Struggling to gain acceptance, approval proves exhausting

Having to prove myself over and over again is exhausting and takes part of my soul every time I do it. This comes into play with new managers at work, new co-workers, new teachers, and even friends’ parents.

It’s frustrating when adults don’t believe that I am responsible enough because of my age. I tend to ask myself what’s the point of proving to them that I can do something when I’m going to have to re-prove myself for another reason.

I’ve started to not care what adults think of me because it’s tiring to show them why I work as hard as I do. I have to reveal a personal part of myself every time I prove myself to someone and that’s too much. Adults tend to pose questions like “Why do you work so much?” or “Why do you study every night?” etc. This is the point where they see that I am responsible but for some reason, again, I still can’t be trusted. They believe that I can’t do a task or manage someone this or that because I am too young, not experienced, or I can’t handle it, but I can. My age does not nor has ever reflected my work ethic, maturity, or my experience in something. If adults believe that, they should not be in a position of power or authority.

Don’t even get me started on what happens when I mess up on a task. I’ll look around and see people whispering and saying “If she’s so responsible why did she do that?” or my personal favorite the “I told you so,” and then the classic side eye look. I feel like I’m always being scrutinized.

Everyone makes mistakes, but as a teenager, those mistakes are magnified. I may not make the right decision every time, but I’m trying to do my best.

This is not entirely the adults’ fault. I do understand the hesitation in trusting a 16-17 year old. We don’t make it easy. With that being said, don’t wait until I am physically dying and mentally tired to finally trust me because I will go that far in proving myself.

I will get out there and work 50+ hours after going to school 5 days a week. I will study every night until midnight to prove myself to an adult. Don’t come to me saying “maybe you’re working too hard, take some time off of work,” Do not tell me to work less if I am trying to prove myself to you! Saying that is an insult, and shows that adults aren’t paying attention to my hard work which is, but I don’t need your input. It’s frustrating and it’s a waste of my time. Most adults who don’t know about my personal life should have no say in what I do, or how I do it.

Stereotyping has to stop. Stop stereotyping me and every other hard working kid around because when you do that, you’re doubting us. This in turn makes them doubt themselves. It’s a vicious cycle that can end at the adults. Sometimes adults need to have a little more faith and put their trust in someone to give them a chance.

I consider myself as someone who doesn’t really care what people think of me, but if it hinders my chance of being successful, whether that’s in a job, at school, or just day-to-day life, then of course I’m going to be upset. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told myself “I’m going to do this” or “I’ll get this done today,” and I’ve been discouraged by an adult. At this point I don’t need recognition or rewards from my superiors, but if they can’t notice how hard I work, how many shifts I take, how much I study and practice, or even how many responsibilities I take on in the day, then I’ll leave. I am not going to be in a place where people doing the bare minimum get more recognition than someone who is working hard. No kid wants to be unappreciated.

This being said, I have no anger towards adults. Do I believe that most are oblivious to the hard-working individuals? Yes, of course, but I don’t have a place to say anything. It’s not my job as the teen to correct them on their misjudgment. It’s not my job to continue to prove myself over and over until I have an inch of dark circles under my eyes from lack of sleep. I am not writing this article to complain either. I am making money that I can save for college when I work 50+ hours a week. I am learning more when I study every night. I am gaining the trust and reliability from my friends when I am there for them day-to-day. I am doing great for myself, and me realizing that most of the time I won’t get noticed or don’t need validation for every task made me realize that what I do is good enough for myself. Although sometimes it feels like that I am not moving forward in life, I am.

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