I've not always been confident. I've had days when I felt I could take on the whole world come what may and there have been days when I could barely get out of bed.
I hate the whole world and everybody in it; I feel trapped and out of control.
I've suffered intense feelings of insecurity and inferiority where I wished I were someone else. I wished I was more beautiful, more handsome, had better teeth, cooler parents, and attended a better school.
The fact that I was a teenager and that I was supposed to be resilient didn't make my struggles any easier to bear. It was like trying to breathe underwater. I was drowning and feared that every breath I drew would be my last.
I have learned 3 things in my journey I believe will help you. The first is:
1. Be Kind to Yourself:
It's very easy to beat yourself up for not being strong enough, tough enough.
You tell yourself harshly to get it together. So and so has it in the bag. It is easy to compare your weakness to someone else's strength and find yourself lacking.
What you fail to realize is that it's an unfair comparison and you are not judging on the same parameters. It's easy to beat ourselves up and not empathize with ourselves.
The truth is, you are strong. You are beautiful. You are amazing. Someone somewhere is praying to be just like you.
So give yourself time to heal. The feelings you have, the struggles, emotional, mental or physical is your body telling you to pay attention.
Your struggles are that part of you that need healing, love, gentleness and care.
Be kind to yourself. Be patient. Treat yourself with the tenderness you would a dear friend.
Sometimes being kind to yourself requires that you get help. Help might be in the form of talking to your parents, getting advice from your counselors or teachers or seeing a therapist.
There is no shame in admitting you need help. No, it's a kind of strength and courage.
2. You don't have to be like everybody else:
You know the seemingly perfect people you keep comparing yourself to (if only in your mind)? Guess what? They have weaknesses just like you do; they have their own inner struggles though they seem to hide it better.
You don't need to be like everybody else. The world expects you to conform, society demands it. But you choose.
You have a choice. Do you prefer staying in to read to going to the birthday party of that boy or girl you are not even friends with? Then stay in.
Don't let anyone tell you different. I know it can be difficult going against the grain. I can imagine the peer pressure. High school can look like your whole life but I assure you it isn't. There is college and real life after that.
So keep your eye on the big picture. It's OK to want to paint rather than play football. Your choices are valid if you choose to play baseball. It's your life and you decide what you do with it.
But while you do these things, do it productively. It cool to spend time playing baseball, researching the internet etc., but it's not cool doing that at the expense of other important activities.
But I think it's great that you are figuring out what you want right now. The pressure to conform doesn't get easier at any age.
Self-discovery is an exciting and exploratory journey so don't allow anyone stand in your way, not society or even your peers.
3. You don't have to be tough (all the time):
Have you heard the statement "Men don't cry." I remember listening to Fergie's song "Big girls don't cry". I disagree.
Big girls do cry and guys too (or should).
Men are not encouraged to show their emotions and the only emotions they are allowed to express is anger. I think that's sad. Women have been labeled emotional crybabies that cry at the drop of a hat. Why do we keep reinforcing stereotypes?
We all have things we struggle with, things we are not so proud of, both men and women, and we should be allowed to express our disappointments, pain or regret any way we choose.
You are allowed to not be tough all the time; you are allowed to feel sad. You are allowed to cry. You are allowed to need someone to lean on.
Having good friends to lean on is a great way to be vulnerable, to be kind to you. To have friends who have your back through thick and thin. These people are not always found in the popular crowd.
It's so important that you come to appreciate your struggles and see them for what they are: a blessing in disguise.
The friends you make as a result of your struggle are people who love you for you. They will always be there for you. They have seen you at your lowest and you can be sure that they will be there for you at your highest.
Lastly, you are special. You're not worthless. You are not your depression or mistakes. You are here by design. You have a purpose. So find it, excel. Love yourself no matter what and be there for others.
We need each other because nobody can live in isolation.