So many things in life seem to hinge upon the idea of whether or not we can accomplish something, or that we deserve to have something. Depression, anxiety, and self-esteem, are all based on the concept of how much personal power we feel that we have. In order to successfully become happy and well-adjusted in life, it is essential that a teenager believes they have power over their thoughts, behaviors, choices, and self-worth. If they have left these valuable pieces of themselves to the mercy of the people and institutions around them, they are never going to be able to stand firmly on their own two feet and have the confidence and belief in themselves it takes to be a self-starter and overcome adversity in their lives.
It is such a shame that we don’t learn positive, effective communication in school. We learn vague concepts such as “the golden rule,” but we don’t learn how to really listen, express, and empathize with one another safely and constructively. There are many great books out there for learning to communicate more appropriately. Two of my favorites are Nonviolent Communication and The New People-making. Good communication is essential in happy marriages, friendships, family, jobs, and every other social situation imaginable. If your teen can voice their needs and feelings constructively, and they know how to hear what other people are saying without defensiveness and judgment, they will sail through personal interactions in all arenas.
In our society is can be difficult to be an optimist. Sarcasm, gossip, and negativity seem to blanket most of society. It takes some courage to avoid all of that and to be graceful and uplifting instead. But while most people may be shocked or confused by a teenager that has a positive attitude and high-self-esteem, they will also be very drawn to them, and naturally treat them with kindness and respect.
4. Follow your dreams
This is also a difficult path to take in modern society. While many people do truly follow their dreams, making the “safe” choice is much more socially acceptable. Parents want their teens to get degrees that will lead to high-paying, secure jobs. Allowing them to pursue art or travel instead can seem scary and like you are setting them up for failure. But, as we have seen in countless adults, this really isn’t the right answer. When people do things simply because they have to, they feel angry and bitter inside. These feelings can lead to serious conditions, such as depression and addictions. If your teen truly loves art, and if they are empowered, they will be able to follow this dream to a meaningful career. It is much better for them to start shooting for the moon early in their lives, and the more they are encouraged and shown opportunities in the things that they are passionate about, the more truly successful and happy they will become.
5. Be present
People are always remarking about how quickly time flies. One of the main reasons for this perception is that people tend to live mostly in the past or future. We worry about what has already happened or what we want to happen next. We dwell, worry, wish, and anticipate the good and bad things in our lives, and often forget to just exist in the here and now to experience our lives in full. If we take the time to notice the sights, sounds, smells, and feeling of where we are right now, we will experience a lot more gratitude and contentment. If we take a moment to really look at our spouse’s smile, our dog’s goofy expression, or the painting that our excited toddler brings home from preschool, life feels so much more relaxed and full.
About the author: A former child & family investigator, Fae Frazier Price now devotes her time to raising children and writing.
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