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May 5, 2012

Teenhood Today: A nudge toward humility or confidence

Daily Star

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A problem that many people face is the issue of self-esteem. We either hold ourselves too high or we push ourselves too far into the mud.

How many times have you heard someone brag about their looks, talents or ability to make frozen waffles taste like homemade, five-star waffles topped off with juicy strawberries and hand-whipped cream? The first two pop up once in a while, but I hear the last one all the time. It gets annoying. And how many times have you bragged about those things?

A more common sight is people dragging their feet and giving up. They say that they're good at nothing. That they should give up. What's the point of living if you can't write a sonnet, amaze people with your dance moves, or psychically talk to flowers and find out the every desire of a bougainvillea?

Honestly, it doesn't matter what other people think about you. Their opinions will always be changing. If you drag your feet and stare at the dirt on the floor, people are going to think that you are insecure and treat you that way.

But, if you hold your head high and have confidence, people are going to look up to you. You can compare your skills to those of others and become jealous, or you can be proud of your talents and be admired for them.

Chances are, the people who spend their lives bragging are only doing so because they feel insecure. They feel like they're not good at anything and need others' praise in order to feel good about themselves.

Newsflash: everyone has gifts and talents.

No one should have to feel insecure.

Maybe you're not the best artist, but you are very good with people. They seem to open up to you. Ta-da! A gift.

Maybe you're not very athletic, but you can sing like there's no tomorrow. Drum roll … a gift!

Do you think that you're good at nothing? Well, you're not. I guarantee that your friends can find one or two or 50 things that you excel at. Do you think that you are good at everything?

Well, you're not. I guarantee that your friends can find one or two or 50 things that you can't do very well.

My point is that everyone is special and everyone has talents. Even if you feel like you're good at nothing, you're wrong. You are good at something, but maybe you haven't figured it out yet. Look around and open your eyes. I'm sure that you will find a bunch of things that you are good at and enjoy.

Once you've found those things that you excel at, work at them. Perfect them. Enjoy them. Hold your head high, but not too high. Look for those dragging their feet and encourage them to not give up. Tell them that they are special and have gifts and talents. There will always be people with low self-esteem. They just need a little nudge toward confidence. There will always be people with too much self-esteem, they just need a little nudge toward humility.

Miriam A. Thurber is a freshman at Unatego Central School. 'Teen Talk' columns can be found at