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!

 

Is this the real YOU?

During my exams last semester, one day while cramming my notes I looked at myself in the mirror. I saw a blunt, outspoken, straightforward girl with a damn care attitude, but with this look came a thought, a thought which clutched my mind and I just couldn’t get out of the strong grip! The thought was not so outrageous rather it was just a simple query i.e.

“Is this the real me?”

Yes! It wasn’t the real me. I’m not a person with a damn care attitude towards life, I care about small things; things like what would I do in the quiz if I don’t study? Or what shall I buy for my mother from the small sum of money I saved from my pocket money. I was a nerd; a nerd who studied hard day and night to get good grades and pretended to be cool. A cool girl who didn’t study at all and still somehow got good marks!
But who was I hiding from, why did I never tell anyone that how much I studied or why I wanted to mask my concentration in studies from others? What is a COOL personality? Who defined those terms?
Let’s take a look into it from the perspective of a normal teenager who doesn’t know what’s in and what’s out!
We go into the university with high spirits, aspiring dreams, passion and zest to be something big someday. The ambience that seems so conciliatory the first day gradually throws back our deficiencies upon us. We are never appreciated for what we are rather always pointed out the way we should be.
The various definitions get their ways into our heads like whose Cool, Hot, Geek, Funky or a Rock star. A few things necessary to get into “The Elites” are not the money rather there is a whole recipe to be a part of the mighty agenda! The recipe includes a variety of compulsory ingredients like designer clothes (If you don’t have them at least pretend), English with an accent, a few top class gossiping qualities, highly artificial attitude and oh yes! You should be humble and sympathetic to those who are not the “Elites”.
To get into the circle of the Elites, all the girls and guys tighten their belts after few weeks of the university to gather the ingredients. They get on the nerves of their parents whose old mind thoughts become mind-boggling now. Girls go on a diet to get in their perfect skirt and the guys pretend to smoke even if they don’t know how to!

But has someone ever thought why do we have to fit in the already settled parameters for being the “Hottest”, in fact what is the Hottest or the Coolest? What is it for?
No, it’s not for success. Neither does it fulfill the aspirations that were bubbling in the students when they joined in nor does it actually make them different from what they are in real. It’s just a mask we use, which in terms of psychology will be defined as “Relational violence”. In literary terms it’s violence done by females to suppress the aggression within them but I believe it’s rather a term for both genders who participate evenly in this ruthless brutality of dividing people into classes.

What could be worse than changing yourself for the sake of something which doesn’t even exist?

Are we so superficial that vague gushes of artificiality carry away our persona? We; the greatest creation of God can change it’s thoughts, beliefs and forget his/her own identity for the sake of being a center of attention?
We see girls dying of Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia, young teens dying drunk due to speedy road accidents, smoking as a sacred ritual for the sake of attention and an addiction to lose weight, parents’ presence seen as a source of embarrassment in the “IN” circle and young teens sneaking out to make gf/bfs to check if they are in demand or not. The values with which we lived for years suddenly become lame in front of the individualistic approaches? Is appreciating those, who gave you birth, strength and support, not worthwhile enough to waste time on? Why do we change our paths from the library to the café for being eminent? Why do we make fun of those who wear glasses or are not close to a perfect figure? Why a big car and late night partying is becoming an obsession rather than recreation? All we need to do is think!

Think with the brain that the Almighty Allah gave us, ponder upon what we actually are and realize that we are not what the world defines us as, we are what our mind shapes us as. The world is making its progress to a dangerous end where people pursue the legendary trail without even questioning it for a moment. But I think it’s high time that instead of making movies like mean girls, teeny toons, never been kissed etc.. We focus on throwing away those fake, lame beliefs, which forge young people and overshadow their true brilliance.

Its time!

 

 

Dream On…

Every person sometimes reaches a situation where there are no words to write & none to speak, the expressions and thoughts are too jumbled to display. Though it’s frustrating or nerve-reckoning but yes that’s the moment which makes us see the true us. Confused, withered, tired or boggled ‘us’ see ourselves clearly in this confusion. The blurred vision makes us see the dreams within us.

The dreams buried deep inside where nobody could reach them. Dreams; from small little desires to hardcore wishes which now seem like inert, unreachable and unachievable.

The fear of facing those unachieved desires hides them deep inside in a corner of the brain where no one…literally no one can reach them. But it’s you, who can open and face them. It never too late to rethink and live the moments you have always wanted to. Fame, fortune, money blah blah..maybe are unachievable for some. But it shouldn’t stop us from dreaming, since dreaming is not always about expressing yourself to the world rather sometimes it’s about expressing yourself to ‘yourself’.

So, dream and dream…dream about life and its small things which can make your day which eventually makes a small but treasured moment of your life. Take a moment of freedom from the books, machines, notebooks or laptops whatever you’re stuck in and:

Go and breathe the fresh air, the flowy breeze and the rusty leaves
Feel the rain drops on your palms as the sun dawns

Do the dance moves that are embarrassing

Take a second to splash in dirt….i know it’s difficult but sometimes won’t hurt

Make bubbles in your shake & don’t care what sound it makes
Sing loudly, Louder and Louder…until you can’t breathe
Your tonsils might burst & so will someone’s ear…but you’ll feel at ease
Don’t you worry about the world…just the way it never does for you
Just Dream on…as it’s time to introduce yourself to YOU!

 

 

 

Music: ‘admiration or veneration’

Music gives us life and melody brings soul to it. Melody is everywhere, in the drizzling drops or the rustling autumn leaves, in the honking cars and in the heartbeat of each and every human. Music is the only medicine which takes humans into a trance like state. A state in which all one can see is the pictorial illustration of the lyrics and all one can feel is the rhythm with the thumping beat.

No wonder, music has become an essential to loosen ourselves from the daunting and hectic lives of today… and this ‘urge for music’ has given rise and power to the singers of today. Internationally ruling the charts and hearts of people, these top celebrities in fact have the strength to make or break a notion!

Songs, give birth to notions and every celebrity rises with a humongous fan following of his own ‘style’. The fandom these days reaches the pinnacle where people literally worship the stars. These celebrities inspire and instigate the youth with their lavish lifestyles, provoking thoughts and exciting messages. Their thoughts, messages either open or subliminal are accepted since the youth is too naïve to object. Further elaborating naïve, these ‘devotees’ actually start living in the trance which the music and celebrity creates. Neither understanding the meaning nor the true significance, they just follow, proving the extremity of their ‘ fanaticism’,

Now, focusing on the youth of Pakistan, where are we in this queue of this blind veneration?

We are the top!.. Totally intimidated by the celebrity power our youth has actually lost the power to understand before adoring. With complete adulation, our youngsters vouch to completely follow the footsteps of the foreigners. Each and everyone of us has a crush on one of those hot stars and we tap to their music. Rock, pop, R&B, soul, country, jazz etc. you just name it and even children will name the top most stars of these genres. But do we understand that how strong the impact of this devotion has been on our minds? Do we get the meaning of the song before putting it up as a status of facebook?

No! we don’t and infact we don’t pay a damn to such useless thoughts. Life is here and life is today! This is what we believe, but is this what our norms, values and religion has taught us? Our religion has treated this world only as an exam to pass for the world hereafter. Imagine an exam where we all know the answers taught us by the Almighty Allah, but still only a few etch the right steps to clear it. This is what we all do, we all know the answers but we seldom ponder because we have been brainwashed by the messages taught and conveyed to us by these celebrities.

Let’s, take a look at our lives now. Every girl wants to be ‘Material Girl’ and every boy wanders saying ‘It’s my life’. Awe struck by the ‘Good girl gone bad’ trauma we all want to be bad. We put black nail polishes and cat woman outfits to just copy the bad attitude and style. Every teenager sings ‘toxic’ and ‘piece of me’, without realizing that this is not what we were meant to be as Muslims and as Pakistanis. Listening to songs like ‘seduction’, ‘pump it’, shut up and drive’..we have transformed from the great humans to useless commodities which might appeal but seldom inspire.

We all want to be rockers, studs, hunks, hotties but do we ever desire to be the best person? Have we ever thought about those who gave birth to us?..No! When we don’t even think about the Almighty who created the world then why would we care about our parents? We say life is too short to be unhappy, so let’s have fun. But do we realize that life is also too short to make the Lord happy, so let’s start from today. Our minds have been jumbled and our focus has been busted. Our attention is only diverted to the present and we have forgotten about the judgment day. Thinking all day long about money, fame and fortune we rarely think about the values, norms and morals. With boys doing their maximum to cheat, disobey and be wild, do they actually become the shoulder of their old parents? And girls fishing for the attraction from the opposite sex… do we in fact gain respect and reverence anymore from the society? Our nation built and rendered as the representative of Islam..Will it survive the map with this level of indecency?

This article could go on for pages and pages, but bringing it to an end, the only thing I’d like to point out is that it’s high time to start thinking before we lose it all as a nation!