The Tough One

“How much of myself do I have to give up to be in a relationship?”

This is not always a major dilemma, but it often is during the teen years. As with many of the ways we are tested during our time as teenagers, this issue continues well into adulthood and in some ways will always be with us.

The reward for conformity is that everybody likes you, except yourself.
Rita Mae Brown, author of Rubyfruit Jungle

This dilemma can come up in terms of relationships with parents, peers (individually or in groups) or romantic relationships. It can also come up with relationships to clubs, teams, cliques, gangs, organizations and even faith communities.

The best relationships are those where you can fully be yourself. There are others, however, where you have to hold back or downplay some aspect of who you are in order to maintain the relationship- and that’s not all bad, as it’s the way of the world. The key is to be aware of how much you are compromising and not give too much of yourself away.

So the identity challenge is to find yourself – and the relationship
challenge is to get connected without losing yourself.

This is simply part of the natural challenge of being a teenager – often difficult, but normal.

“Don’t chase people. Be yourself, do your own thing, and work hard. The right people, the ones who really belong in your life, will come to you. And stay.”
Will Smith, actor