If I am honest with myself, I know the truth: I don't always like me! I know this because in everything I do, I make sure I am one-up on the others around me. I choose people to be my friends who may be considered by others to be beneath me. I guess I do this because it makes me feel superior to them.
I guess I am saying I feel better about me when I am with people whom even I assess as not as good as me. I can lead them and I am not challenged by them to be accountable or to improve, because together we all become underdogs who are misunderstood. I become a victim with them, but I am their hero because I know I am superior in more than just a couple of ways. I am really more of a loser than I first thought. I am admitting to myself that sometimes I select friends based on whether I can be the leader and not have anyone challenge me or hold me accountable to become a better person.
It is time for me to be honest with others and myself. First off, I need to apologize to the friends I have now for using them to feel better about me. I need also to apologize to them for judging them without them knowing how I have been using them. Then I will look at the friends I choose to keep. I will keep them not so I will feel better about me but because I genuinely like them. I will commit to myself and to my friends not to use them to make myself feel good. I will push myself to hook up with new people who will challenge me to grow. I won't like not being the leader of the group and I will know I am not one-up on anyone. I am sure not being No. 1 will help me be a better person, too. I guess that's how I improve me. I will put myself with people I can learn from and be positively led by so I can grow, too.
It is time for me to be honest with myself. I still don't want to be pushed out of my circle of friends, but I am willing to reconsider some of my choices, not because my friends are bad but because I now know what a user I have been. In psychology class I would be called a co-dependent: I need to depend on others because I don't have enough confidence in my own abilities and character. I don't like that part of me. I am so afraid of the parts of me I hide from that even thinking about confessing my faults about how I used others is scary for me. I cringe when I think someone is using me. As a matter of fact, when I see someone even trying to lean on me for support, I back off unless I am the one who wants to look good to my friends. Sometimes when I know someone is watching to see my reactions, I decide if this is the kind of person worthy of my help. I sound pathetic even to myself.
Who do I think I am? I act like I am "all that," but the truth is I am nothing without other people constantly building me up without even knowing they are doing it. I feed off everyone else's insecurities. I take advantage of people who appear more insecure than myself. Are they really, or is this just the line I use with myself to justify my using behaviors?
It is time for me to be honest with myself. I do want others to like me. I do want to be a leader. I do want to make something of myself. I do want other people to look up to me. I do want friends, but at what price? Will I sell out to feel successful? Will I continue to use my friends for my own selfish benefits? Decision time is now. Will it be hypocrisy or honesty?
IT! (Private thoughts of the Indomitable Teen) is written by Cecilia Tucker under the editorial guidance of a panel of teenagers (in exchange for pizza and volunteer hours). Tucker is a licensed marriage and family therapist at the Counseling Center for New Direction in Seminole. Comments are welcome. You may write c/o: IT!, Xpress, the Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731, or e-mail Floridiansptimes.com. If you are interested in being on the teen editorial panel, please contact Cecilia Tucker at revceciliamsn.com.