The first tenet of Buddhism says: ¨Life is suffering.¨ No matter who we are or what age we are, we experience some negative feelings. But, each period of our lives brings a different sort of struggle. When we are young children, we usually deal with trying to understand the world as well as developing some independence. Young adults often are trying to establish themselves in their career, relationships, or their family. And the eldest among us generally are coping with a loss of independence.
Likewise, adolescence brings its own challenges. The future has virtually limitless possibilities for a teenager, and that unknown, while exciting, also carries much to be concerned about. "What if I don't become the person I want to become? Will I achieve my personal, professional, and social goals?" And it can be difficult to embrace that uncertainty, difficult to have an attitude that says, "Hey, it's all going to work out somehow. Strive for what you want, but be content with what you have."
To me one of the main parts of counseling adolescents is to try and encourage such an attitude in them, and not just the part about being content. Some adolescents need to be challenged in the appropriate manner to put forward the effort needed to strive for something worthwhile. On the other hand, some adolescents have the striving part down very well but are too fixated on achievement and the external validation that can accompany it. As a result, those adolescents are more prone to anxiety about the uncertainty of their futures and not making some kind of misstep. If a counselor can help an adolescent find that balance between taking it easy and pushing oneself, he or she has gone along way in helping that individual.