When I first started high school, I never felt very cool. I thought that I was too thin, and too tall. I liked playing sports while the other girls liked going shopping. My grades were alright but I wasn't a super clever kid.
Another girl in school, Beth, was the opposite. Not only did she look perfect, but she got good grades. Teachers loved her and everyone wanted to be her friend. She was kind to everyone, which made her even more flawless.
But I was never nice to Beth. My jealousy made me mean. I wouldn't smile back at her or make any effort to be friends when we shared the same class. Secretly I did want to be her friend, even though my actions said otherwise.
Then one day, walking home from school, I saw Beth ahead of me. She was on her phone, and I could hear her crying softly. Once she hung up, I knew I had to do something. I was nervous, but I gently tapped her on the shoulder and asked if she was okay. Even in her tears, she smiled and said, “Yes I am fine, thank you.”
It would have been easy for me to say okay and keep walking, but instead, I offered my friendship and walked with her.
Beth nodded. For a while it was quiet, but soon enough we were talking. We talked about simple things, like how hard our science paper was and how mean Mr. Turnbell is. We talked about more serious things too. Beth was upset because her boyfriend dumped her. He said she was “too chubby”. I thought this was crazy, but Beth told me she was insecure about her body.
That afternoon, we got ice cream and got to know each other better. She told me that when she doesn’t feel confident she says positive things to herself. Now anytime one of us is sad, we help to build each other up by saying three nice things. For example, I reminded Beth that she was kind, always smiling and better than most at math. While she told me she was jealous of my thick hair, my serve in volleyball and always enjoyed when I read my stories aloud in class.
It’s nice to see yourself through the eyes of others to remind yourself what awesome qualities you have. Now, instead of seeing Beth as better than me, I just see how we are both great in different ways. She is great at math and science, I am great at writing and history. Neither is good or bad – just different. And we both love volleyball!