(L.A. Times High School Insider)
Orange County School of the Arts

Opinion: Weakness and what it means to me

Recently, I asked my followers — all 700 of them — what weakness meant to them. I received various answers, ranging from “falling in love” to “putting others down to feel above them” and “lacking resolve.” For me, weakness is more than just lacking ambition and breaking down others. Weakness is constantly putting other before yourself.

I spent a majority of my life constantly putting the needs of others over my needs and feelings. I was constantly feeling weak because I scarcely did anything for myself — I was a “people pleaser.” I found it difficult to say no to other people because I feared they would think less of me, or begin to resent me.

I constantly helped other people, never taking into account the toll it was taking on my mental and physical health. I was constantly tired and took everything a little too personally, anxious if I felt that someone didn’t like me.

My weakness for the longest time was saying “no” to anyone. I didn’t understand that not everyone will like me and I couldn’t make everybody want to be my friend. After realizing this was the case, however, I started to become happier and felt lighter. I could go to school and not have to start a conversation with every single person I recognized. My friend group became smaller, composed of mainly the friends who reciprocated effort into our friendship. If I didn’t want to do something for somebody, I would tell them.

This epiphany made me become a stronger and happier person. I felt lighter when I would come home from school and could spend more time with my family and friends that really cared about me because I wasn’t as tired. I began to put more effort into my schoolwork rather than wasting energy on people who didn’t care for me. I stopped rapidly losing and gaining weight because I finally felt in control.

I learned to take care of myself and my own needs first, to push aside my thoughts that told me I was selfish for doing so. I can now confidently say that I am in a much better place, mentally and physically. 


Below are some of my favorite responses from my Instagram questionnaire:

“[Weakness is] a mindset that makes you believe you are unable to do something.”

“Weakness for me means giving up on something I know I can achieve.”

“To me, weakness means giving in easily and not trying hard enough.”

“[Weakness is] not making an effort to grow.”