By Nate C
Today I figured I’d share a little bit more about myself and how I have struggled with my own self worth, especially in middle and high school. The people who know me would say I’m very social, energetic, and talk to everyone, which is true, but not many know about my own thoughts that pester me in the background and how they’ve affected my life for better or worse.
When I was younger, I had no problems seeing myself for who I was, and opening my own self worth. Of course, I didn’t have anything to worry about. I had lots of friends, a family that loved me, and a school environment where the only drama that occurred was at lunch when we tried to trade snacks. But as I’ve grown up, this simple social setting changed drastically. Middle and high school are places where some people’s true colors begin to shine, and judging others becomes the norm. It was very common for people to assume many things about others without even talking to them or taking their feelings into consideration. Gossiping became the new favorite pastime of every teenager.
It was around this time that I started to shrink into myself a little bit. I got more defensive, and started changing myself to fit the social norms so I wouldn’t be a topic of conversation. From what I wore, to what I ate, my life fundamentally changed. This continued to happen into high school. It was never anything big, but I’ve always tried to appease others to protect myself from any unwanted attention. Eventually, there hit a point in my sophomore year where I realized that I shouldn’t be changing for others, and if they wanted to talk about me, then so be it, but I wouldn’t let it affect me to this extent. So, I began to be more open about my feelings and thoughts. I started to talk to others about things I was stressed about, or words/actions that hurt me. My life was slowly becoming my own again.
Today, nearing the end of my junior year in high school, I still struggle with this sometimes. I often remind myself to make decisions based on what I want rather than what others want. Of course, many things contribute to this. By talking to my friends and daily about the problems I was having, I was able to feel more confident in myself. I am happy that I am living more myself today than I had been in some of the previous years, and don’t plan on changing to fit someone else’s narrative. This is my life, and no one else is going to tell me how to live it.