Ask Amy Question:  

Dear Amy,
I’m writing cause I feel lost.  I want to be my true self, you know – authentic, but every time I try I feel self-conscious.  I don’t belong and I don’t know why.  I’m 15, and have a few friends but I don’t feel popular or cool and it wears me down.  It seems like one of the most important things in people’s lives who are my age.
And don’t even get me started as far as guys.  The girls who seem happy and comfortable with themselves all have boyfriends.  And I’ve never had one.  How can I make my life suck less?
From,
“Want to be myself”

Ask Amy Answer

Dear “Want to be myself,”

Confidence can be cultivated.  And it sounds like you need a serious dose of it.  Sometimes you have to ‘fake it till you make it.’  You’ll have to trick yourself into being confident by, well  . . . being confident – behaving like you already are confident.  Let’s do an exercise to get you in the mood to act confidently.

Cultivate Confidence

What is positive about you?  What do you excel at?  When do you make great decisions for yourself or to help another?  How do your friends describe you positively?  List at least twenty great things about yourself and write them down.  Post these on the wall in your closet and read at least ten aloud every morning as you get dressed.  It may seem a little silly but try it.  When we speak aloud to ourselves we are programming our cells.  So, it’s a great idea to do that with positive statements.
Here are some examples: “I am kind to myself and others.”  “I choose healthy foods for my body.”  “I like the perfect shape of my toe nails.”  “I am glad that I enjoy math so much.” “My status updates are really witty and fun.”  “I am a creative person.”

Fitting in can seem really crucial and important but keep in mind a few things.  Like in Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, those who are outside the box types often prosper in life.  They take chances that bring results that stem from their creativity.  Look at Richard Branson, the CEO of Virgin Atlantic Airlines, he is a very outside the box guy.  He is certainly popular now, but he doesn’t exactly fit in with many people because of his uniqueness.  When he was in high school do you think he was in the popular clique, I highly doubt it.  I bet he was a quirky, slightly eccentric guy who people didn’t quite get.
When you’re in high school it seems like the whole world is going to be that same cliquey way; it isn’t.

Even college is a whole new world of people respecting and appreciating each other’s differences.  So, hang in there and in the meantime find some clubs or groups that resonate with you now.  Maybe chess club, lacrosse, fantasy football club, art club, volunteer groups, an environmental conservation club at school or volunteering for Greenpeace.  Find some people who are into what you are, even if they are not in high school.

In high school, guys are overrated.  They’re still generally immature and they are all definitely giant balls of hormones.  Since girls are too that can sometimes seem like euphoria for both guys and girls; it is chemically induced.  That is what you see from the girls with boyfriends who radiate giddy bliss.  Chemicals, hormones, and a false sense of self that comes from only believing you are okay if guys are falling all over you.  In high school, being hot is probably one of the most high status, coolest, things you can be.  But a lot of us don’t get “hot” until college or even a bit after.  Some women I know end up getting super hot in their 30s.
Have patience with your life and don’t rush the boyfriend thing, just let it happen at the right time for you.

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