Sometimes, it can feel like no one understands what we are going through or what we are feeling. You might feel like people just don’t get you. Or you might look at other people’s lives and feel like yours is very different. Young carers can often feel like this because they have so many more responsibilities compared to other people their age. Feeling different to other people can be very isolating and frustrating and can make us feel alone.
No one wants to feel like an outsider, like we don’t fit in. We all want to connect with other people. We all want to feel like other people understand us.
Things can seem even worse if other people are bullying us because we are different in some way – or because they think we are different in some way. If someone’s made you feel bad for being or looking different, or bullied you because of your sex, race, gender or sexuality or because you have a disability, it can be really upsetting and have a big effect on your self-esteem.
Self-esteem is how we think, see and feel about ourselves. If we have good self-esteem, we will feel good about ourselves and confident in who we are and in our abilities. We won’t be too worried about what other people think, or whether we get things wrong, sometimes because we accept ourselves just the way we are. It also means we believe we are worthy and deserving of all the good things in life.
Lots of things can affect our self-esteem and confidence. The charity, Mind, explains that negative experiences can knock your confidence and self-esteem. Negative experiences could be things like going through a breakup or being teased about your appearance. However, positive experiences can boost your confidence and self-esteem – things like doing well on a test, getting a compliment on how you look, or doing something nice for a friend or neighbour.
The things that affect our confidence and self-esteem can be different for different people. However, here are some things that might affect your confidence or self-esteem either positively or negatively:
Other experiences may only affect our confidence and self-esteem negatively, like:
Building your confidence and self-esteem takes time and practice. However, there are lots of things you can do to improve the way you feel about yourself.
Building your confidence and self-esteem takes time, so be patient with yourself. And remember, people’s differences are amazing. Wouldn’t the world be boring if everyone looked, talked, dressed, and acted the same? Be proud of what makes you different.
If you feel your confidence and self-esteem are low, you can talk to someone anonymously at one of the following phonelines.
If you’ve had low confidence and self-esteem for a long time, you might want to speak to your doctor about this. They will be able to see if your low confidence or self-esteem could be linked to a mental health problem, like depression or anxiety. They will also be able to talk you through some different support options, like counselling, to see what’s right for you.