Don’t lose to low self-esteem

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By Sara Seibel 

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Low self-esteem is not uncommon among teens. Counteract it with positive thinking and strong friendships. Photo by Sara Seibel, illustration by Josh Christensen

She moves down the hallway with leaden steps, hiding behind a curtain of hair. She seems to care more about her feet than where she is going. On the opposite side of the school, a boy ducks into a hallway going out of his way to take the less-populated path to his class, avoiding the popular crowd that always hovers at the end of the quad. If one of these sounds like you, you’re probably struggling from low self-esteem.

According to DoSomething.org, low self-esteem is a thinking disorder in which a person sees him or herself as inadequate, unlovable, and/or incompetent. If you have low self-esteem, you might experience anxiety, eating disorders, social withdrawal, and many other symptoms. It is also common for you to refuse compliments, as you can’t see what other people see in you.

“If one of my friends isn’t confident in who they are, I try to cheer them up to make them see that they are good enough,” Ethan Vidas, freshman, said.

Middle and high school students can suffer from low self-esteem because of larger competition and the desire to fit in. This can affect their daily lives and participation in school; however, there are ways to lift your self-confidence and view yourself in a more positive light.

“Whenever I am feeling down I know I can count on my friends to help me see the brighter side of every situation,” Kavya Mohan, junior, said.

Try to build on existing social foundations. Instead of relying on isolation, work on your relationships with your family and friends. Having people around to help you cope, to listen to you, and to understand your problems will motivate you and reduce stress.

Take time to enjoy healthy activities; there is nothing wrong with letting go sometimes and doing something that brings you joy and satisfaction. Trying out new hobbies might help boost your confidence and knock away negative emotions.

Stop comparing yourself to others; this is a common teen mistake. Constantly envying and comparing yourself with other people exudes negative thoughts and feelings. Instead of caring about how much “better” another person may be than you, focus on how your skills are unique and that there is no one else like you.

“I love that I am unique. It gives me individuality and helps me make decisions and instincts that only I can decide myself,” Ashley Lung, senior, said.

Use social media with a positive outlook. You’re probably thinking this is a bad idea, but going online while you’re suffering from low spirits can be beneficial. Use it for education and inspiration, like following topics and other news in which you’re interested. There are many uplifting sites that can help boost your confidence, like motivational and inspirational Instagrams and TED Talks. But don’t forget to limit and filter out the amount of news to which you’re exposed. Too much negative information can lower confidence even more.

“I’m not kidding when I say I stay confident by looking at myself in the mirror and telling myself that I can do it,” Isabelle Bizzarro, senior, said.

Low self-esteem doesn’t mean a life full of struggles, and it doesn’t have to last forever. The key is to believe in yourself, and believe that you are worth it, in order to be truly confident and comfortable in your own skin.