If being a teen is hard, then being a teen in 2019 might just seem impossible. In the midst of self-discovery, you have to deal with Instagram likes and so many filter options. We all know that one buddy who will throw a hard tantrum just for taking their pic without a filter. There’s a constant round of kelele (read: noise) these days and it can be so hard to tune all that out enough so that you can actually listen to yourself. DIANA FAITH KEMBABAZI compiled a few things on why self-esteem can sometimes feel like an uphill battle and what you can do to become more confident.

YOU’RE NOT ALONE.Let’s get one thing straight: You are def not alone when it comes to having negative feelings about yourself sometimes, especially if you’re a chic. Why? Because society has turned female self-worth into a consumerist power play, where women are meant to feel like they’re less than so that are inspired to purchase things in order to feel good enough which fuels a lot of things.

Another thing that can make matters worse when it comes to self-esteem is social media. In this world of comparison, where everyone’s lives are well-curated and on display, it’s easy to assume everyone perfectly confident but you. This can result in feeling that you are fl awed, not as perfect as other people might seem.

When these feelings get repeatedly reinforced overtime, it can lead to shame,depression, anxiety and isolation. For starters, depression is not a white people zib, it actually affects many of our friends but they just keep it deep within. Confidence takes work for EVERYONE and you can totally get there if you try.

SCIENCE PLAYS A ROLE, TOO .A lot of things can feel stressful during this teen period and sometimes it’s not just circumstantial. Even science plays into how you’re feeling about yourself. Teens are primarily ruled by their amygdala (the emotional part of the brain), while the rational part of the brain (the prefrontal cortex) is still developing. This can make logically NBD (No Big Deal) situations feel really intense and upsetting.

KNOW WHAT’S REALLY MAKING YOU FEEL BAD So how can you get your brain out of the way so that you can live your best confi dent life? The key is fi guring out what makes you feel bad about yourself and learning how to minimize those negative situations. For example, maybe you feel bad after hanging out with a particular group of friends. Think back to your most recent hang. Did anything happen that made you suddenly feel off?

Maybe you noticed one friend low-key shading you, or there’s a chance your bestie talks about losing weight a lot and it makes you feel uncomfortable about your own body. If you value the friendship with the person who seems to be bringing up negative feelings, try to chat with them about it, straight up. Being open and honest about things saves a lot of stress.

FIGURE OUT YOUR VALUES. Feeling more confi dent is “an inside job.” Instagram likes won’t actually build you up from the inside out. Instead, what you really need to focus on is what matters to you and how you want to be seen. In order to do this, you need to identify your values. If you’re not sure what your morals are, ask yourself questions like: What is a trait that I respect most in other people?

What is a turn-off in a best friend? What is a quality that I want to be able to identify in myself? Who do I admire and why? The answers to these questions will help you create a list of things you value (and odds are you respect your bestie’s intelligence over her IG game). Now that you know the traits you truly strive for, try to work towards them. If you admire a crush because of their powerful presence, go outside your comfort zone with an extracurricular activity (maybe join Interact Club) so you can identify and hone that
quality in yourself.

BE MINDFUL .Have you ever been in bed, trying to fall asleep and all of the sudden your brain is like: Hey, remember that really awkward thing you did on July 1, 2011? Bam, you can no longer sleep; all you can do is think about that awful moment that was years ago. Obviously, you can’t help it when those negative thoughts pop into your head, but by attaching to our negative beliefs and the resulting thoughts, we come to believe that they define who we are at our core.

In turn, our inner self is expressed through our outer self. And this practice can be really toxic. To gain control over negative thoughts, you need to get some distance from them. Take a few minutes and write down the thoughts in your head. Then, go through these thoughts, looking for patterns, really dissecting them. Do they mostly have to do with the future? Do they all involve school work? Do they revolve around social situations? Taking these thoughts out of your head and putting them on paper allows you to look at them in a different light and helps you understand more of where they come from, what they’re focused on and what they mean. Then, you can begin focusing in on a specific issue. For example, if all your negative thoughts pertain to the future, try making a one year plan to organize the thoughts and up your confidence regarding the upcoming months.

REALLY LISTEN .Sometimes you’re your own worst enemy. Case in point: You ask your bestie to critique your class presentation, so she tells you that you spoke a little fast, but that all of the information you said was really well-put and interesting. As your own biggest critic, “you will likely latch on to comments that confirm your negative beliefs about yourself,” according to Michelle. And you’ll miss all the good stuff your bestie is saying about you! In order to avoid this, try to be an active listener and truly pick up on everything, not just the aspects that confirm the negative thoughts you have in your head. It’s easier said than done, but with practice, it can be achieved. Everyone struggles with self-esteem issues. Some deal with it every day, while others find those bad thoughts creeping up every once in a while. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to realize that you can gain control over your self-confi dence

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