Young Carers

I feel different
to other people

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.

Feeling Different?

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:

  • Your results at school or college
  • Social media or adverts
  • The level of support you receive from people you trust
  • Your body image and how you feel about your appearance
  • Your achievements or skills.

Other experiences may only affect our confidence and self-esteem negatively, like:

  • Having a physical or mental health problem that affects our ability to do certain things or be understood by others
  • Feeling pressure from other people our age to fit in
  • Feeling pressure to achieve in exams, sport or other hobbies
  • Being bullied or abused
  • Experiencing stigma or discrimination
  • Moving away from where we feel safe, like away from family or friends
  • Having family problems
  • Having relationship problems.

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.

Action you can take right now

If you’re feeling left out or judged because of who you are, how your look or talk, what you wear, etc., Childline has some great ideas for things you can do things to improve your self-esteem and make yourself feel more confident. Some of these ideas are about learning to tell yourself a new story about yourself – instead of criticising yourself or feeling bad about yourself all the time.

  • Look at yourself differently: No matter how low you feel, try to find one thing that you like about yourself. It could be your hair, your sense of humour, your great taste in music, or your football skills. Once you’ve made a start, you can begin to think of more things and start developing a more positive (more realistic!) image of yourself.
  • Act like you already have confidence: If you wish you had a certain quality, act as if you already have that quality. If you want to be and look more confident, practise walking with your head up, or wear a bright colour. If you feel you’re shy and wish you were chattier, talk to someone you’ve never spoken to before. These things might seem scary at first, but once you’ve done it a few times, you’ll start to get the confidence to do it again.
  • Listen to music: Music can have a powerful effect on our mood and what we think about ourselves and life in general. Whenever you begin to doubt yourself, try listening to music that makes you feel positive about life and about yourself.
  • Be kind: Help a friend or do a little task without being asked. Phone someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. Bake a cake or cook a meal for someone. Offer to walk a neighbour’s dog or volunteer for a charity. Helping others can make you feel appreciated and valued.

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.

More Information





  • It’s OK to be Different, Sharon Purtill, Storyvision Studies UK (4.5 minutes) – An audiobook about diversity and kindness.
  • Self-confidence, The Teen Life Coach x She Persisted shared podcast, episode 151 (48 minutes) – Self-confidence is a huge issue for young people. This podcast explores this issue and what a young person can do to boost their own self-confidence.
  • When you are not the First Choice Friend, The Teen Life Coach episode 196 (12 minutes) – What to do when you’re not the first-choice friend, and how to have hope that you will find those people in your life that mutually choose you.
  • Elevating Teen Self-Esteem, Diverse Minds (37.5 minutes) – A discussion of the importance of helping teenagers feel more confident about themselves.



  • Nobody is normal, Childline (1.5 minutes) – This short film reminds us that everyone’s different, and nobody is ‘normal’. But it can be tough if that makes you feel left out or alone.
  • Coping with differences, Childline – This page contains three short films (1 minute each) of young people with different types of disabilities or conditions, talking about the challenges they have faced for being different and how they overcame them.
  • Comparing yourself to your friends, Childline (5.5 minutes) – A conversation about the effects (some positive, some negative) of comparing yourself to your friends (or other people).
  • How to be different! The 4:01 Show (2 minutes) – One young woman talks about the feeling of freedom that comes from just being yourself.
  • Building confidence after online bullying, Childline (3 minutes) – If you’ve had a knock to your confidence because of bullying, here are three things that can help you get your confidence back.

Where to get more help

If you feel your confidence and self-esteem are low, you can talk to someone anonymously at one of the following phonelines.

  • Childline (for children and young people under 19) (24 hours) 0800 1111 or chat to someone at Childline via webchat or email. See for further information.
  • The Mix (for young people under 25) (Monday to Saturday, 4pm – 11pm) – 0808 808 4994, or chat via email or webchat.

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.


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