“Self-esteem” is a word that gets thrown around a lot these ​days. It almost seems like it’s the magic cure for whatever is wrong with our personalities. You may have heard things like “you’re too sad” or “you’re too lazy” or “you’re too anxious” and everybody seems to think that a better self-esteem is the solution.

So what is “self-esteem?” In the most basic sense, self-esteem is what we think of ourselves.

Positive Self-Esteem Statements

- “I am good.”

- “I am successful.”

- “I can do this if I try.”

Negative Self-Esteem Statements 

- “I am worthless.”

- “I am a failure.”

- “Nothing I do is right.”

Since our self-esteem is basically how WE see ourselves, it is our responsibility to help it develop in a healthy way.  Most times when we hear about poor self-esteem, we also hear about all the people who “gave” us our poor self-esteem.  We need to break that thought process and start taking control immediately.

As teenagers, we’re right in the middle of a lot of intense brain development, and part of that process is that sometimes we don’t see things as they truly are.  You might recognize some of the symptoms of the growing up process:

  • Worrying too much about social situations
  • Feeling overly embarrassed when we make mistakes
  • Do you worry about the same things over and over?
  • Wondering why we don’t get the attention we deserve
  • Thinking that one mistake can ruin our entire lives

If you recognized some of these in yourself, maybe you also saw how powerfully they can affect your self-esteem. You might also see how this can lead to a lot of teenagers who think they are absolutely wonderful people, and a lot of teenagers who think they are garbage. The danger is that everyone starts comparing themselves to the people around them. But in the end what is important is that you learn to take control of how you see yourself and surround yourself with people who appreciate you!

Be a first rate version of yourself, not a second rate version of someone else.

-Judy Garland