his is a guest post by Nora Moran, a student at Northern Highlands High School in New Jersey.
I recently visited Barnes and Noble to buy a copy of The Great Gatsby for English class.
The store is a labyrinth of knowledge, and it can be hard to find your way around. Too shy to ask a store employee for help, I commandeered a nearby computer and began to search for the book. I found comfort in being so self-sufficient.
However, to the staff, I was a trespasser. When a woman approached me and politely informed me that this computer was only for staff use, I was mortified. I had waltzed back there without hesitation. I realized that every time I had been to the store, only employees were using the computers. I resolved to never embarrass myself that way again.
We all have boundaries in our minds. When a teacher tells a student not to do something, she processes this command until it becomes second nature. However, if, like me in Barnes and Noble, we are not told that a certain action is off limits, what is to stop us from doing it?
That mentality carries over to our personal lives beyond school. What teens believe is right and wrong, or acceptable in our society, and what they believe they can and cannot achieve all flows from the same pattern.
If we take the literal meaning of actual boundaries, like not being allowed to use the computers in Barnes and Noble, and relate that to psychological boundaries, like not believing that we can achieve something, then we realize that there is no equivalent rationale for the latter.
What we believe becomes reality. Insecurities swarm and confidence takes a backseat. Self-doubt locks the door to success, a door that we try to kick down, when all we have to do is pick up the key and let ourselves in.
Where do we find this key? In the message of "You Matter."
When we know we matter, insecurities take a backseat. We realize we have the power, indeed the duty, and the means necessary to burst through our boundaries to the other side – where success and happiness waits patiently for those of us who are brave enough to believe in our own power, to believe that we matter.