Teen Years & Perception of Life

We all know the basics of socialization, observation and learning. Almost every literate person either knows the technical terms or at least understands the phenomenon. Socialization contributes the most to the personality development of any individual.

‘Personality’ i.e. the amalgamation of core values we internally follow and the ones we externally project. Both types of values can be different or the same, but mostly the ideal is somewhere in between.

According to Erickson these core values/schemas are developed and fashioned, according to the given circumstances, throughout one’s life. But the most important period of this value formation is the in between the age of 14-19. Yes! This is the time when you develop your perception towards the world. You learn to get outside your limitations, comfort zone is no more an issue and you yearn to conquer the peer groups around you with your budding talents. The quest for an ideal and relatable peer group is the critical part of this phase. The camouflage of childhood and introversion is something which ought to be broken at this turning point of your life.

These “early teens”, aren’t we all too naïve to understand the implications attached with the actions of this age? We don’t realize that the values we observe, the friends we make, the distress we face and the attention bouts of our teen years will be cardinal in shaping the basic contours of our life.

These contours of your thoughts impact each and every move of your life as they become a part of your schema. A group of friends you couldn’t fit in? A competition you lost due to your under confidence or may be the excruciating comments you got at your dressing sense?  All of this has an impact. Though it could be the opposite but it’s the painful experience which lingers throughout your life. Becoming a part of schema implies that as your core value it will be the basis of your every decision.

Hence, Erickson made this theory to emphasize the past’s impact on future and got all the appreciation in the world. But he forgot to explain that is there a way to undo your negative perceptions?  You can’t spend your life in misery just because you were all fat and unacceptable at the age of 18? You can’t be forever alone if you didn’t have friends in your teens. Nobody is ready to accept a pessimistic perception for eternity just because of some mishaps, few appalling memories or even slightly lonely experiences!

Are memories reversible? I don’t think so, but I can propose a solution to replace old perceptions with new ones. The solution is difficult, as perceptions formed over a long period of time can gradually become a part of your innate being. But the process can be inverted only if one tries to overcome those memories by making new ones. My point here is that you can undo the perception by developing a new and more pervasive one.

For instance, you were mocked and underestimated due to any reason in your early teen. Therefore, you established that ‘people will always ridicule me and underestimate my abilities’. Now, to break away from this basic thought you need to re-establish this perception. Stand up for your rights and keep on standing until you achieve the reward you believe you deserved. You may be broken sometimes, torn again by the society or discouraged by your own ego. But be staunch and this will terminate your old self image, the notion of underestimation will be modified in your life at least.

This process is harsh and you may face resistance not only externally but also internally. But this demonstration of will power can lead to satisfaction and contentment for the rest of your life.

So, next time when a sad memory flashes before your eyes or your subconscious tries to bring you down, don’t surrender rather reinstate!