Over the next few weeks, I will be writing about various topics that are included in The KARMA Method, the signature coaching and therapeutic method used by Bespoke Wellness Partners. My hope is that these topics will allow you to reflect and make you more aware of where you are on your specific journey with whatever struggles you may be facing. Today's blog was written by 21-year-old intern Katja.
From the outside perspective, my high school experience was every teenager’s dream. I was the girl in high school with a large group of tight-knit friends who looked like she was always happy and having the best time. But little did everyone know I was struggling. It took me a long time to realize why I was so depressed about what was wrong. I would ask my therapist, if I am the cool girl at school with the cool group of friends, why am I so deeply sad? After going through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for the last three years of my high school experience I learned a lot. As confused as I was with my own identity, I realized I felt alone. CBT helped me understand my thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. I learned how to reflect and become aware of my actions and the challenges I was facing.
Each year, I'd like to think we all become a bit more sensible. When I was 16, I looked back at myself when I was 14 and couldn't believe how little I knew. I'm sure I'll feel the same way in two years about how little I know now that I'm 21. Still, if I had known what I know now in high school, I would have felt much more at ease. So here are some pointers that I wish my 21-year-old self could have given to my high school self a few years ago.
Tip #1: Quality over Quantity
Friendships in high school are never going to be easy, but one thing that is for sure is that in every connection, quality is essential. You require companions who are real with you. When everyone else has turned you down, he or she will be the one to stick by you. The person who knows you better than the rest of the world. The person who morally and mentally supports you in your life unconditionally. People may think you're a cool person if you have a lot of friends. What about you, though? You can hang out with tons of people and have a great time, but at the end of the day, when you need a journal to confess, are you really content with such a fleeting friendship?
Tip #2: Be True to Yourself
High school is a period of great transition. You are constantly under some type of pressure, whether social or academic. If you want to be true to yourself, you must accept that you cannot please everyone. Believe me, I've tried before. There will be those who like you and those who dislike you. If you strive to be everyone's friend, you will ultimately have to change yourself to fit in with certain groups. So, even though it seems difficult, be loyal to yourself; your genuine friends will come to you eventually, and you'll get to preserve your beautiful personality too!
Although staying true to oneself is mostly an individual and personal endeavor, the people you surround yourself with might have an unexpected impact on remaining true to yourself. It’s easy to become consumed with trying to make friends with the right people, but if they mold you into someone you are not, that connection is unhealthy.
Tip #3: Confidence is Key
Self-image and feelings of weakness can become overwhelming, making it difficult to perceive ourselves honestly. While self-esteem is important for gaining confidence, so is optimistic thinking. To gain this crucial skill, you must first recognize every emotion you are experiencing. Then you must express yourself in a favorable manner. The third stage is to do things that will get you closer to your objective, even if they are difficult. Finally, you must stop negative self-talk since what you say about yourself has an impact on how you feel about yourself. Unknowingly, joking about or calling yourself dumb can have a profound effect on you over time. So, even if you're not sure about your personality or physical appearance, fake it 'til you make it!
Finally, my advice is to surround yourself with people who will accept you for who you are and will not settle for anything less. Accept that people you are friends with now may not be in your life in the long term, which is probably for the best. And if you haven't yet found those individuals who accept you for who you are, don't worry; you will.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is one of the core approaches used in the KARMA Method, which is used at Bespoke Wellness Partners. If you or a high schooler you know is struggling, it can never hurt to reach out for some professional help.
I hope you find this blog helpful!