The Social Butterfly: Transforming the Teenage Soul Series Part 1

Part 1: Soul vs. Society – there can only Be One    

Since October, I’ve had an ample opportunity to write about a pretty wide range of topics. However, as I reflect upon my own work, I realized that there is a topic I haven’t even touched that is central to every teen’s journey: their social life. Expectations, anxieties, conformities…all are very real issues that teens face on a daily basis. When facing such pressures from our own friends (not even mentioning from adults), our grandest version of ourselves becomes blurred with the greatest vision of themselves. With a strong level of emotional attachment, these versions undergo so many alterations that it gets to a point where we don’t even remember Who We Are anymore. And when we forget Who We Are….we forget Why. And How. And Love. And Life. Yikes.

As a result of this seemingly increasing likelihood, the following question has often been posed: In the twenty-first century, is it possible for teens to have a spiritual life and a social life? And the answer, as always, is yes. From even the most pragmatic point of view, the teenage experience is our very own REVOLUTION EVOLUTION. As we make the transition from “childhood” to “adulthood,” we not only evolve into maturity (or at least some state resembling maturity), but we also adopt and adapt to an entirely new set of beliefs and values. It’s not a question of if it will happen, but rather a question of how it will happen. And so this is the question I pose to this generation’s teenagers: how will we become one in society?

In the highest spiritual sense, we must be one within society, not without. Being one does not mean one or the other, it means being one within the other.  As American Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson reflected in his essay Self-Reliance, “It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude”. Understanding Who You Are, but still being a part of something greater, is the natural balance of spirituality and society. For the journey of the soul is NOT just of the individual spirit, but also of the collective consciousness. When both are in a heightened state, then the evolution of ALL life is accelerated.

While we undergo our own evolution, teens should know their own level of empowerment to work spiritually within society. Frankly, as with the majority of the human race, teenagers ARE social beings that desire company, especially company that elevates their awareness. Presence does make a difference. Instead of continuing to feed into the belief that bliss is only achieved under a solidary bonsai tree, be it yourself, in every situation. Feel the energy in the room, and if you don’t like it, change it. Let your own wonderful beingness be the center of everywhere you go. Bring your own level of awareness, and let the rest just elevate to you.   

In the following weeks, the transformation (or rather, the metamorphosis) of the teenager – at the social level – will be further explored. Compared to these dramatic transformations, the journey from the hungry hungry caterpillar to the delicate butterfly seems trifle in comparison. With insight, intention, and awareness, even the teenage years can be in balance.  

(Lauren is a Feature Editor of The Global Conversation. She lives in Wood Dale, IL, and can be reached at

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