Self-Esteem for Teens in Difficult Times

Self-Esteem for Teens in Difficult Times

Being a teen is tough enough. Add to it some tough times, like having a break-up, failing a core class, school drama, relocation or having your parents divorce and it can be double-trouble for your self-esteem.

When some of life’s biggest bummers take place, we tend to take the blame and feel that we are somehow personally responsible for all the negative things that happen around us.  When we’re thinking our best, we may realize this is untrue, but it's harder during times of struggle to feel good about ourselves!

Here are some simple strategies to put into play to give your self-esteem a boost during trying times:

1.     Be Hopeful. The power of your mind is incredible. Did you know that if you're in a situation that you truly believe is hopeless, your chances of changing that situation are drastically impaired? If you believe things can and will get better, your chances of improving the situation (or at least how you feel about it) are greatest. That’s the best reason we can think of to keep looking up, keep believing and keep holding out for the best. ALWAYS!

      Being hopeful doesn't mean things will go back to the way they were.  It doesn't that you'll get back together with a love interest, find out you got 93% correct on the test rather than 23%, that your parents will reunite or that the school drama will disappear with the snap of your fingers. No. That's not what being hopeful is about. Being hopeful means you can see beyond what is happening in the here and now, and recognize things won't always feel as tough as they do in one particular moment. 

Believing that things will improve will also help you feel more confident about yourself. You'll feel more positive heading into the right direction, and your self-esteem will increase.

2.     Accentuate the Positive. Negative things happen in everyone’s life, even though you may not see that from afar. You may think some people get all the breaks, while unfortunate events continue to intrude into your life. That’s really not the case. It’s a fact: nobody’s life if perfect! Remind yourself of that when you think you’re the “only one” with troubles.  It’s just not so.

You’ve likely heard the saying "Things could be worse." Try to focus your attention onto what you have that is good. Whether it's great friends, caring parents or teachers, a roof over your head or food in your stomach; focus on what is positive and special in your life. Go ahead…list what’s working in your life!

3.     De-stress with “You Time”. When things aren’t going according to your plan, it can be very stressful. This clearly doesn’t help you feel good about yourself. More than likely, you're not taking any time out for the most important person in your life: you.

Allow yourself some time to relax and regroup. It makes a huge difference! Make the time to do something that you thoroughly enjoy doing. It can be alone or with family or a trusted friend - whatever relaxes you the most.

Read a book, take a bubble bath, draw, or dance around the house to your favorite music. Anything that can relieve some of that stress you're feeling will make a big difference.

Life sometimes presents us with difficult situations with which we're not prepared to deal. During these times, pay really close attention to your thoughts.  Move away from the negative and towards the positive. Your self-esteem will be strengthened, along with your belief in a better outcome.

In Summary 

Three things lead to feeling better about your situation and yourself, even in difficult times.

  1. What you believe about things getting better.
  2. What you choose to focus on and think about. Always choose the positive.
  3. How you take care of and treat yourself.

The Best News of All

The best news of all is that while you cannot control all of the events that happen in your life, you can control all three of the things that can help you feel better! It feels better just knowing that, doesn’t it?

What do you think?

Tell us below in the comments.

Need more resources that help teens?  Check out 

and, to help tweens and teens with over-the-top feelings, try our resource for therapists and counselors to use with tweens, teens or adults: 


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