By Thamar Jones
When I was a teenager—thirteen, fourteen, fifteen years old, I was an ugly little thing with frumpy hair and frumpy clothes. My body gangly and angular, my movements clumsy and awkward. Personality: sensitive and holier than thou with poor manners. My self-confidence was to the floor.
Thank God for self-help tools and my determination to be better.
For many, the teen years are filled with self-doubt, a questionable body image, and tons of insecurities. While it gets better with age, issues with self-confidence can be a lifelong challenge. Regardless of your age, I’m sure that you wish to be self-assured, radiating with good vibrations and confidence. The good news is that just like me, you can take steps to build your self-esteem. With some work, you can cultivate an attractive personality and enjoy the benefits of transforming into the best version of yourself. Here are some of the strategies that helped to instill life-long self-confidence in me.
Balance Self-Acceptance with Self-Improvement
Teens who struggle to master a skill may conclude that they’re complete failures. A teen who has difficulty with math may decide she’s not smart. Or a teen who fails to make the volleyball team may decide she’ll never be good at sports. It is possible to accept your flaws while also striving to become better. Rather than label yourself as “stupid,” understand that while you may be struggling academically, you can still strive to become better.
Learn the skill of assertiveness
Everyone needs to know how to speak up for themselves in an appropriate manner. As an assertive person, you will be able to ask for help when you do not understand your school work, rather than allow yourself to fall behind. By speaking up for yourself, you will also be less likely to be treated poorly by your peers. You’ll speak up for yourself when you don’t like how you’re being treated and you’ll be able to ask for what you need in a direct manner.
Explore New Opportunities
Trying new activities, discovering hidden talents, and challenging yourself to become better can help grow your confidence. But, many people, particularly young people are afraid of failure and don’t want to embarrass themselves.
Join a new club, play a musical instrument, engage in volunteer work, or find a part-time job. Mastering new skills will not only help you to feel better about yourself, it will make you better.
Seek Positive Role Models
You can learn the most about confidence by having positive role models that are confident and self- assured. Once you’ve identified some individuals in your life that have a positive self-image, you can emulate some of their good qualities and behavior.
It is also helpful to identify behavior that show poor self-esteem in others and make a mental note to steer clear of those actions.
Build Self-Worth on a Healthy Foundation
If you only feel good about yourself when you get a certain amount of likes on social media or when you fit into a certain size of pants, you’ll struggle to maintain confidence when situations do not fit your needs. Basing self-worth on superficial things, external circumstances, or other people leads to a lack of confidence in the long-run.
Build a healthy and stable foundation for your self-worth by developing values. True self-worth is about living according to your personal values. It is more important to be kind and caring rather than popular or pretty.
Make Good choices
Staying up late scrolling through social media on your phone, spreading a nasty rumor about a classmate, procrastinating when you’ve got a project to complete, or skipping class to fit in with friends- these poor choices might be tempting in the moment but in the long run there will be consequences to face. And when you make bad choices against your own better judgment, it takes a toll on your self- esteem. Making better choices will increase your confidence in your ability to make healthy decisions.
Develop Positive Self-Talk
Your inner monologue will play a major role in how you feel about yourself. If you’re always thinking things like, “I’m so ugly,” or “No one likes me,” you’ll bound to feel bad about yourself. So develop healthy self-talk. Recognize the thoughts in your mind about yourself that are harsh, detrimental and that are simply not true. Reframe irrational thoughts like, “I’m going to fail because I’m dumb,” with something more realistic like, “I can pass math class if I work hard and put in some extra effort.”
By Thamar Jones