Every day we see it – someone getting bashed on for their weight or appearance. Even celebrities get attacked on an almost daily basis from complete strangers online. For teens it can be pretty tough; we go day-by-day just trying to figure out who we are and what we want to do with our lives. Having the burden and stress of success can make us feel bad about ourselves. And this only gets worse when you factor in bullying and negative thoughts or insults from others.
I would be surprised if you have not had one negative thought about yourself. They come in all shapes and sizes. You get your test back and call yourself “stupid” because you did not do as well as you wanted to. Or you look in the mirror and call yourself “ugly” or “fat”. These are all examples of negative self-image.
The issue with having a bad self-image is that when you constantly are putting yourself down, it’s difficult to hold your head up high and take on the world with the confidence you want and arguably need to succeed. And the labels we place on ourselves are rarely ever true. We tend to be our own worst critics.
Some ways to maintain a positive self-image:
- Take a few moments to acknowledge your strengths – not your weaknesses. Everyone is skilled and excels in a different way. Whenever you’re feeling down on yourself, remind yourself of your accomplishments and good characteristics.
- Feel comfortable in your skin. Every body is beautiful. Own your size and your look. If everyone fit the same cookie-cutter definition of “beautiful” no one would be special.
- Remind yourself of your goals and why you are pursuing them. Reminding yourself of your passions can be very motivating and looking at everything you have already accomplished in getting to the point that you’re at can be very satisfying.
- Say something nice to others. Saying something to brighten someone else’s day can make you feel happier too. Even if it’s just a smile, try reaching out to someone who looks like they’re having a bad day.
Everyone gets down on themselves at some point – it is completely normal. But it’s how you react to these negative thoughts that matters. You can let them overcome you, or you can take a few moments to acknowledge your positive attributes and continue on with your life. Confidence is key. Tell yourself you can’t do something or that you aren’t skilled, beautiful, etc. and you will believe it as truth. Instead, tell yourself that you CAN do something and that you ARE skilled, beautiful, etc. Odds are these are the real truths.
For resources on people to talk to or go to for help: