I'll Never be Good Enough and Other Lies I Tell Myself
Never before has self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence been so low. Many generations are feeling it, but none like our teenagers.
I’m not just talking about the recent world situation and “stay at home” orders, this decline has been happening for years.
The advent of social media, increased celebrity worship, and constant social comparison is taking its toll. The 24/7, bombardment of media and advertising, with it’s underlying message, screaming…
You need to look a certain way to have value!
You need to have a certain car, clothes and make-up to be worthy!
You need to be the best at all cost!
But, Hey that’s how they sell stuff right!
It’s no wonder that peer pressure and the pressure to look perfect, get perfect grades and maintain a perfect social life is off the charts.
So much so that, according to the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the suicide rate among people ages 10 to 24 years old climbed 56% between 2007 and 2017, with the biggest rise being the 10-14 year old age group and the numbers are still increasing.
It's easy to see how these pressures can negatively effect your teens that don't have a strong sense of self.
Now it's important to understand the distinction between, self-esteem, self-worth and self- confidence, sometimes they are used interchangeably but they are different...
Our internal assessment of our qualities and attributes...the manner in which we evaluate ourselves and have self-respect.
The belief that you are lovable and valuable regardless of how you evaluate your traits.
How you feel about your abilities and can vary from situation to situation.
These do support each other. When you love yourself, your self-esteem improves, which makes you more confident. When you are confident in areas of your life, you begin to increase your overall sense of esteem.
If your confidence is low in a particular area, lets say math, then drawing on a strong self- worth and self-esteem will enable you to know that you can improve those skills, becoming more competent, thus increasing confidence.
This, unfortunately, can work the other way for many teens, where they judge themselves harshly for not being good at something, and they turn that criticism inward, thus chipping away at their self-esteem and self-worth.
Signs that your teen is struggling with low Self-Esteem
- Excessively comparing self to others
- Experiences intense self-criticism
- Negative self-talk
- Socially withdrawn
- Defensive and hypersensitive
- Bad posture, head down, not looking you in the eye
- Doesn’t believe a genuine compliment
- Destructive and/or self-harming behavior
- Constantly putting other people down
- Giving up to soon for fear of failure
- Poor communication skills
Ways you can help
- Teach and encourage your teenager to be proud of his efforts instead of always trying to be #1 or excel at everything they try to do. Mistakes should be viewed as learning opportunities, not failures.
- Teach your teenager how to use Positive Self-Talk. If you hear a lot of disparaging comments or negativity, encourage them to shift their language. Statements like “I can do this. I’ve studied hard,” and “I know I tried my best and that’s all that matters” should be encouraged.
- Take stock in your teens interests. Ask them to teach you something about what they are interested in. Not only will this give you something fun to connect over, this will translate for them that you are interested in their opinion and it matters.
- Encourage your teenager to try new things. Team sports or getting involved in volunteering or a service project are great ways to make new friends. When you are in service and contribution to others, you get out of your own head and worries. This is a great self-esteem booster.
- Help your teen learn to set goals and then take steps to accomplish them. This is a learned process and will set them up for success in the future.