Senior Send-Off: You Can Only Change Yourself

Senior Send-Off: You Can Only Change Yourself

Some would say that the high school years are never kind. Others would disagree, but what we all can agree on is that high school teaches life lessons that no other place can teach. In my four years of high school, I’ve seen friends move on, people do or say horrible things to each other, and others act like they are still in kindergarten. I’ve been taught a lot about how people work, and today I wanted to share with all of you the biggest lesson I’ve learned about people:

You can’t do anything about others, but you can do everything about yourself.

This may seem like an obvious “Well, duh?” But I believe there’s something deeper to it that not everyone understands. The idea is not as simple as you would think, and believe it or not, I’ve seen how complicated of a lesson this can be.

With any type of relationship – a friendship, a romance, a rivalry – there will always be that one person who sits and talks about how the other always does “this” or does “that” and how it annoys them so much. They complain and complain about how the other person “just needs to see the light.” In some regards, they could be right. Maybe that person is being irrational, or too stubborn for their own good. And yes, influencing can definitely help someone swing to your side.

But I’ve known people, or have even done it myself to others, where we just want to change someone’s way of thinking. That can’t happen. That can’t be influenced. People think the way they think and operate the way they operate. I’ve sat for hours before trying to tell someone why they are wrong and why they need to change. You know where that got me? Nowhere.

Now apply that to school, and not just students, but teachers as well. I’ve had classmates before try and argue with me about why my political views are wrong and why I’m wrong and need to change. I’ve had a teacher tell the class that people who are religious (I’m religious) are wrong and need to stop believing in a faith. We are surrounded by people who want us to change, but the only ones who can do that are ourselves.

I can’t change you, but I can change myself. I have issues that no one else knows about or deals with. I can focus on who I am, who I want to be and who I’m going to be. Nobody can do that but me. And the same goes for you. I cannot change you and work on you as a person, but you can. You have to know your problems, know the issues that bring you down and understand how to solve them so you can bring yourself up again.

In high school, it’s important to understand how to do this. There will be some many ideas thrown at you by so many different people that it can feel crowded and make you feel insecure. Just take a deep breath and remember who you are. Then take one step.

Then another step.

Then another.

And with each step, understanding who you are and knowing how to be better becomes so much easier.