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  • Writer's pictureKeith Dussia

Navigating Teenage Pressure and Expectation

Being a teenager today is like walking through a minefield with your eyes glued to your phone screen. There's drinking, smoking, drugs, the constant pressure of dieting, the incessant quest for social media likes, finding the right outfit, eating the right food, and amidst all this chaos, trying to stay true to who you are. It's a balancing act, one that often feels like you're walking a tightrope between who you are and who you're supposed to be. But here's the kicker: amidst the whirlwind of expectations and pressures, you've been on a quest to carve out a space where you can just be you—flaws, quirks, and all. I want you to know that no matter what it looks like, you are enough just as you are. Let me walk you through this journey of yours.



Social media is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it's where you get to express yourself, share moments, and connect. On the other, it's a battleground for likes, an endless comparison game where the right outfit or the right food can somehow dictate your worth. I
The Teenage Trenches


The Pressure Cooker of Social Expectations

Let's start with the big ones: drinking, smoking, and drugs. It's almost like they come with the territory of teenage parties and hangouts. There's this unspoken expectation that to fit in, you've got to partake. You've seen how easy it is to get swept up in the moment, to take that drink, light up that cigarette, or experiment, just because it feels like that's what everyone expects. But here's what you learned the hard way—these choices come with a cost, not just to your health, but to your sense of self.


The Digital Dilemma

Social media is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it's where you get to express yourself, share moments, and connect. On the other, it's a battleground for likes, an endless comparison game where the right outfit or the right food can somehow dictate your worth. It took you a while, but you've begun to see through the façade. The quest for validation in the form of likes and comments is a never-ending one, and honestly, it's exhausting.


Dieting and the Quest for the "Perfect" Body

Dieting, oh boy, where do you start? Everywhere you look, there's a new trend telling you how you should look, eat, and live. Keto, vegan, intermittent fasting—you name it, you've probably heard of it. It's as if your value as a person is somehow tied to your ability to adhere to these often unrealistic standards. But at what cost? You've seen friends spiral into unhealthy habits, all in the name of dieting. It's a slippery slope, one that you're learning to navigate with caution, focusing on health rather than an impossible ideal.


Finding Your Tribe

Perhaps the most crucial part of your journey has been understanding the importance of surrounding yourself with the right people. Friends who support you for who you are, not for the drinks you can handle, the smoke you can puff, the likes you can garner, or the diet you follow. It's about finding those who encourage you to be your authentic self, who cheer for you when you succeed and lend you a shoulder when you don't.


Being Your Own Person

At the end of the day, being a teenager is tough. But it's also the perfect time to figure out who you are and who you want to be. You've learned that it's okay to say no—to drinking, to smoking, to drugs. It's okay to not have the most likes or the trendiest outfits. What's not okay is losing yourself in the process of trying to meet these expectations. You're choosing to focus on what makes you happy, healthy, and whole. You're choosing to be you, and you're finding that there are people out there who appreciate and support that.


Your journey is far from over. There are days when you falter, when the lure of fitting in tests your resolve. But with each passing day, you're learning that the truest form of courage is in being your own person, in a world that constantly tries to tell you otherwise. To anyone out there trying to navigate this terrain, remember: the only approval you need is your own. Find your tribe, wear what makes you happy, eat what makes you feel good, and above all, be kind to yourself. This journey to authenticity is a personal one, but it's also a shared experience. Let's walk it together, one step at a time. This is life and this is LifeIn180.



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