This week’s blog posts are based on frequent questions asked by our Everly Ambassadors. Want to become an Everly Ambassador? Apply today. We’ll be accepting applications starting March 2018.
No matter how famous, successful, smart, or beautiful you become, everyone has insecurities. Insecurities, from body image to friendship struggles, can make teens, tweens, and even adults feel isolated and lonely.
Everly Mag talked to our teen and tween ambassadors* about common insecurities they face. In this article, we’ll present those insecurities, to let teens know that they are not alone. We’ll also discuss meaningful solutions to build up confidence and feel empowered, even in the face of low self-esteem and discomfort.
1. Insecurity: Facing the Unknown
Unfamiliar situations can be scary. Whether you’re moving to a new town, making the transition to high school or college, joining a sports team, or just approaching a different friend group, it can be terrifying to face people and places you don’t know.
You might be asking yourself:
- What if I don’t fit in?
- What if they don’t like me or we don’t have anything in common?
- What if I embarrass myself?
When you’re facing an unknown situation, there is only one solution: Embrace your insecurity.
Remember that everyone feels awkward sometimes. When you’re in a new situation, it’s okay to feel uncomfortable. Just don’t allow that discomfort to hold you back. Think of the possibilities of the new situation: Can you make new friends? Can you have an exciting experience? Can you achieve success, find a passion, or just have fun?
When you’re feeling worry, remember that your insecurity doesn’t define you. Just because you’re thinking you don’t have anything in common with people doesn’t mean it’s true.
Here are 3 simple strategies to reduce insecurity and break into an unknown situation with confidence:
- Remind yourself of 3 strengths you have in comfortable situations and bring that with you to the new situation. For example, maybe you’re funny, spontaneous, and thoughtful around your close friends. New people will appreciate those qualities in you, too. You just have to show them.
- Do the thing you’re most afraid of to show yourself it’s not so scary. Is your insecurity telling you nobody will think you’re funny? Tell your best joke. Is your insecurity telling you that you’re too shy? Find one person in the group and tell them you’re shy and are hoping for an introduction to the others. Suddenly, once you’ve done it, it’s not such a terrifying prospect.
- Pretend like you’re confident until you don’t feel so nervous anymore. Ask yourself: what would you be doing if you didn’t feel any insecurity? Maybe you’d walk up to someone and say hi, or maybe you’d find someone who shares your interest and talk to them. Whatever you decide on, push yourself to do that. You’ll soon realize that the benefits of the new situation outweigh what is making you feel nervous.
2. Insecurity: Social Judgment
Social judgment can be a powerful source of insecurity, whether it comes from offhand looks, hurtful words, perceived exclusion, or social media.
It can be troubling to feel like you’re on the outside of a joke or like others are talking about you, which can make you feel alone. Insecurities tend to build on themselves and make even minor gestures feel significant and even hurtful.
When online and offline interactions become heightened by insecurity, it is easy to start feeling excluded by others and isolated in your social world.
Here are 3 easy ways to block out the haters and feel more confident:
- Walk to your own beat. Pretend you’re playing your favorite song in your head and just think about the lyrics. Feel your confidence building as you ignore any glares or looks and just focus on where you’re going. You’ll find yourself realizing that those glares don’t even matter, because you won’t let them bring you down.
- Approach your friends with sincerity. If someone is glaring at you, it’s perfectly okay to pull them aside and ask if they’re mad. If you’re not close enough to do that, then they don’t know you and their opinion doesn’t matter. If you think it would be ridiculous to confront the person, then the glare probably didn’t mean anything.
- Work on yourself. What insecurities are going through your head when you see that glare? Are you thinking about your outfit, intelligence, or personality? If that sounds like you, work on accepting those insecurities and knowing that you don’t have to be like everyone else – you just have to be you. Nobody is perfect, and everyone is unique – and that’s okay.
3. Insecurity: Body Image
Body image is a powerful insecurity affecting young girls (and boys) around the world.
Between the ideals presented on social media and on television, it can be difficult to accept your body for what it looks like and stop striving to an unrealistic ideal.
When struggling with your body image, it is important to ask yourself questions about where exactly the insecurity is coming from:
- Is my body something I want to change?
- Am I upset because other people want me to change my body?
- Do I like the way I look? If not, is it because I want to change others’ opinions of me, or because I want to change something about my lifestyle?
- If I changed something about my body, what about my life would change? What if my body changed and people still treated me the same way – Would it be worth it?
- Who in the media do I want to look like? Can I change the way I use social media to feel more accepting of my body?
- What clothing makes ME feel confident with the body I have right now?
Ask yourself if the people you choose to follow on social media represent a diversity of body types and have varied approaches to exercise, fitness, and healthy eating.
- You make a choice about the people you follow.
- You make a choice when you decide one body type is better than another.
- You make a choice when you participate in conversations that glorify one type of body image.
Of course, it is not easy to break out of these ways of thinking and situations, but working hard to do so will help you handle your insecurity, become more confident, and inspire others who are struggling in the process.
If you find yourself in one of these situations, try to redirect those conversations to include other types of bodies and make sure that not only one type of body is considered best or most empowering.
Note: This article is for minor body insecurity only. If you or a friend is exhibiting symptoms of body dysmorphia or an eating disorder, be sure to tell an adult you trust. You can also contact the National Eating Disorder Helpline by clicking here.
*All ambassadors’ first names have been changed to protect their privacy. Quotes have been edited for spelling and grammar only.
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This blog post was written by Everly Mag © 2018. All Rights Reserved.
Feature Image Credit: Everly Mag