Self-esteem refers to how you feel about yourself. When you feel good about yourself, you are more likely to believe in yourself, feel accepted by your peers and take pride in your accomplishments.
When you don’t feel good about yourself, your self-esteem is low. This can affect your body image, mood, and you might have difficulty making friends.
What Affects My Self-Esteem as a Teenager?
The people in your life play a huge role when it comes to developing your self-esteem. Whether it is your parents, siblings, teachers or peers, the way you are treated by others will impact how you feel about yourself.
Stressful life events, mood disorders, trauma, and ongoing medical issues can all impact your self-esteem too.
Even a series of unlucky events can start to take a toll on your self esteem if you don’t have a very strong foundation of self esteem yet, and some teens haven’t built up their self-esteem quite yet, especially in a world where they’re often made to feel lesser-than or not good enough.
How to Build Self Esteem in Teenagers
If you think you have low self-esteem, there are steps you can take to help build your confidence and self-image, so you can start seeing yourself more positively.
While there isn’t an overnight solution to positive self-esteem, if you are willing to put the work in and commit to viewing yourself differently, you will notice a difference. Here’s some advice on how to improve self esteem in teenagers.
1. Celebrate your achievements to improve self esteem for teens
With low self-esteem in teens, it isn’t uncommon to fear failure and avoid trying new things. That’s why it’s important to put an end to self-doubt and start celebrating your achievements whether they are big or small.
You know how to achieve a big accomplishment? It starts with a series of smaller accomplishments – so don’t be afraid to try things, fail, keep trying, then succeed.
Once you see what you’re capable of, you’ll start to gain more self-esteem, and that’s why most activities one can do, can also be used as teenage confidence building activities.
2. Be kind to yourself
You are your own worst critic when you have low self-esteem. You might tell yourself things like “I’m not pretty enough” or “I’m too stupid to try that” but that’s not fair. Get rid of the negative self-talk and start forgiving yourself for mistakes.
If you are a very self-deprecating person who just naturally has this way of talking, it’s worth thinking about the types of messages that you’re sending to yourself, even if it’s inadvertent it can definitely start to pile up over time and even jokes about yourself can start to feel real.
On that same note, it can really help low self esteem in teens if you think about yourself in a more positive way.
3. Social media breaks help with low self esteem in teens
Social media platforms can be a great way to keep in touch with friends and family. However, they can also be the cause of poor self-esteem, anxiety, and depression for teenagers when used excessively.
Not only do these platforms interfere with developing healthy social skills, but they can also be a source the cyberbullying and imposter syndrome, the feeling of inadequacy from comparing yourself to others. We recommend limiting the time spent on all social platforms or taking a break altogether.
There’s a lot of good that can come from taking a social media break, or at least frequently reminding your self that what you see on social media isn’t “real life”, people are all just putting the best image of themselves forward.
So, while you’re sitting in bed feeling horrible about yourself, and looking at everyone else’s perfect life – just remember that they’re only showing you the perfect parts. They aren’t posting about the time they spend in bed feeling down.
4. Surround yourself with good friends
Building positive relationships can be a challenge for anyone, but it is especially challenging when you have poor self-esteem. You might choose to surround yourself with people who don’t make positive choices or treat you with respect, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
The first step is to stop any negative self-talk and put yourself out there, no matter how scared you might feel. Remember, good friends will be there to cheer you on, even if you aren’t feeling too sure of yourself. They will be there to support you through each challenge and will want to build you up – not tear you down.
5. Volunteer in the community
Volunteering isn’t just good for the community, it’s good for you too! It can make you feel like you’ve accomplished something important while making you feel positive about yourself. As a bonus, volunteering can be a good way to meet new people and develop long lasting, healthy friendships!
Final Thoughts on Improving Self Esteem for Teens
There’s no overnight, instant way to suddenly fix self-esteem issues. If you’re having a tough time in school, or socially, or at home… it’s important to remember that it will almost certainly pass.
If you need someone to talk there, here’s a page with some support resources and hotlines for teenagers that you could call.
There’s a pretty good chance you’re awesome. Introspective people who are a bit too hard on themselves often end up doing great things, if they can just get out of their own way a little bit more. Maybe there are some things about yourself that you can improve, but be realistic about it, be patient, and make sure you’re doing this for healthy reasons.