Teens feeling unlovable, inadequate

Effects of low self-esteem met with expert solutions

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Teens feeling unlovable, inadequate




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More often than not sophomore Peyton Killinger can be seen smiling and glowing with confidence. It shines through on the field and in the classroom, but her smile hasn’t always been so bright.

“I was bullied,” Killinger said. “I had to grow up and learn that what people say doesn’t matter, but sometimes I’m still affected.”

For many, the cycle of bullying leads to serious self-doubt.

Low self-esteem is considered a thinking disorder in which individuals view themselves as inadequate, unlovable and incompetent, according to DoSomething.org, a digital platform that focuses on mobilizing youth all around the country.

“This affects 44% of high school girls and 15% of boys.” The cause? Social media and peers at school and at home telling them they are not good enough.

Introverted learners, 4.0 and 2.0 students alike, because of a mentality of unworthiness.

This feeling just does not just come out of thin air. Many factors contribute to it.

Teens with low self-esteem tend to have negative self talk and believe the lies that they tell themselves.

Experts suggest trying positive self-talk, indicating that the results are tremendous.

“Investing the time alone to pep talk yourself is a big step because you understand your worth,” Uncaged alumna, Lindsey Chass said.

According to healthline.com, an organization of health specialists, “People who can master positive self-talk are thought to be more confident, motivated, and productive.”

Low self-esteem comes in many forms: Body image. Intelligence. Athletic struggle.

“I often see individuals struggle with self-esteem that then translates into issues with anxiety and depression,” Courtney Schafer, mental health therapist at Therapy Today in East Lansing, said. “Often times, individuals are able to identify that these negative thoughts and things they are telling themselves about who they are, are not even original thoughts to themselves.”

Low self-esteem often emerges when hears something negative about herself.

Actions that cause these thoughts and feelings can come from someone’s home life or school groups.

“I’ve definitely struggled with self-esteem a lot in the past,” freshman Tamra Lovas said. “My friends, they boost my self confidence and they’re always saying like really nice things.”

Friends and family are not the only ones who can help to learn self love and self worth.

Many processes take place when sifting through the lies and truth one has heard.

I will ask a person to be mindful of their thoughts and start to notice common negative things they may say to themselves,” Schafer said. “Kristin Neff, encourages individuals when speaking to themselves negatively, to ask themselves, ‘Is this something I would say to a friend or someone I care about?”

Kristin Neff is a professor at the University of Texas in Austin. She teaches in the physcology program and started a project about learning self compassion.

Low self esteem causes problems, but so does high self esteem.

“High self esteem can be problematic,” thinks Neff. “We start finding ways to put ourselves up and put others down.”

If people are now trying to put others down and become part of a narcissistic society, which has grown reaching the “highest level in undergraduates.” Neff said.

Looking for a solution? Self mediation helps. Taking time to focus on breathing and sounds can help with anchoring. Meditation builds mindfulness. Mindfulness builds self compassion.  

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