Written By: Ryan Hesslau
A struggle every average teen has to deal with is acceptance. We all want to be part of a group or clique and when you think about it, we’ll do whatever it takes to get into that group. During this process, it doesn’t always end for the better. Most of the time when we are trying to be accepted, it takes a turn for the worst and we don’t even realize it. We will be opened up to various temptations. Temptations such a drinking, smoking, trying a drug you’re not familiar with, shoplifting, or
verbally/physically abusing another individual. For some reason when we are in these situations, we place all our trust in the individuals pushing us to do something you know is not right. As teenagers we feel we’re invincible. We feel nothing can harm us, nothing can come back to us, and we feel the things we hear on the news or in movies, won’t happen to us.
Even though a majority of the temptations we experience are obviously harmful to us, I’m mainly looking at harassing someone for acceptance. I’ll be completely honest with you and say that I was once a bully, and I only did it so I could be part of the “popular crowd.” I remember in 6th grade we all sat down at this lunch table. Then this kid that everyone found awkward and weird came and sat at the end of the table. My “friends” all look at each other, smirk, and stand up to move to another table. I obviously knew it wasn’t right. As they were standing, I was still sitting, staring at this kid. You could tell in his eyes how emotionally hurt he was by our actions. Then I hear “hey man, you coming?” and being the guy I was, I stood up to go with my friends, leaving the kid sitting there alone. As I was walking away, I had a knot in the pit of my stomach, knowing the mistake I had made. It wasn’t worth it. Want to know something about that kid? His brother died at the beginning of that year. A year later, after this incident, he lost his other little brother. Then one week later, he lost his dad to suicide. Was it worth it? I’ve heard of too many stories about kids who go above and beyond to make a kid’s life hell, to only help build up their self-esteem, as well as being accepted by their friends. Why? There’s no reason to emotionally destroy the life of a kid who has a hard life without that . You don’t know their life. You don’t know what they go home to. You don’t know the struggles they deal with. People are not as put together as they may seem.
Those kids I wanted to be accepted by, their lives are now focused on negative things. They are headed in the wrong direction. They aren’t going anywhere in this life because the only focus is themselves. It was by no means worth it. That situation is something I will always remember. You need to realize the emotional effects that you can put on someone. You don’t need to tear down someone else, to build up yourself. If you are causing someone to experience emotional pain simply because the group you want to be accepted by thinks its “cool” or “funny”… maybe it’s time reevaluate the consequences of your actions. You could be the reason that someone doesn’t pursue a passion, a life plan, or a conviction to make the world a better place. That’s a lot of destruction placed on your shoulders. They may never tell you that you’re the reason they couldn’t bear to carry on in the comfort that they used to feel at school, but they shouldn’t have to. You should have the audacity to be able to decipher what is right or wrong, and make the right decision. Is it really worth
the emotional pain of some other kid to be accepted into a group? What makes you think that that group you want so badly to be a part of wont turn around and do the same thing to you? A majority of the time, the kids you try to get accepted by, are out of your life before you know it. Look at me for instance. Was it worth it? Live your life with the people that will accept you for who you are, don’t change yourself for someone else. It never ends well and it just screws you up in the long run. Equality is key. Love each other. The only way you will get through life is being yourself
and doing what you love; acceptance is just an easy way of getting what you want by risking everything: for yourself or at the cost of others. It is never worth it. Live your life. Be a source of love in someone else’s life and most of all…Be foreverU.
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