Being a teen really sucks. I am not enjoying it at all. I don’t know if it is just about the pressure that is associated with the teenage years or life just decides to take a U-turn on you. My friends seem different and sometimes behave so strangely. At times, they crave too much attention from unwanted people, make horrible and rash decisions and focus only on having fun. I cannot understand how they can change so much so quickly. I don’t agree with many of their decisions, thoughts and actions hence they either say I’m still a kid and at other times, just too old-fashioned. At home, I’m constantly picked upon, doubted and questioned about boys. Aaargh!! I’m not sure if they are warning me or expecting me to act that way in rebellion. It’s so difficult to concentrate or just be happy… How do I cope with all this?
Thank you for your email and for discussing your challenges with me. Being a teenager is hard, it is filled with so many confusing choices and decisions and even the simplest thing can appear so complicated. This is probably why Peter Pan never wanted to grow up.
I have to agree that once you turn 13, life does have a way of increasing the pressure around you. Most teens are treated like children and expected to behave like adults. No wonder the teenage years are called the most confusing stage in life!
I’m sorry that you are having a difficult time adjusting to all the changes your friends are going through. Most of these changes are very common and natural but aren’t mandatory. Each individual’s upbringing and value system also plays a very important role in how much one develops and changes.
E E Cummings wrote, ‘It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are’. It is very heartening to know that despite all the pressure around you to conform or choose to feel left out, you are strong in your will and choose to stand up for who you are and what you believe in. It is so easy to fit in but you are probably one of those special few who were born to stand out! Your maturity, sense of responsibility and wisdom is what you need to hold on to.
While your family is trying hard to ensure that you don’t get distracted, it is best to focus on the positive and be grateful that you have people who love and care for you. Quite often parents don’t use the best strategies to show their concern, love, interest or worry but when we look closer, it certainly is their intention behind all the silliness, ranting and anger.
Kudos to you, you’re on the right track! Continue to stay focussed on your goals and everything else will fall in place. Just give it a little time. All the best.
I wish I had more confidence; I am always feeling scared or nervous. My poor confidence deprives me from doing so many things I love. Eventually I get angry and hope that at least that will fuel me to do what I want, but I guess that’s a failure too. Is there anything I can do to increase my confidence?
Thank you for writing in about your struggles with confidence. It is unfortunate that you are allowing yourself to give up doing the things that you love. Have you ever asked yourself what is it that you are afraid of? Is it the fear of making mistakes? Because mistakes are our best teachers and nobody is perfect.
Could it be the fear that people are judging you or may laugh at you? Mel Robbins said ‘If someone is judging you, that is their problem. Don’t make it yours’. Laughing at our own mistakes is important too – it helps us learn from them and makes us live longer.
There is never a right time to start. Be brave and allow yourself to be happy. Courage doesn’t mean that you are not afraid. It only means that you won’t let fear stop you.
Nobody is like you and that is your superpower. Once you start believing in yourself, magic starts happening. Good luck.
A flower doesn’t think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.
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Until next time, challenge your challenges!
(The columnist is psychologist and counsellor, currently working as a school counsellor.)