Sincerely, Amber (Advice Column Vol. 4)

Art done by Kimi (@sun.vitamin) on Instagram

How do I forgive someone who objectified me? Sincerely, Not An Item
– Dear Not An Item,
First, I want to admire you for even wanting to forgive in the first place. Forgiveness is one of the most powerful tools we have and a lot of times people have a hard time using it. It’s easy to hate and feel anger; it’s harder to leave it behind. Something to understand about forgiveness is it doesn’t necessarily mean you go back to the way things are. I once lost a friend when I stood up to a bully who happened to be popular, and she didn’t want him to be mad at her. About a year later I got a sweet apology from her saying she didn’t expect me to forgive her, but she still wanted to apologize. I did forgive her because she was sincere, and I missed her, as she had been one of my closest friends. In that situation, I forgave her because she recognized that she had made a mistake and apologized. The apology is necessary, however, as it means the person acknowledges what they did and wants to make amends. If she hadn’t asked, I wouldn’t have forgiven her.
It’s crappy to experience, and I’m sorry it happened to you. If it was a close friend of yours, that’s even worse. I’d say forgive, but don’t forget. Set some boundaries with this person. Let them know that you forgive them, but if they objectify you again, it’ll have a different outcome. I’d also say ask yourself: why do you want to overlook? What about this situation and this person makes you want to let go of any resentment you have? I forgave my friend who hurt me because I missed her because she was one of my closest friends. Sometimes just asking yourself what is inspiring you to forgive will make it easier.
Sincerely, Amber Leigh

If you don’t have a big friend group, but like and are liked by others, you can still feel isolated and alone. What’s a healthy way to cope with those feelings? Sincerely, On the Sidelines
– Dear On the Sidelines,
It seems like you’re experiencing loneliness. It’s not unusual to feel lonely, especially during your teenage years. It’s important to note that feeling alone is a state of mind, so it’s something you have control over. Loneliness can also be a sign of depression, which may be genetic, so you could ask your parents if they have struggled with loneliness and depression in the past.
Loneliness is the other side of happiness. One of the things that make us happy is a human connection. When you feel lonely, you lack a social relationship in your life. We typically feel alone when we move to a new place, or when someone dies.
Something to consider is that you don’t need a big friend group to feel happy. Social media has shown these picturesque scenes of large groups of people together, but that doesn’t mean it’s the ideal. You have your little friend group, appreciate them. I will always say open communication is one of the most important tools you can use. Talk to your closest friend, or even a parent, about these feelings of loneliness. Letting a friend know how you feel will encourage them to make sure you feel included and involved when you’re with them.
Getting involved is another way to combat loneliness. Find a club with people with similar interests. You can make new connections and possibly find a place to belong. You can also invite your friends to hang out more often. If you were planning on wallowing all weekend, ask someone to go to the movies instead. Find ways to get out.
It’s important to note that everyone wants to feel like they belong. Even those people you think “belong” feel just as displaced. Belonging doesn’t mean fitting in perfectly with society; sometimes it just means finding people who make us feel a sense of possession.

Sincerely, Amber Leigh

How can I be more involved? Sincerely, Puzzled
Dear Puzzled,
There are many ways to get involved. In school, you can join a club. Many club options might interest you: Book Club, Star Wars Club, Feminist Club, etc. You can also start a club if you have an idea. Participating in school events count as well. If you like performing arts, the PAC puts on shows throughout the year. You could go to sports events and dances as well and engage in school spirit. If you want to make connections outside of school, there’s plenty of options as well. If you like music, there are places in town like Youth Music Project as well as School of Rock outside of town. You can volunteer in your community if you want to help, or you can join a club sports team if you feel competitive.
There are plenty of options if you’re looking to get involved. Do a few quick google searches, and you’ll find what you need.

Sincerely, Amber Leigh