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Why Do Some Teens Never Seem To Achieve Their Goals?

01/25/2012 11:38 EST | Updated 03/26/2012 05:12 EDT
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Ken Rabow on Our Kids

Have you ever heard someone say this? "Stop crying, it's nothing!" or "Don't worry, it isn't a big deal that you (fill in the blank)." Or "What are you upset about? It isn't as if you (fill in the blank)."

What do these sayings, said over and over by well-meaning guardians, have to do with never achieving one's goals? In trying to protect the youngest of people, we often diminish what they perceive as powerful moments. By telling them their emotions are meaningless, we create false epiphanies in them: "Well, if it's nothing then I'll show them! I'll never succeed and they'll be sorry." These things are rarely said aloud except in moments of extreme angst, but they are often repeated over and over in our subconscious mind.

So, flash forward 12 years... Now that teen has these false epiphanies firmly ensconced in their noggin. What can they do? Well, there's years of therapy, there's blaming those who inflicted this on them, or they can create small, incremental daily successes that they can slowly start to believe in.

We can to choose spend our lives looking at what's wrong in the world, becoming a paralyzed observer (cursing the darkness), or we can choose to light a candle and embrace the light.

So many people spend so much of their time looking at what is wrong with the world, inspecting every flaw, every speck of detritus (As Dr. Chumley said in the movie Harvey, we ought to cry, "Fly specks, fly specks! I've been spending my life among fly specks while miracles have been leaning on lampposts at 18th and Fairfax!")

I do believe that every part of our world is a miracle. From the sunrises to the sunsets. Each breath we take. The fact that there is air. That we are hurling around the sun at 67,00 miles per hour and don't crash into stuff. (Good thing my father isn't driving.) That all our body parts work (mostly) and that there is laughter and joy in the world.

By working on simple daily exercises, such as meditation, something physical and something creative, we begin to take hold of our power in the world. Add to that proper eating habits, smiling on a regular basis, helping others and appreciating the little things and you can let go of those false epiphanies, one tear at a time.

The only thing stopping you from achieving your goals... is you.

Make an oath right now! Promise yourself that you are going to let go of one nagging pain in your heart and fill that void with something that makes you feel good about yourself. It doesn't matter what it is. It is important that it adds something good to the world. Just go for it! Write it down. If you want, share it in the comment section and then come back to those written words every week and compliment yourself for whatever time you spent working towards it and if you didn't, be kind to yourself and tell yourself that you will start on it from that point on. Just like drops of water can disintegrate the strongest stone, so can our simple drops of intention break through the wounds of our childhood. And if it helps, know this about those childhood wounds: the words were often said out of kindness and the people saying them were probably doing the best they could.