Did High School Ever End?

11 Apr

For some it comes naturally, for others it’s a little more difficult.  In High School, popularity is one of those things that is coveted by many and understood by few.  Although cliche ideas about popularity change as you mature into adulthood, side affects from being “un-cool” in school can scar you for years.

The band Bowling for Soup sings a song called “High School Never Ends”. The song talks about how the popularity contest that existed in High School just gets exaggerated once we enter the real world. I think that the message actually rings true for many of us:

The whole damn world is just as obsessed
With who‘s the best dressed and who‘s having sex,
Who‘s got the money, who gets the honeys,
Who‘s kinda cute and who‘s just a mess
And you still don’t have the right look
And you don’t have the right friends
Nothing changes but the faces, the names, and the trends
High school never endsreece

It goes on to talk about the modern celebrities that fill various high school stereotypes: the Prom Queen (Reece Witherspoon), the captain of the chess team (Bill Gates)

brad pitt

Even if its true that high school social strata keep going and going and goings like a Taylor Swift song on the radio a month after release… why does it matter?  Why does it matter what you were like in high school? How does that affect you right now?

It shouldn’t affect you at all and yet when you think about your preferences for friends, activities, and beliefs many of them were shaped in high school because of what you were like or what you wanted to be like. Some people are able to completely break free from their high school self but many of us feel bound to some aspect of our moody, hormonal teenage selves.  All of this being said, I’ve noticed one social problem that almost everyone carries over from their high school years: the belief that other people are cooler than they are.

Have you ever looked at someone and thought about how cool their clothes were? Or their personality? Maybe you liked their boyfriend? Or their body?

How does doing this make you feel?

Its not bad to look at someone and appreciate their good qualities, the problem comes when you start to measure yourself on their yardstick.  When you look at someone and believe that you will never be as good as they are, you’re falling into the trap of self comparison.  We perpetuate the self comparison that we learned in our high school years by mentally putting others above us.  When I think of the word “above” I think of someone on a pedestal standing over me watching me.  Honestly, it makes me a little bit uncomfortable to be around them because I feel like they’re looking down on me. As I’ve noticed myself doing this over the years, I’ve made an interesting observation:

The unfortunate thing about putting people above you is that it forces you to lower yourself.

Why would you ever do that?!  Lets pretend that you just met a girl who was really pretty, smart, talented, funny, interesting, and had every other desirable quality that you could possibly want and the first thing that she said when she met you was, “Oh my… you are ugly, fat, and boring. You’re a poor excuse for a human being, why did you even leave the house today? I don’t like you at all.”

Would you take it personally?Pretty girl

no way.

You would think to yourself, who does that girl think she is? Who is she to say that about me?! What a pimple puss drinking harpy!!  How DARE she?

If someone is obviously going to be THAT mean to you without knowing you then they aren’t worth your time.  What usually happens when you meet a person that seems to be perfect in every possible way is that they are  nice to you. Sometimes there is weird popular girl rudeness in movies but honestly, it doesn’t happen very often in real life.  At least, its never happened in my life. (If its happened to you then I would love to hear the story!)

When you meet someone who seems “perfect” your natural inclination is to pull out that yardstick to start measuring. Its your job to find some flaw… some fault!  What is their kryptonite??

When you lower yourself down by putting other people above you, it leaves you in a weak and vulnerable state.  You have to measure because you need to find something good about yourself.  You need a shot of confidence. What if you didn’t have to find the flaws in other people? What if you could put that measuring stick away and never take it out again?

All you have to do is realize and believe that everyone is equal.  Every. Single. Person.

We all struggle.  We all have joy. We’re all afraid of things.  We’re insecure.  We all hope for a better future.  We all eat.  We all mess up.  We all have secrets.  We feel lonely. We all fart. We all have dreams.  We want to seem cool.  We want to punch people when they make us angry.  We hate to fail.  We want to be happy.

The next time you meet someone who intimidates you, remember that.be kind

Whenever I meet someone that intimidates me I remind myself that they are not higher than me or lower than me: we’re on different planes.  No measuring stick is necessary because we’re in completely different places.  When you actually think about life and all of the different experiences that we go through, you realize that it is impossible to compare yourself to someone else.  There isn’t a measurement device in existence that could do it.

Its time to break your measuring stick.  Break it in half, throw it away, and embrace every single person that comes into your life. It doesn’t matter how much cooler or better they may seem to you, their life is probably just as miserable and wonderful as yours is.  High school is over, and its time to respect and accept everyone you meet.

As I’ve changed the way I look at those around me, it has enriched my life and opened the door to make beautiful friendships that I never would have pursued.

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