"Do people like me?"
"What do kids think of me?"
"Am I boring or ugly or dumb?"
"Will I ever be popular?"
"Should I try and change my personality?"
Amanda is probably an O.K., pretty well put together kid. How do I know that? Because although she's hurting inside, 1) she is in school and not at home in a panic and 2) you don't hear her complaining about how miserable she was the year before in school. I think she's going to be O.K.
Yes, Amanda is suffering and feels alone and confused. But a lot of kids like Amanda don't realize that some pain and confusion go hand in hand with growing up and trying to fit into the world.
Amanda is dealing with questions like:
- "Do people like me?"
- "What do kids think of me?"
- "Am I boring or ugly or dumb?"
- "Will I ever be popular?"
- "Should I try and change my personality?"
I'm sure that many of you out there have asked these very same questions. We all go through periods when we wonder if anyone likes us.
Unfortunately, feeling hurt sometimes is a normal part of growing up.
Not having friends at any age hurts. It can make a kid feel really crummy. Not having friends can make a kid become even quieter and more self-conscious than he already is. But he might be a kid who is smart, good-looking and tremendously talented.
It's sometimes hard to figure out why some kids are popular and others are not. One thing is for sure: Our self-worth should not be measured by what someone else thinks about us. Our feeling of self-worth should come from inside.
Everyone in the world has his own special talents and strengths. Sometimes they are obvious; sometimes it takes time to discover what they are. Nobody on the outside can make us happy. Part of happiness comes when we realize how we are special.
I would suggest to Amanda that she not think only about the kids in her class. She can join clubs outside of school, like at local community centers. Amanda should develop her own interests and hobbies. Maybe she's a good swimmer, or likes to paint. Spending time doing things she likes and succeeds at will give her self-confidence and then she won't feel so dependent on others for her sense of self-worth. Popularity will not be so important to her and as it becomes less important to her, strangely enough, kids may begin to get closer to her simply because she is a happy kid who does interesting things.
Amanda should also keep in mind that over a long period of time kids appreciate other kids who are kind and thoughtful, not just those who seem to dazzle others with their personality.
In addition, one doesn't need a whole football squad of friends to be really happy; just a few good friends who really care about each other.
I say, better a few caring friends than a huge, unconcerned, cold clique.