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Going Against the Crowd: A Guide to Living Independently

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Young children live life on a whim. They are wild and unapologetic, completely ignorant to social constraints. Concepts like acceptance and popularity are non factors since their self-image has yet to be developed. Little by little this serene existence begins to crumble as children are awakened to the harsh judgments of society. This reaches a climax during the middle school/high school years where insecurity and self-doubt cling to students like the plague. To survive such a tumultuous ordeal, many seek refuge in the mob mentality.  

This is nothing to feel ashamed about. Everyone has altered their behavior to better align with their peers at one point or another. It is important to recognize however, that constantly doing so is actually restricting your life. Whenever you let the fear of embarrassment or the desire to conform influence your decisions, you have stopped living for yourself. If you want to reclaim your independence, you need to stop playing safe and begin to live boldly.

To actually start taking risks however, you cannot be afraid to fail. Unfortunately, terror in the face of adversity is a widespread epidemic in today’s society. There are too many individuals who would rather cower in their comfort zone than seize an opportunity whose outcome is uncertain. As more of their peers embrace this apathetic culture, students find themselves pressured to remain stagnant in life. While chasing new experiences can be stressful, remember that it’s not the outcome that matters. Win, lose, fade or thrive, be proud of your efforts and revel in the adventure. By finding the courage to try something new, you will not only build valuable skills, but a stronger character as well.

The question now becomes, how does one cultivate this courage? Once again you must look within, as confidence has long been linked to bravery. Unfortunately, the teenage population as a whole is severely lacking in this regard. This is mainly because students rely on their friends to boost their self-esteem in their younger and more vulnerable years. As fantastic as your surrogate family is, sometimes life forces you to take individual action. Instead of losing yourself in the background, rise to the occasion and radiate your personality. Try practicing this by accepting any opportunity to join an activity. Force yourself to accept that nerves are normal in new situations and soldier on into the unknown. With every positive experience, your confidence will soar. As a result, you will be successful even when your inner circle of besties is not around and you will be able to make more decisions for yourself.   

In today’s technological world  social media, not one’s friends, happens to have the greatest influence over decisions. Users of all ages spend umpteen hours agonizing over their accounts, desperately trying to portray a flawless life. The posts that flood news feeds daily have a habit of making viewers feel insecure about their own lives. As a result, the majority of today’s teens are constantly striving to improve appearances. This means that all decisions, even simple ones like what to wear and which event to attend, are subconsciously based on this deep seeded desire to emulate their peers. If this describes you, a detox from your social media accounts is needed! Spend an entire week free from their influence and notice the sense of independence that you gain. After this purge, try to use these apps in moderation, remembering that your actions should be based on what is best for you, not your desire to blend in.

When your actions are decided by fear, lack of confidence, or the impulse to conform, you are not living independently. Once you take back control, your entire attitude and sense of self worth will improve. By embracing your true self and ignoring the opinions of others, you will have the power to push yourself beyond your limitations, yielding endless possibilities. How you choose to live is your prerogative but know that you are your best self when you are living for yourself!

SchoolTutoring Academy is the premier educational services company for K-12 and college students. We offer tutoring programs for students in K-12, AP classes, and college. To learn more about how we help parents and students in Columbia, Missouri visit: Tutoring in Columbia, Missouri.   

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