It has been proven that low self-esteem affects learning and can lead to such problems as delinquency, unhealthy relationships, eating disorders, drugs and suicide.
According to most estimates, about 30 percent of today’s teenagers are dropping out of high school and every school day 160,000 students miss school because of bullying.
“Just be yourself, stand up for yourself and never give up,” says Ashlie, 17, who dealt with high school pressure and self-esteem issues so often that she eventually dropped out of high school. Ashlie did not give up. She went back, got her G.E.D. and is now pursing a Bachelor’s Degree in Business.
She says she experienced a lot of pressure in high school. She felt like she was “competing” with girls. “They were competing over the guy’s attention, who was the prettiest girl, who wore the nicest clothes, etc.” She did not know why they were competing with her but she thinks it was a result of jealousy and low self-esteem.
“Media is an influence,” she says. “Music in particular,” saying that it is the way some musicians dance, the way they look. She says they are, “too skinny and too perfect, that all the guys want a girl who looks like that.”
Ashlie says high school is hard enough without all the added pressures of fitting in and being something that you are not. She says that a girl with low self-esteem is not always easy to spot saying “Girls hide it as best they can.” The ones with low self-esteem will always try to “act like you, and the girl who wants the most attention from guys, usually has the lowest self-esteem.”
Although there are ways to spot a girl with low self-esteem there are other ways to combat it all together. Ashlie, HeyUGLY.org, the non-profit organization that helps teens with self -esteem, and the National Association for Self-Esteem (NASE) have collaborated to create a top ten list of self-esteem building tips to help teens.
1. Know Who You Are. Too often people join the wrong crowd in search of themselves. Find out who you are first, what you like to do and what you don’t like to do, then you will know what group you would like to be in.
2. Stop comparing yourself with other people. There will always be some people who have more than you and some who have less. Some who are prettier and smarter and some who aren’t. How boring it would be if we were all the same. Take stock of yourself and treat yourself better than you would treat your best friend.
3. Join a Sport. “Join anything that you like to do (sports) and don’t do it because other people are doing it, rather join because you want to.”
4. Get Proactive. Take advantage of workshops, books and cassette tape programs on self-esteem. Whatever material you allow to dominate your mind will eventually change your behavior.
5. Be Your Own Judge. Too often people call themselves stupid, ugly, fat, etc. Little do they know that they are taking the positive energy away from themselves. Each time you call yourself a negative name, immediately stop and press your thumb together with your pointer finger and cancel out the negative word.
Then replace the negative word with a something positive about yourself.
6. Make a list of your positive qualities. Are you honest? Unselfish? Helpful? Be generous with yourself and write down at least 10 positive qualities. Review this list often. Start focusing on your positive traits and you’ll stand a much better chance of being who you want to be.
7. Associate with positive, supportive people. When you are surrounded by negative people who constantly put you down use affirmations to boost your self-esteem NASE
8. Take Power Out of Negative Words. Hey U.G.L.Y turned ugly into an acronym that stands for Unique, Gifted, Lovable, You. When you label yourself a negative word like ugly or call a fellow student ugly you are unleashing a powerful force of negative energy. Whenever you call yourself something negative convert it into a positive acronym.
One year two teens competing in Hey U.G.L.Y.’s annual acronym contest came up with Love Others Show Everyone Respect for LOSER and Gifted Enchanted Educated Kid for GEEK. Start turning negatives into positives.
9. Instead of putting yourself down – claim your uniqueness. You can’t develop healthy self-esteem if you repeat negative phrases about yourself and your abilities.
10. “Keep Smiling, because there are at least 1,000 people out there that would love to see you cry.”
Ashlie learned a lot while going through high school and one of her biggest lessons was accepting herself. She ended her tips with one last thought, “If they don’t like me for who I am then I don’t need them.”
Article by Lea Erwin
About the Author : Lea Erwin is a freelance writer specializing in articles about teens and current events.
- Low Self-Esteem and Bullying: How are they related? (education.com)
- How to Battle Low Self-Esteem (everydayhealth.com)
- How to Boost Your Self-Esteem (everydayhealth.com)
- Building Self Esteem (healthylifestyleplus.com)
- How Teens Define Self-Esteem (dr-carol.com)
Category: Healthy Spirit