It’s time to recognize the importance of “putting yourself out there”

Canva work by Tatum Brennan

Canva work by Tatum Brennan

Tatum Brennan, Health Editor

Courage is defined as the ability to do something that frightens a person. As we grow up, we notice a shift in our behaviors due to the people we hang out with. It becomes harder to have the courage to stand up for what is right or do something outside of our “ norm” when we become overly concerned about the approval of others. 

What do we do when we start to blend into the surrounding walls? We usually allow the safety of blending in to take over. I used to be this person. I would hide in the shadows of my friends and let them lead me to what they wanted to do, and I never considered myself and my passions. The fear of being different from everyone else sometimes brought me to tears. This feeling grew a lot worse for me when I entered middle school. I was already having a hard enough time with self-image and insecurities that the thought of standing out was too scary to comprehend. 

The middle school experience is bizarre; everyone feels the need to blend in with the crowd — to become a wallflower. It wasn’t until high school that I began to do independent activities without worrying about others judging me. It is very effortless to allow yourself to fall into the vicious cycle of being a constant people pleaser, someone everyone considers helpful and kind. No one wants to be disliked, especially by their closest friends. 

I don’t like to say this, but, as people, we convey a message by doing everyday tasks. The activities (or lack of activities) show what we stand for. Your mental and physical health improves when you consider your emotions before your friends, family, and mentors. Utah State University conducted a study relating to this within the past few years and concluded that creating new hobbies for yourself—and only yourself—has many benefits. Confidence is known to skyrocket significantly when you learn to put yourself and your passions before others. 

“From personal experience, when you join a club, job, or extracurricular for yourself and not for others, you begin to have a purpose in life,” said LBHS health teacher Michelle Foster. “Studies have clearly shown that this is the key to success.”

Many teenagers struggle to find ways to be productive—and no, being on your phone doesn’t count as productive. Most of us wake up, go to school, go home, do homework, maybe do an after-school activity and go home to repeat the same cycle in the days that follow. This becomes very draining after an extended amount of time, so finding ways to find those holes in between with activities only for yourself is essential and valuable. Some examples could be yoga, reading, painting, dance, and hiking. You can always find productive ways to be yourself around others. From personal experience, I joined Journalism, not knowing that I would enjoy it as much as I do now. Frankly, I only knew it because of the Gilmore Girls. I now feel more confident in myself in all areas due to my choice. Vulnerability doesn’t mean you aren’t fearful; it means you have control over the fear itself. 

Insecurities will inevitably arise in your teen years, and you’ll allow them to take over. Still, it is crucial to remember that your life doesn’t revolve around the feelings of others around you. Let your high school experience allow you to thrive. 

“Always remember to do what is best for yourself and your well-being,” said Foster.