Youth Ambassador

Helping My Generation Validate Themselves

By: Henna Hundal, YAV Teen Ambassador (Turlock, California), high school senior, radio and talk show host, activist.

Growing up is no easy experience. The teenage years are probably some of the most socially tumultuous time periods in any individual’s life. In a way, entering the teenage years is akin to being put in an oven — the soft, impressible youth gets ready to be hardened by the standards of the outside world.
Quite often, these standards are rigid. It seems that one must look a certain way and act in a specific manner to feel “good enough.” As a teenager myself, I can attest to the fact that my peers and I are constantly inundated with false ideas of excellence. We become unable to see ourselves through a clear lens because of our clouded perceptions of beauty and worth.

The self-love crisis that’s hitting today’s teenagers hard is only exacerbated by the technological age. The continuous stream of images and messages bombard us from every direction. They tell us to expend our precious energy striving for “this” notion of perfection or “that” ideal of greatness, to reach outward for that validation we’re so desiring.

In reality, however, the highest, most enduring form of validation must come from within. Only when you journey inward and find the greatness of your being can you truly bask in all that it manifests. Grant yourself the permission to accept that you’re already good enough, whatever your form or fashion and whatever your lot in life. Your story, whether filled with chapters of bliss and bounty or with pages of trials and tribulations, is a beautiful one. Validate yourself to walk your own truth, and, in the words of St. Catherine of Siena, “you will set the world on fire.”

For clarity’s sake, I don’t approach this topic of self-validation from hindsight. I, along with probably every other youth out there, am still seeking answers about my purpose and am still trying to blaze my path. The journey isn’t easy, but I know the road becomes at least a little smoother the day you start living life on your own terms. I have great hope that, step by step, my generation will learn to begin defining themselves — not by the arbitrary standards of the outside world — but by the value and potential they already have inside.