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Low self-esteem, what can I do?

I have really bad self-esteem. What can I do?
From a girl of 15.


First of all, I want to tell you that it is very normal to have low self-esteem. So you are totally normal!

The fact that you are asking about what you can do with it, shows us that you are a girl who takes responsibility for her own life. That is a great quality!  

Being a teenager is the time where you start to free yourself from your family in a healthy way and find out who youare as an individual. Up till now, in school you have had the same subjects as everyone else, but as a teenager you need to find out who you are and what course of study you want. It is totally normal to feel insecure about yourself when you are fifteen. At the same time as you are getting to know yourself better, you are also finding out what you like and don’t like, what you are good at and not good at, and what makes you unique. These are some of the most important changes that take place in the teenage years. Self-image is formed over time and happens mostly through experiences with other people. Nevertheless, there are some things you can do to control and strengthen this process. 

Here are some tips that may help you get a better self image: 

  1. Make a list or a mind map of your positive attributes. Write down things you are reminded of or things that people have said about you. These may be things you are good at, things you like about how you look, qualities you have and so on. Take time to read this list often and dare to believe what is written there. After a while you will find it gets easier to believe it. 
  2. When someone gives you a compliment, say ‘thank you’, don’t reject it or minimize what they are saying. Take time to let the words sink in and believe them.  
  3. Ask family and friends what they appreciate about you. 
  4. Think about and do more of what you like and are good at. 
  5. Be with people who like and encourage you.
  6. Read what God says about you in the Bible. (Read, for example, Psalm 139 and Zephaniah 3:17.)
  7. Listen to good sermons and teaching about what God thinks of you. There is a lot of good teaching from different churches online.
  8. If you do something stupid, fail at something you tried to do, or receive bad feedback from someone, be careful to think through the experience and what it made you feel or think about yourself. It is important to distinguish between doing something stupid and being stupid. You can’t be good at everything: this is perfectly fine and we all need to accept this (and possibly practice if we want to get better). You will find this much easier than living with lying thoughts about who you are and your value. 


Here are some general guidelines for good mental health, which you may also find useful:

  1. Share your worries before they become too overwhelming.
  2. Seek help early; don’t be ashamed to ask for help.
  3. Hold on to positive experiences; they get you through the tough times.
  4. Focus on what you can do, and not on what you can’t do.
  5. Stay active! Good exercise is good for your mental health.
  6. Do something nice for yourself or others every day.

There are probably lots more good ideas for how to get a better self-image than what we have written, but we hope you find some of these helpful.


Best wishes

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