Your self-esteem is your own. While it may feel like other people have sole control of it, that is simply not true. It is up to you whether or not you have high self-esteem. Make the decision to see yourself for what you are: a wonderful young person who is full of potential.
Your self-esteem can seem particularly vulnerable as a teenager. It is essential to be loved and to feel love, but make sure this need does not turn into a dependence on what other people think of you. If you realize your own worth and potential, then it is not nearly so important how other people see you. Society and the media would have you believe that you are not worth much if you are not wearing the most trendy style or of you don’t rate high in a popularity contest, whether that contest is real or just in your head. Never let anyone else tell you what you are worth.
If you treat yourself well and truly have an understanding and an appreciation for your capabilities, you will find self-confidence with or without the support of people who tell you they are your friends. True friends will encourage you to develop your individuality and your talents. It is not a true friendship which requires something to validate it. Surround yourself with love and support, even if at first that support seems to come only from yourself. As you work on your faith in yourself, other people will notice and admire that confidence.
Self-confidence is not arrogance. Those who put others down generally have low self-esteem themselves. True self-confidence is not afraid of the good it sees in others, nor is it afraid of complimenting good traits in others. You can build yourself and others up at the same time.
Build your self-esteem by learning more about yourself. Pursue the interests and talents with which you have already been blessed. When you develop your natural talents, you see the worth that God has put into you and you can see there is even more potential there. Once you have started building your own interests and talents, try to help other people develop theirs as well. Don’t be afraid of the things you may not excel in. No one is perfect at everything. Simply do the best you can in all areas and realize that, while you may not be the best in an area now, you have your whole life ahead of you to improve.
Some teenagers find it hard to go to school and face cliques made up of people who seem to have everything when the teens themselves see only someone lacking when viewed through the clique’s eyes. While the kids in school may seem to “have it all,” they have their own trials. Popularity does not bring happiness, and often brings more struggles and pressures. Be confident that you have everything you need to be happy. The saying goes, “Happiness is not having what you want; it’s wanting what you have.” This could be applied to self-confidence: “Self-esteem is not having other people think well of you; it is thinking well of yourself.”
It is very sad that when self-esteem seems to be the most impressionable it also seems to be the most under attack. If you face each day knowing you are worth something, it is easier to shake off the falsehoods that the media would have you believe. You do not have to buy the most expensive clothes and follow the latest styles to have self-worth; you do not have to be voted the most popular; you do not have to live in a middle- and high school world where the most important thing is how you look and who you are dating or who your friends are. You simply need to be responsible for yourself, to look beyond the facade that magazines and movies paint of a superficial world, and to love yourself for the unique individual you are. Once you are comfortable with yourself and truly know who you are, others will respect and admire you for that. No one controls your self-esteem but you, no matter what the world tries to tell you. If you are not happy with who you perceive yourself to be, then take a closer look, develop your natural talents, and realize your potential.