How to Love Yourself- Teen blog

Love Your Self by Bright Vibes
Love Yourself by Bright Vibes on Flickr

by Sarah W. – 17 years old

We’ve all experienced it before: you look into the mirror and — for one reason or another — just aren’t happy with the person looking back at you. Maybe it’s the fact that your eyes are farther apart than you’d like. Maybe you’re disappointed that you recently let down a friend. Maybe you’d like to drop a few pounds.

I’m no different. My first instinct has always been to critique, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned the importance of appreciating and loving the person looking back at me in the mirror unconditionally.

A lot of our self-deprecation stems from a culture of comparison. All throughout the media, we see beautiful models, actresses and athletes. It’s only natural that our Darwinian instincts would tell us to compare ourselves in an effort to compete. But this isn’t a healthy competition; it takes a toll over time.

Let me be clear about something, loving yourself doesn’t mean that you’re closed off to personal growth. If you did something mean-spirited, by all means work to improve the situation and retain your core values. If you’ve always wanted to go blonde and think that would boost your self-esteem, go do it!

Just be careful of criticizing yourself too much. In the story of your life, people come in and out. Ideally, people are there for you and support you, but sometimes they let you down. The only person who you know for a fact will be with you forever is yourself. That might sound scary, but it can also be freeing. If you do right by yourself and love yourself, there will always be someone there for you: you.

You might be thinking: easier said than done! And you’re right, of course. It is an ongoing process, and one that takes a long time. So how do you begin a journey of self-love? Here are a few jump-start tips:

  1. Rather than looking for flaws, look for features you like. Have you always hated that your ears stick out? Don’t focus on that! How about the dimple on your chin that you’ve always loved? Smile about that! I have a friend who really struggled with self-hate and comparing herself to others. I once asked her what feature about herself she liked, and she literally could not think of a single thing. She is a beautiful girl, but there was nothing about her appearance she liked. If you find yourself with this mentality, work on growing to change that. You are beautiful; it’s just about learning to understand that. You may not find yourself conventionally attractive, but you are in the body that you are in, and there’s no use hating it!
  2. Get to know yourself. In all likelihood, you are a great person! But maybe you’ve lost touch with that. One of the best ways I’ve found to learn about myself is through journaling. When you let your thoughts flow uncensored, you learn a lot about what’s important to you. It can also be liberating to know that you trust yourself with your own thoughts and secrets.
  3. Treat yo self! Parks and Rec was on to something: it’s important to treat yourself sometimes. Buy a nice piece of chocolate, take a warm bath, do something that makes you happy. It’s easy to get caught up in the fast paced speed of school, family, and life in general, but remember that it’s okay to take a breather and do something that makes you content because you deserve it.

Growing to love yourself isn’t an overnight process, and it may take longer depending on where you start. Go at your own pace, but remember that wishing you were someone else isn’t going to get you anywhere—you are you, and I hope that with time you can learn to embrace and celebrate that.

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Comments

  • Sarah, love your article. We need more people like you standing up for themselves and others to show that self love can be obtained by anyone.
    My partner and I touched on this subject the other day in are new podcast series we are doing. Keep up the good work and spread positivity to all.

    • Hi Rene Curtis,
      It’s really hard to feel good about yourself as a teen especially with media and social media. We all do have strengths, but sometimes it’s hard to figure out what they are. Maybe thinking about what you are good at, what you like, what others like about you. And realize that the things you don’t like about yourself are just parts of you, not the whole picture of you.
      I encourage you to call our teens any night between 6-10 PM California time at 310-855-4673 or text “teen” to 839863 to talk more about this.
      Thanks for reaching out!
      -Teen Line Staff

  • Hi! I really appreciate this article. All my life — or, at least for a big part of it — my family has told me I’m so intelligent and ‘college bound’, destined to attend a prestigious college someday. But…High school has been really rough recently, and even though it’s my second year in, I’m not sure I can be that person who’s starting their freshman year of college at Harvard or Princeton, or even a college at all. I don’t feel like I’m cut out for it. So, I’ve been trying to figure out myself, and trying to figure out what I really want — because maybe what I thought I wanted was just what other people were telling me I should want.

    This was kind of just a rant, but I’m pretty sure no one is going to actually read this. Anyways, thanks again for the article

    • Hi Jael,
      Thanks for your comment and we’re glad you like the article. It takes a lot of strength to figure out who you are and what is important to you. I know that you are not alone in not knowing what you want vs what others want from you. Please feel free to call our teens anytime if you want to talk or vent further. 310-855-4673 between 6-10 PM California time or txt “teen” to 839863.
      -Teen Line Staff

  • this is what every teenager should read every teen out there love yourself don’t change yourself for some else

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