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Letter to Charlie/Important Lesson (The Perks of Being A Wallflower)

April 6, 2013

Dear Charlie,

I am so glad to have received your letters. I learned something from your letters that will stick with me for the rest of my life. When your teacher Mr. Anderson said, “We accept the love we think we deserve,” I pondered the phrase. How do people view themselves and create standards for the love they deserve? How does the media influence this process? This phrase applies in different ways to popular teens and unpopular teens. Mr. Anderson’s mantra is an important lesson for all.
Many people look at themselves in repugnance and wonder, “What kind of love do I deserve with this body and this personality?” The kind of love they think they deserve is usually not the kind that they dream about or that romantic movies promise them. Many people are driven to accept love that ends in heartbreak and disappointment. Our standards for love develop in our minds from the information about relationships that we are exposed to. “Our culture gives us romantic literature, tips for love, romantic movies, and insider reports on what women and men want in love. In the process, it shapes our standards for the love we think we deserve. Sometimes the standards we set work in our favor and make life more enjoyable with people who love us and whom we love back. Other times, however, a person can be hurt verbally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally by a wrong definition of love.

The media fills our world with images of “perfection”—the “right” diets and the “only” ways to feel pleasure. This pressures people to conform to the “perfect” image. The media has created a type of perfection that, in reality, cannot be achieved. Have you ever stopped to look at the famous Hollywood stars? Many of them have gotten married only to discover that it was a mistake. Countless celebrities are addicted to substances such as alcohol, tobacco, and drugs (which can harm the body). They, too, are human and think they are flawed. Although many of these celebrities are thought to be prototypes of “perfection,” this is only a myth. They also accept only the love they think they deserve.
Many teenagers are hopelessly drawn to the media’s images as they struggle to establish their identities. They are constantly told they need to change to be popular or at least not become “weird” or “nerdy.” The media portrays popular teens as having it all, while nonconformists are seen as bizarre, withdrawn, or marred goods. In reality, there are pros and cons to both sides. To be popular means having social, athletic, and, often, academic advantages, but popular teens must follow a formula. Typically, they must be well to do, physically attractive, fashionably dressed, have perfect grades, and (depending on gender) be dating a sports star or a petite and peppy cheerleader. Only some are allowed to venture outside of the norm. By contrast, nonconformists miss out on the social acceptance that comes with popularity because they dress unfashionably, are physically awkward, and pursue hobbies that are not in style or are eccentric. While they have more freedom to be themselves, they can also be discriminated against socially and made fun of for dating the wrong people or using drugs and alcohol (whereas popular students commonly get away with substance abuse). This unfairness occurs due to the effect media standards have on teenagers who are still learning to think for themselves and can be easily misdirected.
In my observation, both popular students and nonconformists accept the love they think they deserve. High school students are still in the process of figuring out who they are and how they want to lead their lives. They are pressured by their peers to choose either the “in” crowd and have all they want, or to choose not to conform and risk being shamed. Social pressures force most teens to be other than what they want to be, at least temporarily. Under these circumstances, healthy relationships are difficult to find because people need to feel that they are accepted the way they are in their close friendships. Being forced to choose between acceptance and authenticity means sacrificing integrity. Therefore, when students in high school search for what they think they deserve in love, their standards tend to be low because they see themselves as failures. They have given up autonomy to be part of the in-crowd and as a result, feel empty inside, or they struggle to maintain self-esteem in the face of social isolation; they do not realize that nobody can succeed at being perfect as portrayed in the media.
Charlie, what your teacher has taught me, through your letter, is an important life lesson. In my high school, I am neither an outsider nor a popular person. In fact, I am in the middle. I see what other people are like, and reflect upon the pros and cons of being either one or the other. In the end, I always find my spot to be the happiest. Everyone in my school respects and likes my kind nature. I can freely help everyone when needed. I am the person who unconditionally loves everyone, even though some personalities at my school are tough to deal with. My teachers say that I am the glue that keeps us together as a loving, inviting community. I enjoy being part of a community and believe that belonging to one is the kind of love everyone deserves.
I have my own insecurities. I must be confident, however, that I deserve more than what I think I do. Many teenagers disparage themselves, and I want to be different. Like Sam and you, I want to be a teen that stands out because I accept my body and my personality. I want to be part of the percentage that really tries not to think about what others might say. The standard I need to follow is that anyone who wants a relationship with me should accept me for who and what I am. “We accept the love we think we deserve” is a phrase that teaches multiple lessons about love. This phrase could change the lives of most people. Thank you so much for your letters and the lesson you have taught me.

Alicia Morgan

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RoyalCorona said...
May 30, 2013 at 11:51 pm
Wow! This was really good!!
allhallowsevekatieThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Apr. 30, 2013 at 12:21 pm
DecemberAli27 replied...
Apr. 30, 2013 at 1:37 pm
Thanks, for reading it... I appreciate it.
SooBlueNight said...
Apr. 30, 2013 at 12:21 pm
luv it !!!!
DecemberAli27 replied...
Apr. 30, 2013 at 1:38 pm
Thanks for reading this article...I really appreciate it 
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