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I AM in Control.org Iowa Adolescents Making Choices to Control Their Future Teen:Health, Relationship, Body and Sexuality
Jun 19

Celebrate your Individuality

Posted By iamincontrol | June 19, 2014

Teen girl
By Allison

During my middle school and high school years, I struggled a lot with self-image. I never felt truly accepted by my peers. I spent years trying to figure out what was wrong with me. I would ask myself questions such as:

“Am I wearing the wrong clothes?”

“Do I need to have a specific haircut?”

“Am I listening to the right music and keeping up with all the celebrities the girls in my class talk about?”

“What do I have to say for Johnny to ask me on a date?”

“Why doesn’t anyone ever want to be my partner for projects?”

“What is wrong with me?”

All of these thoughts led to an extremely low self-esteem. I wanted so desperately to be accepted and be invited to the parties that people talked about. Sometimes, I even wondered if any of my classmates would show up to my funeral if I were to die unexpectedly. I was trapped with these negative thoughts, trying constantly to change myself and “fit in.”  I would watch the “popular” girls and try to figure out how they gained acceptance. They often talked about cute boys and complained about teachers or their parents.

I kept myself busy with sports and music. I met people who had similar interests as me through these outside activities. Being the best goalie on my soccer team, being very involved in music, and being in tae kwon do really helped me focus on my strengths rather than what I couldn’t change. It helped me realize that there were things that I was capable of that my classmates couldn’t do. These activities reminded me that there are many people out there and that there is much more to life than being asked out by a guy or being accepted by your peers.

It’s important to celebrate your individuality. The more you try to “fit in” to a society, the more frustrated you’re going to get. It’s hard to be someone you’re not. I learned that there are things I can contribute to a community that no one else can. If you become so obsessed with changing yourself, you miss out on everything you’re capable of. Learn to love who you are. Don’t compromise your pride, body, thoughts, or actions just because you want to be part of the “in” crowd. Realize that you don’t have to settle for less than you deserve. No matter how hard it is to see at the moment, know that there are many people out there who will love you just as you are. You are worth it.

For more info on healthy self-esteem, visit this site.