Our Winter 2021/22 issue has gone to print. Teen Spirit writer, Margot Tubbiolo talks about the importance of building a support system and feeling connected to others– dive on in for a sneak peek!
Nurture Close Connections.
by Margot Tubbiolo
“Unity comes in all shapes and sizes, so find your way of feeling connected.”
Unity is all around us. We see it in everyday life without even thinking about it: a sports team coming together to play a match, a group project that you’re doing in school, going to a party. All of these are examples of human connection, which is essentially what unity is. I have a theory that everyone craves this feeling of belonging. However, I want to talk about what keeps people from uniting.
Personally, I never liked being part of a team when I was younger. I always wanted to do things alone. One example of this was how I disliked team sports. I played tennis when I was a kid, because I told myself that I wasn’t meant for a team. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve figured out why I had this thought process. I didn’t want to let anyone down. Letting myself down was okay, but I was terrified by the thought of anyone relying on me in any capacity. I hope some people can relate to what I’m saying, otherwise I’m just exposing myself for nothing! However, I’m going to keep going anyway.
I have sometimes found that this thought process has stopped me from making friends. I think a lot of teens will relate to this. As young people, friends play a huge part in our life. Some people overstimulate themselves by having loads of friends, but no meaningful connections. Others under stimulate by isolating themselves or building emotional walls, because they are afraid people won’t like who they are. I’ve done both, and there’s no shame in it. As people, we just want to feel understood, and the way you do that is by finding a balance, somewhere in between these two options.
About two years ago, I had very few people I could call friends. I isolated myself for so long, that when I started becoming involved in life again, I told myself I was going to make loads of friends. This seems like a good thing, but when this ideology is masked by the fear of everyone leaving you, that’s when it becomes unhealthy. I wanted loads of people in my life, so I wouldn’t have to become reliant on anyone. I associated friendship with being let down, and no one likes being hurt. I remember telling myself, going into fifth year, that I didn’t want to be apart of a friend group. I wanted loads of individual friends, so I wouldn’t have to depend on one group of people to make me feel cared for. I wanted to do that for myself, but what I didn’t realise was that I could have both.
When I was going through life not looking for a friend group, I organically started to hang out with two people I go to school with. I didn’t have any expectations – just that I liked their company. However, in the beginning, I was still in that mindset of convincing myself not to rely on anyone, so I kept a safe distance. That way, I wouldn’t be hurt. I was protecting myself, but also starving myself of the simple pleasures in life. At one point, I gave in to my fears. It took a lot of time and trust, but it was the best thing I ever did. I never thought I’d have a support system like I do now. I accepted the possibility of being abandoned, and through giving into that thought, I found the people who understand me.
If you’re in a similar position to the situation I was in two years ago, see it as your fresh start. Honestly, it’s very exciting, because you can build your support system from the ground up. You decide who’s worthy of being in your life. Unity comes in all shapes and sizes, so find your way of feeling connected. Whether that’s being involved in a team, talking and making connections with new people, coming together with family, or going on a walk with someone you love. Unity isn’t an option, it’s a necessity.