Everyone is special. I know this may sound incredibly cliché, but it’s true. Have you ever met two separate people who are exactly the same? My guess is that you haven’t. This is because every single person is different from each other in their own different way, both physically and mentally. Most people know this and generally accept this as true, but despite this, our society expects us to “fit in” and “be normal.” We’re supposed to conform to certain standards, and if you don’t, well, you’re not as good as everyone else. This pressure to conform can be really hard on a person, especially teenagers. Since we’re still discovering who we are as people, this pressure can be detrimental to our confidence and happiness. I believe that everyone should be able to be their own unique self and feel safe to express themselves without being worried about what others may think.

I am very lucky when it comes to having a safe place to express myself. I have the best friends who I can be completely myself around, and I have a loving and supportive family. The thing is, some people don’t necessarily have that luxury. They don’t have a community where they feel safe to completely express themselves and therefore feel as though they have to hide their true identities. I don’t think that’s fair. I don’t think it’s fair that we have to deal with these pressures of fitting in. Pressures that can cause issues like depression or anxiety to develop or worsen in us. Pressures that can cause us to think less of ourselves or to have less confidence in ourselves. The fear of “not being good enough” is something that many of us have today, and is something that I believe needs to be changed in our world.

So how do we go about changing this? We’ve established that societal pressures of “being normal” are not a good thing, but it’s not like we can create a perfect world with a snap of our fingers. So where do we begin? Well we should start by being more accepting towards others. You may not agree with someone about something, and that’s ok, but listen to what they have to say. Someone might be a bit different from you, and that’s ok, just respect who they are, and maybe if you get to know them, you might learn something. We could learn so much from each other if we just listened and collaborated together. So much progress could be made in the world if we learned how to respectfully work with one another, and not insist that your opinion is the only one that matters. No one is normal and no one has to be normal to be an amazing person. If we all learned that, I believe that we could make our world a better and happier place.

 

CC BY-SA 4.0 The Value of a Safe Place by marshalls19 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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Youth Voices is organized by teachers at local sites of the National Writing Project and in partnership with Educator Innovator.

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