The time is 7:00 a.m. A girl is brushing her hair and fixing her makeup before school starts. A guy pulls on his new sneakers and does a set of push-ups before leaving the door. Both try to spruce themselves up for the day. But, in reality, both try to create a certain facade to mislead their peers from seeing their internal frustrations. Many teens struggle with self-image issues, especially at school or outside the comfort of their homes.
Peer pressure enforces teenage insecurities on many levels. An insecurity is a feeling of uneasiness or agitation that is triggered by a negative mindset of unworthiness or inadequacy. Students should overlook their minor flaws and attain a more positive attitude about themselves by implementing good personal habits.
First, the physical aspects of growing bodies can bring insecurities to teens. There are numerous things to complain about: weight, height, hair color, etc. Many guys and girls just want to be deemed “normal.” It is easy to say that girls have more to worry about: standards to look pretty, own the cutest clothes, stay skinny and so on. However, guys are more sensitive than they often let on. Guys tend to hide their emotions, insult each other, impress friends and buy the latest gadgets to prove their worth.
If these ideals are not met, teens are left with feelings of abandonment and rejection. Sophomore Jeffrey Chen said he thinks one key to overcoming insecurity is to be slower to judge others.
“Society is structured in a way where people can critically judge others,” Chen said. “We should learn to be less judgmental.”
Still, there are many societal and academic pressures that put immense levels of stress to students. Junior Paula Zubiri said she thinks people constantly try to out-perform the other. Students compete against each other to get into the best colleges and receive a certain level of recognition. Often, teenagers get easily discouraged and don’t try to get back up from temporary setbacks.
When some kids feel academically inferior to their classmates, they pull all the stops to get ahead. They sleep less and might attempt to cheat.
In addition, insecurities can serve as instruments of harmful behaviors. They can incite drug and alcohol abuse, rash decisions and suicide attempts. It comes from a cycle of ill-advised thoughts. If an outside party reinforces that self-inflicted mentality, then those feelings begin to permeate and drive that person to take action.
According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the average age of first marijuana use is 14 and alcohol use can start before age 12. In the events of teenage suicide, The National Institute of Mental Health reported that as many as 25 suicides are attempted for each one that is completed. Such disruptive life choices can permanently scar the life of a teenager. A single insecurity can stem a lifelong battle of addictive behaviors.
In a sense, harboring insecurities can transmit a feeling of comfort. When one is inflicted with despair, she can act out. This reaction draws attention. Therefore, a state of guilty pleasure is mixed in with the power of one’s own downtrodden disposition. Despite this ethereal feeling of comfort, insecurities ultimately lead to the following: broken relationships, aggressiveness, drug and alcohol use, isolation and mental abuse. Instead, people should constantly remind themselves that they are who they are. Physical and personal differences make people unique. Leave encouraging notes. Be cautious and turn away from other sources of negativity. Differences will wash away if people do not fail to recognize their own individualism.
Everyone has insecurities; it is how society faces them that matters. Within the bounds of high school, students should embrace their inner and outer packages. Once self-acceptance is recognized, people will shy away from insecurities and will implement a positive outlook for the future.