Let me be completely honest – no one thinks they peaked in their teens. None of my friends look back on their time in high school and go, “Yep, I tell ya what, it all went downhill after I had my braces removed and grew into my clothes.”
This is a genuinely helpful tidbit to know if you’re currently feeling a bit average about yourself – use your teen years as a free-trial period. You can get away with a lot more, you won’t look the way you do forever and better yet, you’re still yet to have your adulthood glow-up. Enjoy the ride.
I know, I know, that’s all well and good but you’re dealing with how you feel right now. People like me can tell you that you’ll learn to love yourself more and more as the years go by, but what do you do to make yourself feel better now? I distinctly remember my teen years and I tell ya what, patience was not my forte, so people suggesting that time solved everything was of little-to-no comfort.
So, let’s get down to what you can do to start feeling damn good about yourself.
First up, lemme just make it clear that no one’s going to feel good about themselves 24/7. It’s impossible. Normal people experience low self-esteem, it’s just our reaction to life and it’s okay not to love your body on the reg.
Our pal Amanda, a Kids Helpline Counsellor, suggests that high self-esteem is never going to be constant. “A lot of people want to improve their self-esteem, which is understandable. But actually, self-esteem is a bit like the weather – you will have good days and bad days. Even celebrities don’t feel great about themselves all of the time.
“Finding ways to believe in yourself, be resilient and live up to your values are all important tools for improving your self-confidence and developing a more positive relationship with both your body and your identity”.
And I mean, who’s telling you that you’re not allowed to dislike different parts of yourself? Everyone’s going to have something that bothers them – we think our nose could be smaller or our lips bigger – but that’s because we spend more time than anyone else analysing our own appearance. Other people are too busy caught up in their own insecurities to pay attention to yours.
So with that in mind, start focusing on what you do like about yourself. This isn’t exclusive to appearances either – most people have confidence because they’re happy with how they are as a human. Do stuff you enjoy, eat stuff you love, hang out with people who can’t get enough of you. The sun shines right out your butt for all these people – that’s the company you wanna keep.
You’ll also find that when you stop striving to look like the perfect human (nobody looks like the perfect human), you can have fun with how you look. Wear clothes that you want to wear. Dye your hair. Hell, shave your head if you want to.
People aren’t going to remember you for how you looked for a brief period of time 5, 10, 20 or 40 years ago. They’ll remember you for how you carried yourself as a person and how you treated others. Trust me, everyone goes through an awkward stage – that’s what makes us human.
If that awkward stage is getting you down and you are after some more positive body image pointers, check this out.
If your body image is getting you down or you need support you can contact Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or visit kidshelpline.com.au