edited: Monday, May 05, 2003
By Krissy Brady
Posted: Tuesday, February 04, 2003
Become a Fan
Get Exactly What You Want Out of Life
Let’s face it—our lives are not a Full House episode: our parents do not knock on our bedroom door five seconds after we’ve had an argument or a bad day, give us cheesy advice, hug us and then move on. We all have conflicts that last longer than thirty minutes, and that never have a pianist playing in the background. Our conflicts are what define us, and can be what motivate us to get what we want out of life; literally anything we want can be ours. Conflicts that occur are never simple to get through and often have us doing a lot of fighting with ourselves and others, but it’s what we do after we overcome the conflict that is important. Of course, you have to get through the conflict first, and that can be done with changes in your perspective and in your lifestyle.
Let yourself be human, and let others too
It is very easy to begin feeling that, in order to be popular or to have self-esteem, you have to be perfect, and that perfection rules all. Do not follow through with this feeling, or you will find yourself wasting a lot of time chasing after something that doesn’t exist. It is easy to think that everyone except you is perfect, but keep in mind that you don’t see them all the time—everyone does at least one dorky thing a day, and for the most part we only see what we want to see, not what is actually there. A person could make a mistake right in front of your eyes, but to you, their mistake is even perfect. “It isn’t healthy to idealize people,” explains Dr. Michael Fenichel, a clinical psychologist residing in New York City. “If you view things as all-good vs. all-bad, it can really lead to problems throughout your life.” Don’t just let yourself be human, let others be human too. Also, keep in mind that others view you the same way you view them. Although you feel extremely transparent when you’re going through a problem, no one knows about it unless you talk about it. Let go of the little details of the day that you feel went wrong, because it’s not likely others feel the same way.
Become an admirer
Even though others are not going through the exact same experiences as you are, it is likely they have gone through similar. Find a person who has gone through an experience similar to the one you are going through, one who makes you feel comfortable and confident, and become their admirer. If they have gone through a similar experience and survived, they can be your motivation to do the same.
Shrink your vocabulary
When striving for something that is important to you, your biggest enemy could be living in a negative household. Parents are human too—they struggle with themselves, paying bills, but most of all trying to be the best influence they can be on their children. This is something that is not always successful, whether they realize it or not. While there is a lot of pressure being a teenager, there is even more pressure being the parent of a teenager. Parents who have struggled with money problems all their lives or with terrible habits may feel beaten down, leaving little room for positive thoughts. So if you come home from school and you are really excited about something, you may not get the reaction from your parents you feel you deserve. This could make you feel as if the good news isn’t good anymore, or you may feel as if there was no point to being happy about it in the first place. This is where you need to shrink your vocabulary: get rid of all the negative words currently existing in it.
“I know it can be very difficult tuning out anger or hurt in order to focus on other things, especially if you are really upset.” says Dr. Fenichel, “Rather than completely avoid the task, it might be a good idea to call one of your friends, or IM them, and talk it out, if at the moment the ‘negative’ elements (i.e. your parents) are unwilling to talk things through. However, if you or your parents can apologize and come to a compromise, that’s a real accomplishment in itself.” Your determination to be positive and work through problems will better your life, improve your relationships, and possibly even rub off on your parents.
All my independent women
Although it is good to lean on others when you are going through a hard time, you still need to have a great deal of independence, and that includes remaining a clear and independent thinker. Even though others can make you feel better temporarily, it is up to you to do it permanently. Friends and family can help to change the external, but you have to change the internal. Everyone deals with conflict differently: some are very easy going, others need control, but all survive. You need to know yourself well in order to decide when to take the necessary steps in becoming the person you want to be. Keep a picture in your mind of what you want the outcome of the conflict to be, and each day feel as if that picture is being drawn closer towards you. It is a technique that will help you mentally mark your progress, and will motivate you to fight even more for what you want.
Keep things in perspective
When things get stressful, or if you start to feel like your problems aren’t getting better, the best way to put things back into perspective is to find a focus. Find something you like doing every day, or every other day that will help you get through your feelings of hopelessness and that will motivate you to continue striving towards your goals. Examples include:
- listening to music
- playing a sport
Another way to keep things in perspective is to find a “spot”, a place to go where you can relax and put your thoughts away for a while. It is always necessary to take a break from what you are working on, or you will end up feeling tired and unmotivated.
Be there for yourself
If you don’t feel comfortable talking to others about your problems, or are a shy person, you can still get the help you need through self-help books. You can read them privately, you can choose when you want to work on your conflicts, and best of all, you won’t have to worry about being self-conscious. A book can’t judge you; you could read the book in your underwear and it wouldn’t know the difference. Get the help you need to overcome your conflicts, but do it only how you feel comfortable.
What to do next?
Well, that is completely up to you. Conflicts can be used to your advantage, as they help you to learn new things about yourself and about life in general. Always make sure you have goals for yourself. Conflicts are the hardest to get through if you aren’t able to envision where you want to be after the conflict is resolved. “And don’t forget,” says Dr. Fenichel, “the Chinese symbol for ‘crisis’ involves two meanings: crisis and opportunity. Successfully weathering a crisis and learning from it that you are resilient and can grow, is the ideal response to moving on afterwards.” Start small, don’t push yourself, and you’ll get exactly what you want out of life.