It wasn’t so long ago that I was in high school (I haven’t even had my ten year reunion yet!) and I hear from my young clients that it is still a difficult time both personally and socially.
They are supposed to be “the best years of your life”, but I have never found a person who believes this to be so. How we look, what we say, and how we perform in school and sports never seems to be scrutinized to the same degree as it is in those 4 years.
So, the question remains: Can anyone get out of high school with his or her self-esteem fully intact? I believe it is possible, but there are many things that need to be kept in perspective along the way:
- Your “popularity” does not determine how successful you will be, or how attractive you are. The criteria for being popular in high school often doesn’t fit what makes us appealing in the adult world, and it does not define your place in the world. You are an individual who has numerous gifts and skills that don’t always show in adolescence.
- Making a mistake will not determine your future. While getting in trouble, or getting an F is never a positive experience, be careful to avoid viewing it as a catastrophe. Fear of never recovering can be a slippery slope, and learning from a mistake or two (or three) is the correct step after a blunder. Take the positive lesson from each experience, set goals, and keep moving forward!
- There is a much bigger world out there for you! Although our world can feel like it is ending when we fail a test or our best friend stabs us in the back, you have your whole life ahead of you. There are thousands of people and experiences waiting for you after high school, and the negative events can’t scare you from opening up once you pass the threshold into the real world!