I shared this star ring story on my Instagram stories a few weeks ago. It had such an outsized response that I decided it needed to be written down somewhere permanently. Here’s that story.
On a rainy Tuesday morning, I found myself doing something I hadn’t done in probably 20 years. I warily stepped foot back into a high school gym.
It was pretty much as I remembered it: that elusive smell with undertones of body odor, the squeak of shoes on the floor, the marks on the walls from errant balls, and so many backpacks everywhere.
Never mind that I did not attend this particular high school. It’s just that high schools in the U.S. seem to be built around common themes of teen angst and dreams of getting out of this place.
After donating blood, which did give me angst and dreams of getting out of that place, I found myself sitting at the snack table across from a teenage girl. Did you know they recommend eating a salty snack instead of a sweet snack after donating blood now?
Anyway, I don’t know what this teenage girl was thinking about, but I was thinking about how big the bruise on my arm was going to be after seeing the nurse cringe when he removed the needle. (Spoiler: It’s big.)
My internal dialogue was interrupted when a second teenage girl joined our table.
Teen Girl 2 (talking to Teen Girl 1 seated across from me): Hey! I know you have a test later today. Do you want to wear my star ring?
Teen Girl 1: Your star ring?
Sure enough, Teen Girl 2 is wearing a ring shaped like a star. She takes it off and hands it to her friend.
Teen Girl 2: I wear my star ring when I want to remind myself that I’m a star. Maybe it will help you today.
As a former teenage girl, it was all I could do to not jump up and hug both of them.
This was no clichéd teenage drama playing out before my eyes. This was the best of humanity laid bare.
It was absolutely beautiful and filled me with hope to observe this teenager actively working to buoy her self-confidence and self-worth in this very tangible way.
I’m not a psychology expert, but it seems to me that we all do this in some way when we need to boost our self-confidence. Perhaps we “put on our armor” like our favorite lipstick or that shirt that looks really good. Perhaps we blast our favorite song on the radio to pump us up. Perhaps we give ourselves a pep talk in the mirror.
Whatever strategy works, right?
I thought to myself as I observed this interaction that Teen Girl 2 was going to be just fine in life. After all, she was already displaying a level of emotional intelligence that many adults will sadly never reach.
She was able to be vulnerable to another friend by admitting that sometimes her self-confidence isn’t as high as she’d like it to be and she has to work to maintain or improve it. Something that we ALL encounter.
Normalizing this common struggle is a good thing. Having friends with who you feel safe enough to express vulnerability is a VERY good thing. In fact, I’d say it’s necessary for a healthy, well-rounded life.
In addition, Teen Girl 2 was actively seeking to build up and support her friend. The world needs more women supporting other women.
Can you imagine how different the world would be if we simply supported and celebrated each other? When another woman succeeds, it does nothing to diminish my accomplishments or my worth as an individual. In fact, it’s not about me at all!
To simply be happy for another person without being jealous or making you question your path in life is a very freeing, empowering place to be.
I wish those two girls all the best in life. It seems like they are off to a promising start.
If I had a star ring, I would happily give it to you today to remind you that YOU ARE A STAR.
Thank you for being here today. Here are some other posts you might enjoy.
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