive impact in the long run.
Overall, Millennials have a lot of traits that they both love and hate about themselves. Honestly, we’re still trying to understand ourselves and we’re doing the best we can. All we ask for is a little bit of patience — we really do mean well even if it doesn’t always show.
Disclaimer: This post is mostly based upon my first-hand experience of being a Millennial and speaking with my peers about these topics.