It’s ever so much easier than you would tend to imagine.
High school is a difficult time for most kids. They’re becoming self aware. Exploring who they are, what their place in society is and what their interests are. If that’s not bad enough they also suddenly get raging hormones and have to learn how to deal with their sexuality.
High school is a period in which everyone feels insecure. Fitting in and being popular are very important. It is a place of navel gazing where everyone is constantly trying to see where they stand in the human hierarchy and where the opinion of others is super important.
In hindsight we know all of this is silly, but during high school we all feel the pressure. We’re placed in a lot of uncomfortable positions and we develop coping mechanisms to deal with them.
In hindsight we know all of this is silly, at least objectively we do. But humans aren’t really objective. They’re emotional. High school is a time of many emotions and most of us never process them. We never learnt healthy ways of processing things as kids so high school doesn’t get processed.
For many high school was not a good time. They weren’t a popular kid. They didn’t get the girl. Nobody looked up to them. Perhaps they even got bullied or excluded from the group (the worst thing that can happen to any 15 year old).
That’s a lot of repressed trauma/issues. So when I posted that photo of the stereotypical popular couple, it stinged for a lot of people. The couple on the photo represent the archetypical popular kids. They’re good looking, athletic, popular, probably from wealthy families, etc. They’re the kids everyone wishes they were. They seemingly had it all, and worst of all, it didn’t even seem to cost them any effort.
Which is why I tweeted that this photo invokes primal reactions in people. They are the couple everyone wishes they were in high school They represent the summun of popularity and success in high school. Those who fell short this ideal cannot help but feel the sting of envy. Even if they are way past their high school years.
Simply because they never dealt with their teenage emotions. Their self image took serious blows during their high school period and left wounds which never properly healed. My tweets resonated with their pain and it caused them to become very upset.
One of the things I’ve found fascinating about online culture is the way that damaged people not only don’t hesitate to expose their psychological scars to complete strangers, but more often than not, are completely unaware that they are doing so. As with the physical martial arts, it is very, very difficult to attempt a psychological attack on someone else without opening up and exposing your own psychology to them.
Hence my amusement when a self-appointed critic calls me “fat” or an “incel”, asserts that I’m insecure about my intelligence, or claims that Spacebunny doesn’t exist; the less an attack is focused on observable attributes or behaviors, the more likely it is that the attacker is engaging in psychological projection and revealing their own insecurities.
A psychologically healthy individual will tend to have a response to the image of a pretty cheerleader kissing her football-playing boyfriend that ranges from the positive to the indifferent. But a psychologically unhealthy individual will be readily traumatized by the mere sight of that which is good, that which is beautiful, or that which is true.
So, if you find yourself tending to react with negativity towards that which is positive, it would probably be a good idea to contemplate why that is, and what youthful trauma is troubling you.