Being a teen is no easy ride. Trying to understand and accept everything that’s changing about yourself while simultaneously working to find your place in the world can be very taxing, especially for your self-esteem and confidence.
If you find yourself feeling extremely self-conscious and unsure about things that you used to feel confident and comfortable about, don’t panic. These feelings are perfectly normal at your age. Still, this doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to lighten the load. These are difficult times, but you can help yourself gain more confidence and self-esteem by doing the following things.
1. Embrace the changes
There’s no way to stop the changes that you have to undergo now that you’re a teen. Your body will transform right before your eyes, as will your moods and urges. To have full control over your reaction to these inevitable changes, you have to welcome them with open arms.
Other people might have a tendency to make you feel embarrassed about your changing looks, demeanor, and voice, but having enough self-awareness to recognize that what you’re going through is as natural as natural can be, should give you immunity against how other people might try to make you feel.
Keep in mind that you’re effectively transitioning from being a kid to being an adult. This is a very beautiful thing even though it may not feel like it at times. In many ways, it’s like you’re being reborn as a brand new person. Feel free to explore and befriend this brand new person you’re becoming in order to ease the entire transition.
2. Be the first person to appreciate yourself
Cliche as it may sound, having ample self-love is the best way to boost your self-esteem. If you don’t appreciate yourself, one negative remark from another person can send you spiralling downwards. At the same time, even when other people compliment you, you won’t find it genuine if you don’t have the same appreciation for yourself.
Here’s an actionable tip: everyday after you wake up, list five things that you like about yourself. Make sure it’s a mix of physical attributes and personality traits. Always start your day by listing down things you like about yourself and you will find that this is actually a very good way to boost your daily mood and confidence.
3. Own your imperfections
While it’s good to be acclimated with your positive qualities, it also pays to be aware of where you fall short. Owning up to your imperfections means no one else can use them against you. It means being unapologetic about every bit of who you are as a person so that when other people criticize you, thinking they can bring you down, the only reaction they can get from you is “I know,” or “Yes. And what about it?”
In any case, practise responding in this self-assured confident manner when when someone decides to share their critical option of you, especially if it’s unnecessary, unwarranted and unhelpful.
4. Find people who make you feel safe
While self-love comes from within, it never hurts to surround yourself with people who have the ability to make you feel good about yourself. These might be your toughest years in terms of self-esteem, so you also need all the help you can get when boosting your confidence.
Spend time with people who actually make you feel good, instead of wasting your precious years trying to win the approval of cliques whose brand of confidence is anchored in bringing other people down. It’s normal for a teen to crave approval and a sense of belonging, but it must never be done to the detriment of your self-image and self-worth. What good is it to be part of the coolest, most popular group in school if all they ever do is pick on you everyday?“I am beautiful. I am loved. I am fearless. I am strong.” Having a mantra can do wonders for your confidence as a teenager in this world. Read on for more actionable tips on how to improve your self-esteem. Click To Tweet
5. Pursue things you’re good at
Doing things you actually like puts you in a better position to find success, which will ultimately uplift the way you feel about yourself. It’s difficult to feel confident when you’re doing things that you don’t like or things that you were only pressured into doing because your parents or your friends are into it.
Take the time to search your soul to find out what you really want outside of your academic requirements. Think about what makes you feel happy and confident, and do that thing often.
6. Focus on self-improvement
A huge source of low self-esteem among teens is not liking what they see when they look in the mirror. While we recognize that beauty comes in many different shapes and sizes, you can also channel your inner frustrations into steps that will make you like yourself more. It can be as simple as getting clothes you actually feel beautiful/handsome in or exploring your athletic side if you know that you’ll feel more confident about yourself when playing a sport you like. Learning to love the person that you see in the mirror is a big step for everyone, but it’s not unsurmountable.
Here’s another actionable tip: Every time you look in the mirror, find just one thing that you like about what you see. Perhaps your hair looks better today, or maybe enough sleep means that your eyes look brighter. Either way, find something good in yourself in the mirror every time you look in to it.Being uncomfortable in your own skin is the worst way to waste your wonderful teenage years. Here are 15 strategies on how to improve your self-esteem so you can enjoy the best years of your life so far. Click To Tweet
7. Make room for failure
As you focus on self-improvement, though, keep in mind that being too hard on yourself also causes low levels of confidence and self-esteem. You’re still trying to explore your new self, so leave enough room for failures and mistakes. Everybody makes them, and it’s no use beating yourself up when you can always just focus on being a better version of yourself day after day after day.
Mistakes, errors, pitfalls – they are truly all simply a part of the life-long learning process. While it is easy to look at a grown-up, particularly one who has done well for him/herself and believe that their road to success was perfectly smooth. It is easy to forget that what you see is a result of years, even decades of work and effort. Every single person you speak to or ask, will tell you that they have time and time again had failures and made mistakes. The key thing is to always, always pick yourself up and keep moving forward.
8. Ignore bullies
As mentioned earlier, there will always be people who find ‘happiness’ by bringing other people down. Bullies will always want to poke holes in the confidence you already built for yourself, but they won’t be able to do so if you do not give them the chance. The best way to deal with bullies is to ignore them.
Remember that when people feel the need to inflict pain on others, it’s usually because they are in too much pain but they don’t know how to deal with the pain in a healthy way. While you shouldn’t be obligated to make excuses for the behavior of your bullies, it might put your mind at ease to realize that the hurtful words and actions of a bully reveals more about the kind of person they are than the kind of person you are.
In the world we live in today, bullies often don’t stop at the school gates. Through social media and other online platforms, tormentors can also exist within the boundaries of your own private space, but only if you let them. Remember to always ignore bullies or any unkind remarks and never share on toxic messages. Remember that you can unfriend, unfollow and block unwanted attention.
9. Find good role models
The importance of finding good role models to emulate at this point in your life cannot be overstated. It’s natural to struggle in finding your own identity and your own voice at this age, but it should also come with the self-awareness that you are currently impressionable and are likely to simply mirror the identity of someone you regard as your idol, may it be a celebrity, your senior in school, or even an older cousin. There is nothing wrong about this, since it’s inevitable that you will eventually find your own identity.
Think of it this way: you are a collection of the best qualities possessed by your role models, so for your own sake, make sure the people you stan actually deserve it..
10. Be discerning when consuming popular media
In connection with finding good role models, you have to be careful looking for one in popular media. While it’s true that there are a lot of inspiring celebrities that are good people to emulate, we can’t deny that the very nature of the entertainment industry makes it doubly hard for us and our self-esteems.
The sooner you realize that everything in popular media is glossed over, Photoshopped, and modified to the point of exaggeration, the earlier you will learn to never compare yourself to the stars you see in magazines and print ads.
All your life, mass media will impose upon you impossible standards of beauty and behavior that are far from what is ideal in real life. Luckily, social media and all its nouveau movements are giving celebrities the chance to show who they really are outside the harsh limelight. Believe me, they have stretch marks, back rolls, and uneven skin textures too, and their picture-perfect physiques in those print ads are more a result of intense air-brush editing than any fad diet or impossible workout that you might feel constrained to try just to look like them.Did you know that your choice of people to stan might be affecting your confidence and how you see yourself? Here are 15 ways to combat external factors that might be tanking your self-esteem as a teen. Click To Tweet
11. Avoid social comparisons
In general, it’s good to avoid comparing yourself to other people, both in terms of your looks and achievements. Everyone goes through life in their own pace, so making social comparisons won’t do anything aside from tank your confidence at a time when you really need it to be intact.
Accept that you may be great at some things, OK at others and downright rubbish at others more, but what does it matter? Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses and as you learn more about yourself, become more confident in your own abilities and learn to see your own true worth and value, you will hopefully learn to embrace you for who you are.
12. Exercise often
Confidence is, put simply, feeling good about yourself. Doing physical activities like working out at home does wonders for one’s mood and a good way to channel your pent-up frustrations to turn them into something good for you. Work out not because you want to look a certain way but because you want to feel a certain way.
Every jog or run, every walk with a friend, any time spent in nature outdoors helps to increase ‘feel good’ endorphins which in turn can help improve self-esteem and reduce stress and anxiety.
13. Practice meditation and self-reflection
Believe it or not, the biggest enemy of your self-esteem is not bullies or mass media– it’s that voice in your own head. Your own thoughts which might sometimes betray you into thinking that you’re not good enough and convince you that there’s nothing to be confident about. The best way to battle these thoughts is through meditation and ample self-reflection.
Have a good mantra to repeat to yourself over and over again when you meditate. It can be something like, “I am beautiful. I am strong. I am whole. I am fearless.” You might feel awkward saying these things to yourself at first, but soon enough you will notice yourself gaining more confidence as you slowly convince yourself that you truly are, indeed, all of those things.
14. Be good to others
Being good to other people always leaves you feeling fulfilled and satisfied. Radiate the light you want to see in the world and it will always reflect back onto you. Sometimes, dishing out compliments feels even better than receiving them. Be generous with your praise, your smile, and your compassion, and you’ll find yourself standing taller in confidence than ever before.Finding your place and taking up space as a teenager is only possible if you have the self-confidence to boot. Here are 15 ways that can do wonders on your self-image. Click To Tweet
15. Trust the process
Finally, all you really have to do is trust the process. Growth is awkward, uncomfortable, and quite embarrassing at times, but it’s essential in transforming you into the kind of person you’re supposed to be. You won’t be a teen forever, so make these years count. Trust that everything is happening in its due course, so try not to worry too much about what other people might think of you at this point in your life.
The best way to waste your teenage years is to spend them feeling out of place in your own skin. Take up the space and be unapologetically you, even if you’re not entirely sure who you’re meant to be at this point. Do the things that make you happy, surround yourself with people and activities that make you feel good, and don’t be too hard on yourself — your best and most exciting days are unfolding right here, right now, right before you. Enjoy the ride!