Self-Esteem for Teens!

Updated: May 4

Written by Brianna Griggs




Self-Esteem is a culmination of character traits, feelings, and emotions that indicate how people feel about themselves and how they feel about their abilities and limitations. Self-esteem can range from unhealthy to healthy or low to high, and can vary every day. Self-worth, self-love, and self-respect are some other aspects of self-esteem that can shape how someone feels internally.


Establishing healthy self-esteem is not something that happens overnight, for many people, it takes years of practice to master.

The way people view themselves and feel about themselves can influence their behavior. Many decisions about relationships, health, and intimacy are oftentimes linked to an individual’s level of self-esteem. A pattern of unhealthy decisions, especially sexual decisions, isn’t always determined by self-esteem but can be an indicator of an underlying or ongoing self-esteem concern.


A few signs of unhealthy self-esteem include:

  • Feelings of uncertainty

  • Feelings of doubt

  • Giving in to pressure

  • Feelings of Insecurity

  • Feelings of shame

  • Withdrawal and isolation from social groups and settings

  • Feelings of aggression and anger

  • Intense feelings of fear

*This list is not comprehensive and should be used only as a guide


A few signs of healthy self-esteem include:

  • Having confidence

  • Being optimistic

  • Making yourself a top priority

  • Feelings of authenticity

  • Being able to give and receive love that feels good

  • Being assertive when needed

  • Ability to handle criticism without offense

  • Being able to express your needs and wants clearly

*This list is not comprehensive and should be used only as a guide


It is important to note that self-esteem will likely change throughout a person’s life. Nobody will have 100% healthy self-esteem all of the time, therefore, it is important to understand the causes of unhealthy and healthy forms of self-esteem. If you or someone you know is experiencing self-esteem setbacks, it is the perfect opportunity to spend a little more time loving yourself and practicing more self-care.


Challenge: Choose an activity this week that makes you feel good about yourself. Something as simple as adopting a new skin care routine or picking up that old comic book that makes you laugh can and will make a difference!


Source: Psychology Today (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/self-esteem)

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Funding provided in whole or in part to the Kenneth Young Center by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the Office of Adolescent Health (OAH).