It isn’t worth trying to change the world, it is enough not letting the world change you
Growing up is a hard thing to do. Having a younger sister, makes me remember and realise the effort it takes as a teenager not to crumble under social and media pressures. Society has this ideal of perfection which is pushed upon us through television, magazines, marketing and pop stars. It’s a wonder women and men are able to even surface the light of day to show our weary faces?
Fortunately I have a wonderful teenage sister, she suffers from the odd insecurity and self-doubt that surrounds all teens, having arguments in school, being ignored and rejected by your peers at some level. Maybe she doesn’t think the latest boy is cute or want to engage in the general silliness of teenagers, she is very sensible, but I think growing up with 3 older sisters has given her better coping skills better than most. We constantly remind her how important, beautiful and special she is. She knows that in life there is more important things than what lipstick you wear to school or what boy notices you in science. Obviously on some level she does care but she concentrates on her future mainly. She focuses on achieving her grades to be better. I think coming from a single parent family she has the ethos from my mum and us, her sisters that you have to work hard In life to get the job you love, enjoy and can earn good money in.
Often, she says that she doesn’t feel pretty and I can’t help blame Instagram, Facebook and the media for this lack of self belief. I have Instagram myself but I think growing up in an era without it, it wasn’t part of my social development, so I didn’t base my self worth around how many likes or dislikes I received from social platforms. Teenagers these days grow up with social media, therefore it is impacting their psychosocial development. Now more than ever, youngsters become reliant on self-esteem boosts from Instagram and Facebook to fund their self-worth.
Self-worth should be taught from a loving family unit where they instil the idea of beauty as a multi faceted ideal. This ideal is one that incorporates good manners and treating people politely and learning that the world is filled with people of different creeds, looks and demeanors. They learn that people do not deserve to be judged soley by the way they appear. Judgement happens quickly. I’m as guilty as the next at judging too quickly, but we should be trying harder to teach our teens who live in a world of validation through virtual products, that self-development and beauty is all but skin deep.
We all have worries. I dye my hair and take enjoyment in dressing up to look nice, but over the years I’ve learnt that I can’t get happy by looking for validation from others. I just wish teenagers would learn this too.
Social media should be taken out of kids hands and only introduced later in their development. How can we do that now, when the world is all about trending on Twitter and who gets the most likes on Facebook? We are all guilty so how can we break the cycle of our teenagers basing beauty on the amount of likes they get on their current Instagram photo.
Let us all take a moment and remember that beauty is skin deep.