The beauty of hindsight is the realisation that things which seem so obvious now, were totally alien to me back in the day…
Bullying can shatter our confidence to smithereens but however you rate yours, here is what you need to know and what I wish I knew about confidence as a teen:
1. Everyone has things they feel insecure about.
Yes, that’s right everyone, even those people who make life look easy have areas they find challenging. It’s part of being human so don’t let yourself think for one second that they don’t – its bull s**t.
2. What you think of yourself is more important than any other opinion of you out there.
Living a life where other people’s opinion of you comes first before your own is a fragile and heart breaking place to be. Truly confident people are grounded, they have an honest and loving opinion of themselves based on what they know to be true, not what other people think. Do not let others dictate your self-worth.
3. School doesn’t last forever.
School for a lot of people is tough, it takes a toll on our confidence in a thousand and one small ways. So if that’s you reading this, please don’t give up. School will finish and you will be ok.
4. You are always enough.
Regardless of how people treat you, how many friends you have, what you look like, how much money you have, whether you have a disability, whatever your sexuality is, however many followers you have, whether you are single, whether you are not invited to a party, whether you struggle at sports, whether you have a disfigurement, whether you are underweight or over weight, whatever you have been through or are going through: You are enough.
5. It’s ok to be different.
Don’t spend so much time trying to fit in and be like everyone else. A huge part of growing your confidence is embracing who you are, not who you wish you were.
6. A perfect body will never make you happy.
Shocker I know. I chased this one for years thinking “when I have the perfect body then I will have the perfect life.” This is all a big ruse reinforced by the media, fashion, beauty and diet industry. The future of which depends on all of us striving for perfection. Agreed, it’s easier to feel good about yourself in a healthy body but I said perfect, not healthy. Confidence comes from embracing the body we are in right now, not constantly striving for perfection.
7. You will have to feel pain.
There is no getting around this one. Feeling pain is a crucial part of the process. Because every time we get to the other side of pain, fear and embarrassment is when we know what it means to feel strength and every challenge will help to grow your confidence if you let it.
8. Not everyone will like you.
In exactly the same way that you don’t like everyone, not everyone will like you. What a relief that was to find out. It means that when someone doesn’t like you it’s not a big deal or a question on your character, don’t take it personally and move on. Focus on the people who do like and love you, they are the ones that matter.
9. It takes time.
We all talk a lot about needing more confidence but the truth is, confidence does not happen overnight. It takes time and effort and like anything worth having, there are no shortcuts. So stop stressing if you aren’t where you want to be confidence-wise in your teens – it’s a marathon not a sprint.
10. Be kind.
What does kindness have to do with confidence? Everything. How we treat other people is a reflection of how we really feel about ourselves. If you want to feel more confident and like yourself more, treat others better.