Naturing Yourself This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   I'm in my second to last year in high ischool, and lately I've been feeling really low. Things haven't been going well with my boyfriend, and of course, my parents and I never see eye to eye. But, lately, through my English class, I've been reading a lot. I don't mean I'm reading to escape my problems, I'm reading and at the same time, learning. I'm learning about being yourself , an individual, and I'm reading interesting pieces about Nature from poets like Emerson and Thoreau. I find their words inspiring, especially when I am down.

Nature is everything not man-made. It is a personality all around us. Nature is the trees in your backyard, the wild animals on the mountain top or in the woods. Nature is flowers, bumblebees and icicles.

I've been reading that Nature is totally accepting; whenever I am angry or upset, if I only wander outdoors to clear my head, Nature will not bother me by asking questions if I don't feel like talking. Nature will not add to my problems either. (I've never heard of a bush calling anyone names, or a tree backstabbing you.) Rather, being with Nature allows you to be alone, but not lonely. You can cry hysterically, or dance around as goofy as you want. Nature won't tell anyone.

Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau spent a majority of their lives alone, getting in touch with Nature and trying to understand themselves. They both studied how society affects individuals and believed the strongest of people are the ones who can feel completely comfortable having themselves as their own best friend. The solid individual is not swayed by the crowd, they are in tune with their own likes, dislikes, and feelings.

I personally tried this Nature cure. I was upset, and instead of crying alone in my bedroom, I slipped on my sneakers and coat and went for a walk. My intention was to think through my problem, and as I began to walk and to think, I realized the cold air made me come alive. I can't describe exactly what happened, but when I was finally back in my bedroom I had new respect for myself.

I use Nature a lot now; I am my own best friend before anyone else. Respecting yourself and having time to yourself helps you to see that the people you are closest to (and may argue with the most) need their alone time too. Perhaps suggest to them reading Emerson or Thoreau. Or experience Nature. n

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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