Welcome back to our regular feature offering advice to students on aspects of family/friend/personal relationships. In the hot-seat is Rosie, a current 6th former at Kesgrave High School and a founder member of the Student Life steering group.
Usually I sit here and witter on about the importance of our relationships with the people around us; family, friends, partners, and teachers. However, this time, if I may, I want to focus on a different kind of relationship, and that is the relationship that we have with ourselves.
I know it sounds corny, but it is often our teenage years in which we truly find out who we are, and it’s important for our confidence, our mental health and our general outlook on life that we like the person we are. Many people find it hard to spend time alone, and feel anxious without the company of others, and sometime this can be a sign that we aren’t comfortable with who we are. Or perhaps we find it difficult to accept compliments because we don’t agree with what other people think about us. None of these reasons necessarily mean that we should change who we are, but rather we should work on accepting who we already are and building a relationship with ourselves.
The best way to do this is ‘me time’. Even if you find it hard at first, try and spend time by yourself, and find something you like to do. Many of us would probably argue that we can already do this; we put the TV on, listen to music, or browse YouTube, but these activities aren’t necessarily alone time. It is a commonly accepted notion that using media, and the voices and images of others is a way of making ourselves feel less alone, so that we aren’t alone with ourselves. Try something such as exercise, artwork, reading or yoga.
If you really can’t face doing things without feeling someone else is there, then try taking yourself out somewhere. I know it sounds scary, but try going to the cinema by yourself; treat yourself to a drink and snacks, but try and go alone. Spending time by yourself is a great way of building self-esteem and growing to love the person you are.
There are of course other things that you can do to improve your relationship with yourself, such as how you see yourself compared to others, and that is; don’t compare yourself to others. I know it’s hard, especially today when we live in a world of social media and celebrities, whereby consumerism and advertising shapes everything around us, but really stop and think about it when you find yourself comparing other people to who you are. Does it really make a difference? Would your life really be that different if you had hair as naturally straight as the girl on your Instagram feed? Not really. Would you live a totally different life if your body was as toned as the guy on Snapchat? Probably not. Whilst it seems important, it really isn’t. Look at all the great things about you and try to encourage yourself to see them as good, unique things to you, that do not require comparison between other people; they are them, but you are you.
However, I think the most important thing you can do, is practice and value your self-care. Make sure you eat healthily and consider what foods you are putting into your body and how they are going to make you feel. At the same time, treat yourself! Don’t feel as though you have to live a super-strict diet of nothing but pure goodness, allow yourself treats and goodies, but consider the overall impact they will have on you. Stay hydrated and ensure you get all the necessary vitamins your body needs. Improve your hygiene and bathroom routine by switching to toiletries made from natural resources, not harsh chemicals. Exercise, but find one that you enjoy; don’t force yourself to run if you don’t like to run! And finally, do what you love! Do what makes you happy, regardless of what other people think of it because guess what? It’s your life, and so it’s up to you to make the right choices to live the best one you can, which all starts with loving the person who is embarking on this crazy journey…you!!