Being a teenager is probably one of the biggest emotional rollercoasters of your life! It's a time of huge change, self discovery and is the start of the journey towards gaining independance. No wonder the majority of teenagers are confused, emotional and unpredictable. One of the main issues the majority of teens go through is a huge lack of self esteem and body confidence. This can lead to major issues throughout adolescence and can continue throughout adulthood, affecting life choices and more importantly happiness. So how can practising Taekwondo help?
WHAT IS SELF ESTEEM?
Self esteem is our mental picture of who we are, how we look, what we are good at and what our weaknesses are. This picture is constantly changing depending on our family, friends and life experiences.
Self esteem is all about how much we feel valued, loved, accepted and thought of by others - and also just as important how much we value, love and accept ourselves. People who have healthy self esteem feel good about themselves, appreciate their worth and take pride in their abilities and skills. They also don't make do with second best or allow people to control their thoughts and actions. People with low self esteem may feel as if no one will like them or accept them or that their contribution is worthless and they can't thrive in anything.
We all at some point in time experience low self esteem, especially during our younger years, the good news is that if you are feeling this way you can change it. You may not think you are in control of how you think and react but YOU ARE and by making changes you can massively improve that self esteem and become a confident happy person. This is the key to martial arts; finding contentment and acceptance, once you have found this you are able to help others find it.
WHY IS SELF ESTEEM IMPORTANT?
The way we think about ourselves influences the way we live our lives. People who feel they are likeable and loveable have better relationships with friends, family and loved ones and are more likely to ask for help and support when they need it, which is extremely important. Everyone at certain points in their life need help and advice and you should seek it out when you do. People who have high self esteem and who believe in their abilities can accomplish goals they set themselves and are more likely to fulfil their potential at school, college and at work.
Having good self esteem allows you to accept yourself for who you are and live your life to the fullest. Remember if they are things about you that you don't like you can change them at any time.
SO LET'S CHANGE IT!
Self esteem and confidence comes from within. If your esteem is low and you are not happy, you need to change yourself and by doing those tips above that means you are well on the way. Having low self worth and feeling inferior can stop you doing things you want to do, it may stop you taking opportunities because you are fearful or don't think you can achieve your dreams. All of these thoughts are inside your head and only one person can change them and that's you. That tiny voice inside your head telling you you are not good enough, you are not pretty enough, you are not clever enough needs to be given the elbow! If you have these negative thoughts you need to definitely change your thoughts so key points to remember are:
1. There is no such thing as perfect. A perfect body or a perfect person is fiction so by trying to become like the posters in your bedroom wall is unrealistic. The world of celebrity and music is fake. You are setting yourself up to not make the grade. Everyone is different, that is what makes life varied and exciting. Your quirks, phyical or behavioural, are what make you SPECIAL, so embrace them don't hide them. What most people think are there worst features turn out to be what people love about them or what makes them stand out from the crowd. Love your quirks and be yourself. If people don't like you or them, who cares?
2. Stop negative thoughts about yourself and give that inner voice an eviction note. Start focusing on the positive aspects of your life. When you catch yourself being critical counter it by saying something positive about your day. The ability to look on the bright side of life will get you through almost anything and remember no matter how bad it gets, there is always someone worse off than you. By remembering or helping others who are in worse situations you will see that in actual life your life is pretty good.
3. Don't let anything hold you back. If you want something go for it. You can achieve anything in this lifetime if you don't let that inner voice win.
4. Realise that making mistakes are part of life and what make us all better people. Don't ever be afraid of looking foolish or making a mistake as this will hold you back and in this lifetime you only get one chance to achieve those dreams.
5. Try new things, talk to new people. Meeting and talking to people can open a lot of doors in your life and give you many opportunites. Try and find your talent in life, as you definitely have one. Once you have found it nuture it, protect it and don't let anyone distract you from it for this is what will make you who you and this is what will give you a continuous stability in your life. You will make lifelong friends and hopefully fulfill your potential. A great thing you can do is share this passion and talent with others.
6. Recognise what you can and can't change. If you are unhappy with something you can change, then make that change today. If it's something you can't change like your nose, your height, your eye colour, then start to work towards loving yourself the way you are. Wasting valuable time on trying to change something you can't is negative energy. Accept the body you were born with and hold your head high as you are the same as everyone else on the planet.
Most young people are anxious about their looks, it's normal, you are not alone if you think like this. However define good looking. What makes someone good looking or attractive? There is no right answer as every single person on the planet finds different things attractive. Every single person is different, unless you are an identical twin no two people are the same. Some people will think you are gorgeous whilst others won't. It's a fact. It doesn't matter if you are a pop star or talented sportsperson nobody is perfect and the sooner you learn to love yourself, the quicker others will learn to love it as well.
7. Set goals. Small and big. Think about what you want to accomplish in this lifetime and do it! Stick with your plan and keep track of your progress.
8. Your opinion matters. It matters to your parents, even though sometimes it doesn't feel like it! It matters to your friends and family. Don't ever be afraid to voice your opinion or ideas. If people don't agree that is fine. Life is diversity and you have as much right to an opinion as anyone else.
9. Helping others is a good way to feel valued and make yourself feel accepted and wanted. Try helping a classmate or voluntering for a charity or help your Instructor to teach. Giving back is the best feeling in the world and being able to help others gives enormous satisfaction. People who don't tend to be self centred and not as likeable. Feeling like you are making a different can do wonders to improve your self esteem.
10. Exercise! You will relievestress, be healthier and happier.
11. Have fun and relax. Putting your life on hold and thinking stuff like "I'll join the gym when I lose 7 pounds" OR "I'm not going swimming because I'm too fat" are simply letting the inner negative voice win. By listening to the voice in your head you are holding yourself back and not living your life to the full. You get one chance, have fun. Remember no one else can hear your voice, no one else will even recognise what you are anxious about. You are more than likely building a tiny thing up into a mountain problem. By not doing what you would like to do you are causing yourself anxiety. SImply have fun, relax and laugh. Laughter is a great way of staying happy.
12. Simple. Smile! It's a habit that's getting rarer nowadays! A simple smile at a stranger or a hello not only makes you feel better but also spreads joy to that person. A good philosophy is to spread the joy along! Life is about enjoyment and laughter and fun so smile and laugh.
13. Don't hide behind people or things. Never be afraid of who you are and what you represent and if someone tries to knock you down, which they will, either ignore them as they are not worth your time, or make sure you get back up again straight away and show them with actions not words. People hide behind a lot of things, other people, a public perona, behind computer screens, make up, clothes to name a few. Never be afraid that no one will accept you. Be yourself and find happiness.
It's never to late to build a healthy positive attitude and self esteem. it's about learning what's unique and special about you and not being afraid to show people the real you. Self Esteem is extremely important in your happiness and plays a role in almost everything you do but learning to love yourself and working on your self esteem is a skill you'll have for life.
If you need to chat to anyone about any of the issues above find an adult you trust and they will help you every step of the way.