Self esteem is a big deal in everyone's life and is very important for someone's self esteem to be high as possible. Self esteem is the amount of value that we consider we are worth. This differs from person to person as we all experience things differently and respond to things differently. Low self esteem is when you see yourself as having little value and feeling as though you can't and don't amount to much.
Low self esteem can be a result of multiple things. However, the most common reason for people having low self esteem is the result of them having negative life experiences. This can be something like being bullied or disrespected, etc. It also occurs because people compare themselves to others constantly. when we're young and most vulnerable.
If not addressed, low self esteem can manifest into bigger problems as it has an impact on our emotions, thoughts and behaviour. Low self esteem can lead to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. Low self esteem affects out through process as when we have low self esteem we are my prone to irrational and negative thoughts such as; ‘I'm not good enough’. ‘If I where this outfit, everyone will realise how ugly I am and then they will hate me.’ (Everyone has different experiences with low self esteem so these examples may not relate to everyone). Poor self esteem may affect someone's behaviour as our emotions and thoughts influence how we act. For example, if you are feeling anxious you may then have irrational thoughts in which may lead to you then not meeting up with friends or neglecting yourself. It's like a cycle.
From the age of 11 to 17 I was told that wasn't good enough, I was selfish, I would never achieve my goals, I was stupid, I'd be just like my mum when I grew up, I would be a terrible parent, etc… and this was all from one family member. I was also bullied by my peers between the ages of 11 to 16. I had a lot of negative life experience during my life that resulted in myself having low self esteem. I started to believe all of the things people said about me and I began to accept all this negativity and enforce it upon myself. My self esteem was so low that I believe it massively contributed to my depression. However, at the age of 17 I truly began to come to terms with who I am and I began to love myself again. Although it is a very slow process and I feel that I still have a long way to go, I believe that my self esteem has improved dramatically.
This is because I started to change things in my life, I accepted myself and I saw myself in a positive light. Therefore, I have come up with some ways in which may also help you to improve your self esteem. (Please remember that everyone is different and these things may not work for everyone. But don't be discouraged if these things don't work for you as with a little patience and research you will find a way that works for you).
The first thing that I suggest you do is to make changes in your life. Make a list of everything you don't like about yourself. Then go through that list and decide if you can change that thing or if it is completely out of your hands. If it something that you can change such as: they way you dress, your diet, your writing, etc. Then make a hierarchy composed of those things. Start with something that bothers you the least and try to change it. Ask a friend to help you buy some new outfits, take up art lessons, etc. Once you accomplish the less daunting changes you will begin to feel a little better about yourself and you will feel more able and motivated to carry on and change the other things in your life. Then move onto the next things on your list until you change them all.
The second thing I highly recommend you do is try to change the way you think about yourself. The reason why you should do this second is because once you have accomplished all those things it will be easier to change your mindset as you will already have something positive to think about. Start small. I suggest starting by saying one thing about yourself that you like each day. It doesn't matter if you find yourself repeating yourself each day, just try to say one thing that you like about yourself. It could be the fact that you accomplished those things that you wanted to change. This will give you a starting point and will allow you to slowly think more positively. Then I recommend asking your friend to compose a list of all the things they like about you. This will not only make you feel better but seeing it everyday will allow you to accept the positive things that your friends see in you. After you have done this a few times then you can go on to writing a list of all the things you like about yourself or what you do. Visually seeing those things written down each day will allow you to slowly accept those things for being true.
The last thing I think you should do is talk to somebody. If you find that this self help isn't working for you or you feel like it's getting worse then please seek professional help. Speak with you school/college councillor or even a doctor. Getting the correct support for you is extremely important as everyone is different and my knowledge and advice is limited by my experiences.
Teenagers With Experience is an online platform ran by teenagers for teenagers. We provide support through sharing our own experiences and providing advice based from this. If you need support, feel free to reach out to us on one of our social media platforms. We will do our best to support you and if we feel we cannot we will direct you to more suited, professional support.