Who Are We?
By Amelia Johnson
Who are we? A question a lot of people ask themselves every day. And as teenagers, we are expected to know the answer to this? As children, we are frequently asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. Normally kids respond with things like, ‘firemen, astronauts, or policemen.’ But is that what we really become? Are we represented by the role we play in our society or the people we are inside? Is this who we really are?
As we all go through the struggle of puberty, we all have our very own quarrels and problems that pop up along the way. Some of us grow up with a sense of confidence in ourselves, a belief that our opinion of ourselves and the people around us, is the only one we should consider. This is an extremely positive view, and for many of us hard to do. Most of us grow up with less confidence, worried over what others think, if our friends will like our new haircut, or other little things. This is completely normal, and just another common bump in a teenager’s twisting road. However, a quarter of Australian youth will have more frequent worries. They might feel like a lurking darkness or nasty thoughts are always surrounding them. This can lead to depression, and anxiety. A simple “hey are you ok?” to the people you care about and value can change everything. Being kind to people and giving them the support, they need can save lives. Whilst you might not experience any mental illness, your friend or sibling might.
After all, we all go through our own and unique experiences and at times, it feels like we might give up. However, in the end, those small or large blips in our life shape and form the basis of who we are as people. To think these tiny choices and silly mistakes you make as a young person can shape the morals and ethics that you will believe in. Changes your whole perspective, doesn’t it?
A study performed by The University of California, showed that around 60% of teens, have experienced discrimination, from other teens. These are the people we surround ourselves with every day. Our friends, our peers, everyone that is walking by us every day at school. That means that ⅔ of Australia's teenagers, experience some form of harassment, or bullying, or even just some year 12 yelling at you or pushing you out of the way every now and again. But for 12% percent of these people, this discrimination is handed out on a daily basis. You could be told that you aren't smart enough for that, or you don't exactly have the perfect body, or even just rejected without any explanation. Have you ever been told no by someone? There isn't a good reason, they just look at you up and down and say, no. That's heartbreaking. That one little word, that one small phrase, could change a young girl, or young boy’s life forever.
According to Butterfly Foundation more than 1 in 3 Australians aren't happy with the way they look. That means that young and old, male and female, 40% of all of those people, are not happy with their body, or their face. What's even more disturbing, is that 73% percent of people want to change the way they look. All over the world, people of all ages, 14- or 50-year olds are looking in the mirror hating their body: hating the way their stomach bulges, or how their eyes are too far apart. One of these people might even be your own family member. Doesn't that hurt you? Someone you care about, hating themselves? Thinking that that person over there is way prettier. Or that social media model’s body is so perfect! We must do our very best to help others with their body image problems and remind them that they are beautiful just the way they are. Compliment someone, tell them you love their new outfit or their haircut. You never know who might need it.
We all have people in our lives. Individuals who respect us and help us, and others who tell us that we don't look good enough in our favourite outfit, or those people over there are laughing at you. But we have to remember that those people over there, the ones you thought were laughing at you, might actually be experiencing their own moment of self-consciousness. Who knows? They might be thinking that you were staring at them and judging. We all go through ups and downs in our lives, and we don’t always come out on top, but other people are living through the exact same thing. Thinking and saying and doing all the things that you believe you are being judged for. This just shows that we are all the same in some ways. No matter our skin colour, gender or race.
We are all amazingly talented individuals, that are unique and extraordinary, people who change the world one day and live in it the next. People, that no matter what in this day and age, stand by each other, and support our ideas, emotions, and plans. Because we all share something in common. We are all human, and to be human is to make mistakes. Not being perfect, not being that fireman, you wanted to be as a child. Not having that perfect life that you planned for yourself. Having a life that changes every day. Something where you are walking along a road and you are not sure what is going to be there when you turn the corner. That is who we are.
* Cover image by Lisa Runnels from Pixabay
** The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Woke magazine.