Finding Your Genuine Identity: Be the Best Version of Yourself

Nina Ortiz

You only live once, and life is shorter than most people can comprehend. At times, life can appear to have an endless supply of days. The memories made by high school students become very precious. Although a high school experience is one of the most crucial phases for a teenager, it’s important to break away from the mainstream societal expectations and get to know yourself better. 

Amber Yang from Novato High’s East Annex, discussed her feelings about spontaneous living. 

“I notice that when I need to make a change in my life that involves some sort of risk-taking or stepping outside of my comfort zone, I start to feel reckless, unsatisfied, and anxious. Sometimes when we feel anxiety, we believe we have a mental health problem or that we shouldn’t feel it because it’s uncomfortable. Yet anxiety, when worked with, can be a message saying that there is something in my life that I want to change or look at,” Yang said. 

Most high school students tend to hold themselves back from taking risks because they believe that there is an unlimited pool of future opportunities. Not every opportunity is guaranteed to come around again. People must take chances in life, because they may never be given those opportunities again. 

There are many unknown factors which could affect the futures of teens.  This causes many teens to hold themselves back from experiencing life to the fullest, while potentially missing out on what life really has to offer. 

After discovering the various joys of life, I can share many timeless tips to help you live your best life. I hope they work as well for you, as they worked for me. As you work on incorporating these into your everyday life, you may discover yourself becoming more conscious, more alive, and experiencing life on a different level. 

Decide what’s important to you.

Find the important factors that make you smile. Determine what things you value the most about your life, decide what commitments are most important to you, and spend more time with the ones you love. The more time you spend getting to know yourself, the easier it will be to decide what’s important to you. This shouldn’t be based off what might satisfy others, but what will solely satisfy yourself. Your family, friends, and fellow members of society all have their own opinions, but at the end of the day, you choose how to live your own life. You are not in charge of making anyone else happy but yourself. 

Live in the present. 

Living in the present will take an immense amount of stress off your hands. Although letting go of the past can be difficult at times, it is necessary to move on and continue your journey throughout life. Dwelling on the past is a decision made by nobody but yourself. In order to continue moving toward a positive future, you must let go of the past and the baggage that could accompany it. Asking for help and support from your fellow peers or local mental health professionals can make this decision easier in certain situations. 

Surround yourself with people who love you, and love them back. 

It can be challenging to find people who are open-minded and willing to create a long lasting friendship or relationship with you, but it’s not impossible. Surrounding yourself with people who will be loyal, supportive, loving, and kind is the best way to gain enormous amounts of self-esteem and confidence. After surrounding yourself with people who deserve your friendship, always remember to put in the same amount of love and attention right back toward them. Remind those people that you love them, and care about them. Expressing gratitude is a major key to happiness. Don’t let loved ones leave this earth never really knowing how much they meant to you. 

Keep your mind open.

Live your life with an open mind and prepare to be enlightened by other perspectives. Just because you think you’re right, doesn’t mean you should hold yourself back from listening to the opinions of others. Hearing the ideas and judgements of others, in which you may not agree with, can benefit your brain and inner-self. Having an open mindset can also help you understand where others are coming from, which is important when it comes to sharing the world and avoiding conflicts. In some situations, your opinions may even change. It’s crucial to be flexible and not live with a stubborn mindset.

Take risks, but don’t compromise your values. 

Allow yourself to take risks. Taking risks scares most people, but a life without risks can cause a loss of experiences. For example, I took a risk for my own happiness. I chose to follow my own instincts, over the judgement of my fellow peers. Becoming my own person, making my own executive decisions, and taking full responsibility for my own happiness was a large risk. I was becoming someone I truly wasn’t, for the acceptance from others. I then came to a realization, that I would be myself, regardless of what others thought. The best decision you can make for yourself is to make decisions on your own. 

Yang elaborated on the benefits of risk taking for high school students. 

“High school students can take more risks by getting clear about what they really want. Taking risks looks different for everyone. It could be skydiving, starting a hobby I’ve never done before, getting a new job, or asking someone to be their friend or lover. On other levels, it could be talking to that one parent that you have a hard time connecting with or telling the truth at the expense of it being misunderstood or judged. It could even mean letting yourself feel harder emotions without making yourself or others wrong of it,” said Yang. 

If some of these tips are helpful for you, try incorporating them into your everyday life. Remain conscious of your life decisions, and stop holding yourself back. Allow yourself to live life to the fullest.