Being ‘better’…


Imagine you’re in a dark room. You’re told to say the first things that come to your mind when you think of highschoolers, what are they? If I was in that position, I would say: a conglomerate bundle of kids packed up in one place—with people’s voices growing deeper, limbs getting longer, and acne splotching all over our faces. The typical life of teenagers around us. So, what was the point of that question? It was to show how these words describe typical highschoolers—not quite baked and ready, but half risen in the oven with more room to grow. Changes are essential and unavoidable but where we put the effort to change varies from person to person. As a highschool student myself, I’ve grown interested in the concept of discovering who I am. Thoughts like what drives me and what drives my ambition to become a better person have become main focus points in my head. But why am I so obsessed with questioning myself and being so philosophical? Why is self development so important not just to me, but my peers as well?

Starting Point :

You’re in a dark room again, but this time, you are an infant crying—waiting for your mom to come pick you up and console you with a warm embrace. There are two scenarios: Your mom comes to your care, feeds you, tucks you in, and you go to sleep with the feeling of always having security. The second situation—your mom sees your crying and occasionally comes over to you to check up but not feed or pick you up, believing that eventually you will get too tired to keep on crying and will end up putting yourself to sleep. Eventually you do stop crying, left feeling exhausted and sleepy. This experiment is called the Ferber method. The long term outcome of this method has yet to be further explored, but what is shown from this is that from the very start we are all raised differently.

Not everyone starts at the same level playing field. 

This saying has probably been mentioned to you a couple of times in your life. What ‘should’ be and what is the reality, and to believe so otherwise—that the world is ‘supposed’ to be fair and equal—would be ridiculous. As pessimistic as I sound, there are simply too many factors that play a role—factors that we cannot control. 

What I want to say however, is that with this knowledge that the field is quite rocky—we should take the time to understand where others come from—because everyone starts from somewhere.

Learning from Our Mistakes:

No one is perfect. Not you, your parents, your teachers, your idols, heck even those adorable cats on Tiktok. Most people strive to be better human beings and in order to do so, we fall and get up and do it all over again and again. 

We grow up in a society where competition and independence is heavily emphasized. With ideals like those, sometimes our morals become gray with our actions. I believe that setting and discovering our morals and ambitions while we are growing up is vital to the basis of our adulthood. Let’s set another scene: Growing up, your parents have always smacked your hand everytime you did something wrong. You begin to believe that this is the best way to discipline someone—to let them know it was wrong and to not do it again or else they’d feel a stinging pain on their palm. At school, a project is assigned and you and your friend begin to work on it. They accidentally glue a piece of paper on the wrong side of the board. Seeing this, you smack their hand. You get in trouble but don’t understand why— if you do something wrong you smack them on the hand to discipline them right?

Here’s where you make a decision. 

Do you reflect on this situation, try to empathize with them, and learn to communicate the issue at hand…or do you continue your parents’ teachings—discipline with physical hits. I’m not trying to tell you what to do—change can only occur if the person is willing to change—what I am asking is what do you want? What do you believe is right and what is wrong? These situations can occur in other ways like getting criticism on a painting or your sport practice. They challenge you against things you’ve never experienced before— and it will most definitely make you uncomfortable—but decisions like these will pop up in your life and you’re reaction to them is what makes you unique.

Being a teen is the time where we go through so many changes physically and mentally, it’s a time for exploration and realization. When you think back to your childhood and past behaviors, you begin to make connections. Why do I do this? Because five years ago… and so on. We aren’t too young where we haven’t had many experiences but not too old where some beliefs are extremely attached to oneself. I guess in a way, teens are more vulnerable. 

“This baby is me. This is just what happened to me.” -Kikuchiyo (Seven Samurai)

Sometimes, connections are not made until you actively attempt to think about it. Reflecting and making connections is one of the most important ways to understand yourself further. To realize and discover is to self-develop as humans.

Two and Two:

Matt D’Avella has grown a huge following over the last two years. Through his creative content, he’s allowed people to follow along his journey of self discovery and of things that work and don’t work for him. He puts himself through these situations: meditation, waking up at five in the morning, and quitting sugar, all for a month to test the results. These seemingly small experiments play a larger role in life. It sets a basis of discovering yourself at small intervals. As D’Avella once said, “The more we push ourselves into seeking discomfort, the more we open ourselves up to a world of possibility.” Now, it’s also completely okay to not know what you want. As teenagers, we are oftentimes confused and conflicted. I don’t even know what I want in life. But it is important to play an active role in educating yourself on matters you may not understand like societal issues and treating others with respect. The best thing you can do is start. It’s great to plan, but it’s greater to execute. 

Now it’s your turn. Who are you?

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