It’s said that our self-esteem is challenged mostly between ages 9-23. During this time we feel most unlike ourselves, because we’re still developing who we are. In part one of this blog post, I shared some of my experiences as a teenager struggling with self-esteem.
I’ve never fit in with the crowd. I’ve always stood outside of the usual scope of what and who a typical teen was. Through my perception, in my way of existing, and by the hobbies I took up, everyone could tell that I was different. As an adult, being different is awesome, but as a teenager, it is the last thing you’d seek, because it meant not fitting in.
Sure, that came with some relief from not needing to fit a particular mold, but it weighed heavy on me socially. I wanted to be like the other girls my age, who had access to things/spaces that I didn’t have. Along with my feelings of disconnection, I felt different in my body, and wasn’t aware of exactly what these changes meant. I did my best to pretend that I was kept up on the latest lingo, and went as far as borrowing friends’ clothing to wear when I felt my own wardrobe didn’t match the image of myself I’d created in my head. I wanted to fit in so badly because that was the way you could guarantee friends and likability. That’s what we all want, right? We all have a desire to bond with our peers, to relate through experiences, shared space, and connectivity.
There was no defining moment when I decided not to care what people thought anymore. I believe that came with experience and age. We all go from depending on our guardians for solutions to creating our own decisions on a day-to-day basis. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but a necessary one. There is no one who can be a better me than I am already. I am unable to be anyone else, simply because we are all created differently and uniquely made. It can be troubling to piece yourself together with building blocks that have been handed to you, especially when you may want to create your own blocks to build with. So build yourself out of whatever you want, and trust that no matter who you build, she will be unlike anyone else in the world. Because she will be.
I hope my experiences can serve as a catalyst for any teen that may be experiencing this sort of situation, regardless of age. There is no end point for what you’re living through, as life is a constant journey. You will grow and expand in your own timing, and while there are countless paths that you can embark on, the one you create for yourself will be most important and most fulfilling. Live fully and nurture your differences.
When you find yourself emotionally or mentally depleted, that’s often the best time to seek guidance or direction outside of yourself. Choose someone you trust well and tell them what’s happening within you. The first step is always to get it out.
Your journey is your own. It will get hard sometimes, and leave you feeling down; but if you believe that it will work out in the long run, and seek help when you need it, it will work out.
If you, or someone you love, is struggling with self-esteem or bullying, we are here for you.