By: Wendy Baracka
Editor: Hannah Stewart
One of the most important jobs of a teenager is figuring out your identity. Where do you fit in? What’s your style? Who do you want to hang out with? How do you want to spend your time? Who do you want to date? This last question is on many teenagers’ minds, a lot of the time! In Kelis’ song, ‘Milkshake’, she sings:
My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard
And they’re like, it’s better than yours
Damn right, it’s better than your’s
Hmmm…. Let’s think about this for a moment. Is your ‘milkshake’ (however you define this) the most important factor in having healthy dating relationships? How much thought are you putting into what will attract a healthy dating partner into your ‘yard’ or life? Is it all about how you look OR is it also about the kind of person you are; what’s on the inside?
When county teenagers were asked “What characterizes a healthy relationship?”, some answers included respect, open communication, trust, honesty, kindness, loyalty. All of these are important. Healthy relationships are mutually supportive, fun, and can help both individuals grow toward meeting their goals. Healthy relationships are also informed by values and boundaries.
Here’s something to think about…what are your values? What is most important to you? Some examples of values include adventure, service, connection to others (like family and friends), creativity, humor, fitness, leadership, spirituality, etc. Knowing your values can help guide you toward being the person you want to become.
What are your boundaries? Boundaries can be defined as limits you set for yourself. These can be physical, emotional, and/or spiritual. Our boundaries help us to define what we will and will not do as well as how we want to treat, and be treated by others. Boundaries help to define our uniqueness; that which makes us different from others. How we define, protect and enforce our boundaries can influence our ability to have healthier relationships.
Now, we know that relationships are not always happy and healthy. There are risks involved in having dating relationships as well, and it is important to know how to navigate these. Some risks of adolescent relationships include abuse, STD’s, and teenage pregnancy. As important as it is to know your values and how to set boundaries, it is also important to know who you can reach out to for help in handling these risks.
We challenge you to spend as much time developing your inner wealth as you do developing your outer style or appearance. In the long run, your values, personal boundaries, and support systems will help you bring who and what you want into your ‘yard’ more effectively than just your ‘milkshake!’
For more information about how to develop your inner wealth please contact us via Direct Message on Twitter or leave a comment.
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