There are about a million and one things every day that can make you question or doubt your self-worth, and just make you feel kind of poop. Whether it’s the media, people you know, relationships or grades, sometimes it’s way too easy to let these things take over and it’s never a fun time. But unfortunately it happens to most of us from time to time, and while everyone has different ways of coping in their own time, here are some of the things that have helped me feel better on those extra tough days.
Not people who are happy, necessarily, but people who make you happy. I’m a big believer in surrounding yourself with things and people that make you feel good about yourself. Sometimes on less-than-good days you’ll feel like shutting yourself off and being alone, but I’ve found that immersing myself in a group of people you love and who want to see you happy works wonders. Another reason I’m so grateful to have been in boarding school – this was never hard to do when your friends’ rooms were always just a few steps away. And as for people who make you feel bad about yourself: who needs them? Not you is the answer. If you find yourself feeling uncomfortable or insecure every time you talk to a particular person or group of people, gently distance yourself from them. You don’t need to make a big show of dissociating with them, just make a conscious decision to avoid long conversations with them in favour of more time with your happy people.
It might sound silly – I thought it was all nonsense at first – but having a mantra to remind yourself that you’re all sort of amazing really does work if you let it! Repeat it when you wake up, before bed, in weird situations, write it on your hand – whenever and wherever you might need a little pick-me-up. Tell yourself that you are strong, smart, kind, beautiful, worthy, in control – whatever you need to lift yourself from any rut you feel like you’ve found yourself in. My personal mantra was, for a time, 'Live kindly' (something I got from Camille Styles). This to me means not only being kind to others but also to yourself, and to just be more positive and compassionate in both your actions and thoughts.
Ignore the haters!!!!!!! :)
How you feel about yourself is entirely up to you and you alone; you’re never going to know how people really feel about you and it doesn’t matter. Start with how you feel about yourself because it matters so much more, and if you feel great about yourself it really does show. This doesn’t have to mean stepping out of your comfort zone or making a bold statement, just take the time to be comfortable with yourself. I know it’s easier said than done, and different experiences will change how you see yourself throughout your life. It took me a long time to reach a point where I can honestly say that I feel good about myself, and I can't say these concerns have gone away completely. When I decided that I needed to do things for myself instead of trying to impress certain people or gain their approval, I felt so much lighter and more excited about the things that I'm actually interested in and care about, even if it seemed like no one else cared at all. While perusing Pinterest I came across a picture of the ocean accompanied by the words 'One of the happiest moments in life is when you find the courage to let go of what you can't change,' and I couldn't agree more. I just love inspirational oceans.
Get excited and inspired
If you feel like you need more reasons to believe in yourself, make some. Take some time to figure out what your interests and passions are, or the areas that you think have room for improvement, and work on them. It could be starting a new hobby or project, setting yourself a proper studying schedule, or talking to more people (all of which I've tried to do better at over the past few years). As long as you're doing things that you want to do in your own time, it's going to pay off: you're going to feel good about yourself for taking the initiative to do better; you're going to be happier; in time people will realise how great you are because you're giving yourself a chance to see this for yourself. I'm not saying that everyone needs to try something new to start liking themselves, but I think it's important to pay attention to what you yourself are good at or want to be good at, and get yourself to where you want to be, no matter how small your own personal achievements and victories may seem to other people (because that's not what counts). Surround yourself with things that inspire you, get excited about what your potential can lead to, and remember that it starts (and never has to end) with you.