Sometimes, things happen to us that are quite unexpected, and they can be frightening and unsettling. A favorite teacher suddenly leaves to get married; a good friend has to move away or another friend has to stay with her grandmother’s for the whole summer. Change can be very hard, especially if it isn’t a change we made happen ourselves, because we suddenly feel like things are controlling us. It’s scary!
We like things the way we like them because when things are going the way we want, we can relax. We can just be calm and quiet and when we’re calm and quiet we can do things,learn things, discover things or try out new ideas. But if we’ve been living for a while, we learn that we are not in control all the time: we have to learn how to deal with changes. But what do you do when everything suddenly seems wrong. frightening or to huge for us to handle?
One way is to keep some things the same as they always were, even very small things. If you have always had two cookies for lunch, do your best to keep on having two cookies for lunch, If you have always woken up at 7:30, keep on waking up then if at all possible. These things become something you can hang on to when your life is being shaken apart.
But if the changes and the shaking and the unexpected things are just to large, just too impossible, then you have to go inside of yourself, and find out what you know about your self. When everyone around you is suddenly acting crazy, do you still feel that honesty matters? When everything around you changes, do you still know that beautiful things are important? When people seem to be acting weird and strange, do you still think that friends matter, that the best way to have a friend is to be one and that you are always willing to do right by your friends?
These are not little things. But if you can keep things the same inside of yourself, it can help when the world around you changes everything.
Other people have said that: “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” Having a standard means that you can make a promise to yourself, and you keep it. It means that you decide how far you will go with anything. How far will you go to protect yourself against someone that is a bully? How far will you go to protect a friend? How far will you go when you’re asked to lie, or cheat, or steal? Some people can present stealing as something “good:” they can lie to you and say, “Hey, all the stores are run by rich dudes. They don’t deserve their money anyway, and besides, they won’t miss it if you take something. Taking something shows you are better than they are.” They can invent all sorts of lies, just to get you to fall down to their low standards, because they feel better when there are other thieves around them, or other bullies, or other cheaters.
But if you have your own standards, you don’t have to fall for their lies. You don’t have to give in to their need for someone else to make them feel all right for doing wrong. But you have to be able to trust yourself, trust your own true standards. If you can’t trust your self to keep the promises you have made to yourself, to other people, and to what you want to become, then you can be pushed around by other peoples’ ideas. You can believe it when they say that something wrong is right, because you haven’t been honest and true with yourself and so you don’t really know what’s right.
Being honest with yourself can be hard sometimes, but if you decide upon who you are going to be and stick to it, then you know that you always have a friend: your self. Friends are honest with each other: they tell the truth and are truly kind. Friends don’t lie to you or pull you down to their level when they are doing something wrong. Friends show their love to you by being honest, and being true to their standards too.