Being a teenager in today’s world can be tough. Surrounded by ads with perfect-looking Photoshopped models, our self-esteem is constantly under attack. While it’s hard to deal with our own issues, it’s even harder to deal with those who have cracked under the pressure and submerged themselves into pools of self-pity. We all have those friends who are constantly putting themselves down, so how do we deal with them?
First, it’s important to understand why some teens act in a self-deprecating manner. Youthink recently caught up with Tanya Rossetti, a registered social worker at the YWCA in Banff who has extensive experience working with youth, to get her professional insight into the issue. So where does this lack of self-esteem come from?
“Teenagers may be insecure because they have not fully developed a sense of self as of yet,” explains Rossetti. “The pressure from peers and the media to attain unrealistic expectations is high, and when someone does not have a good sense of self, the pressure may affect their self-esteem.”
As a result of this pressure and in order to make themselves feel better, many teens resort to putting themselves down as a way to seek positive attention and validation from others.
“People may fish for compliments due to insecurity,” confirms Rossetti. “It feels good to receive compliments… some people need reassurance on a bad day.”
But what if this behaviour doesn’t just happen on a bad day? What if a friend or acquaintance is always putting themselves down?
“If a friend is constantly fishing for compliments, you could talk to them about it,” advises Rossetti. “Ask them how they feel about themselves – what need are they trying to meet? Are they even aware that they are doing this? Every behaviour meets a need and perhaps they can learn to meet the need in another way. Inform them of other involvements that can help to boost self-esteem and make them feel included.”
If all your efforts garner no results, try encouraging your friend to make an appointment with a counsellor or therapist. Being close to somebody who has too many self-esteem issues can be draining on you as well.
Now that you have some basic tools to deal with others who are insecure, what happens if you feel yourself becoming overly self-critical? If you find yourself getting dressed in the morning while daydreaming about the compliments you may receive, you may have a problem. The only reassurance you should need is from yourself, and no amount of compliments will be able to fill that lack of confidence.
If you feel unable to build self-worth without the help of others, seeing a counsellor or therapist might help. If you’re uncomfortable with such an idea, try talking to a friend about it. Be as open and honest as you can. If they’re close to you, they may be able to help eliminate the problem rather than encourage your habits of putting yourself down.Login or register to post comments. All comments have to go through a queue for approval to keep the nasty stuff out, but we'll post yours as soon as we can.