Self-Reflection: staffer recommends self-reflection on actions, perspective; suggests change in attitude if necessary

Alex Kontopanos, Photo Editor

I’m not going to sugarcoat this: high school can be really hard, especially when you’re entering your last year.
Between completing summer assignments, finishing standardized testing and eventually filling out college applications, there’s not a lot of time left to really focus on yourself or those around you. But if you’re reading this, just take 15 minutes of your time doing a bit of self-reflection. Even if you aren’t a senior, you’ll still benefit from these next 15 minutes.
Let’s go back to elementary school.
Your teachers were really nice to you, you got to draw a lot in class and you had a big group of friends that you hung out with at recess. The meanest thing somebody did to you was steal your brand new Spiderman pencil case or forget to return your glittery hair elastic.
Now let’s fast-forward back to where we are.
Things have changed since your elementary years. People say mean things to you without apologizing, they stab you
in the back and they don’t always stick to their word. We’ve become more aware of what’s around us. We understand there are bad people in this world, and it’s not rainbows and butterflies anymore. We all have bad days, and sometimes we wake up in an annoyed mood for no reason. It’s not as if we intentionally try to hurt people’s feelings on a daily basis. But have you ever met people who are proud to be mean? Because I have.
Being mean is when someone purposely tries to hurt someone or several people. And that’s not justifiable. I’m not going to write an article about how we should all be peaceful and hold hands and sing “Kumbaya” all the time because I’m not perfect. I’m not going to preach something I don’t practice every day of my life.
But I do want you, as a reader, to think.
I want you to question your actions and your perspective. I want you to ask yourself, “Am I happy with who I am? Do I make others feel good? Do I appreciate people? Do I support others and stick up for those who are hurt or are not treated fairly?”
I will never understand people who are content knowing they have purposely hurt someone’s feelings. I can’t fathom why people think being mean to those around them makes them respected, acknowledged, assertive and confident.
Personally, I lose respect for people like that. It shows weakness and a lack of inner strength when the only way one knows how to make oneself heard and stop others from pushing him/her around is when he/she puts others down.
To those living within this delusional mindset, I sincerely apologize.
I apologize that you don’t know how 
to respectfully and properly stand up for yourself. I apologize that other people around you who are too shy to face you have to fear you. If you think being rude to others will get you far, you’re wrong. If being mean got you what you wanted, congratulations. I bet if feels good knowing
you pushed other people down the ladder as you climbed up. Maybe in high school, it’s hard for some of us to face mean people, and most high schoolers would probably let it slide. But in college and later on, people won’t respect you. They’ll look down on you.
If you strive to be malicious because you think it will make your voice heard, take a second to think if that’s how you want to be remembered in high school. Do you want people to remember you as the person who was rude to everyone?
If there’s one thing in life that is hard to forget, it’s the way somebody made you feel. I won’t tell you how to live your life, but these are just some of the questions you should ask yourself.
You can stick up for yourself and for others without being unkind. You can be firm and confident yet still be a pleasant person to hang around with. It’s just about finding that balance, and I have to admit, it’s a thin tightrope to walk. But it’s worth it. There are enough mean people in this world.
That being said, I honestly think that what you give is what you get, and if you’re giving love and sincerity, you’ll be surprised at how much better life gets. Doors will open up for you, and more people will approach and listen to you because you possess positive and happy vibes.
Make yourself respectable, and speak up for yourself and others in the classiest way possible. Be honest with mean people. Maybe they won’t care about your opinion, but it lets them know you’re not going to put up with their negativity.
People say high school is about finding ourselves, so why not begin that journey by being a genuine and good person?