In middle school, being popular felt like the most important thing in the world. I just wanted to fit in and be liked. I tried so hard to impress the “cool kids” and obsessed over my social media followers. But pursuing popularity made me utterly miserable.

I had low self-esteem and based my worth on external validation. I posted endless photos and memes seeking compliments and filtered my true self. I changed how I dressed, talked and acted to gain approval from others. But inside, I felt like a fraud.

My insecurity reached its peak after a falling out with friends’ in my freshman year. I realized the people I was trying so hard to impress didn’t really care about me. They only wanted me around when I provided entertainment or boosted their status.

In that dark time, I turned to food and gaming to cope. I stopped hanging out with people and isolated myself. My grades tanked. I thought my life was over without her.

But with the support of my mentors, I realized the truth: I was chasing shallow friendships. None of those people knew the real me. They didn’t care when I was hurting. They just wanted entertainment, not authentic connection.

I decided that I would rather have three real friends than 300 fake ones. I committed to embracing my true self, quirks and all. I invested in people who lifted me up as I was, not who I pretended to be. As actress Zendaya has said, “Don’t change or dim your light for anyone.”

Letting go of my obsession with popularity freed me. I no longer tie my self-worth to likes or followers. I focus on developing my talents, helping others, and deepening true bonds.

Here is my advice to teens who think being popular is #goals: Don’t believe the myth. Insecurity fuels the quest for popularity. You are enough as you are. Choose friends wisely. Show compassion. Pursue purpose, not passive approval. Your worth isn’t defined by your reputation. Focus inward, not outward.

The right people will appreciate the real, imperfect and quirky you. Release the burden of conformity. Celebrate your individuality. Spread kindness. Victory is living authentically. Self-love attracts belonging. Value substance over surface-level status.

Popularity fades, but your impact and principles endure. Blaze your own trail. The path to fulfillment starts from within.

Colton Fidelman is the author of the Book, The Teenage Guide to Success. Unlock the secret to teen success with ‘The TICK TOCK Formula’ – a modern compelling blend of ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens’ and the powerful insights of ‘Start with Why’. This book empowers teenagers to conquer challenges, fulfill their passions, and make a world-changing impact, guided by the wisdom of twenty remarkable trailblazers.

The post Why I Don’t Care About Being Popular Anymore appeared first on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement.

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