“If your compassion does not include yourself it is not complete,” Jack Cornfield.
There’s been a lot of research centered on how low self-esteem in teenagers manifests in daily life and what lingering affects this has as they develop into adults. Questions are raised as to what correlation there is between low self-esteem and tendencies towards addiction and other behavioral problems.
Although there are varying opinions on this subject, the consensus is that low self-esteem centres around the emotional and psychological belief that one will fail, be ridiculed or scorned no matter what the outcome, so why try at all? For example, people with high self-esteem focus on growth and improvement, whereas people with low self-esteem focus on not making mistakes in life. As such, self-esteem can be directly related to happiness and the experience of joy in life
Life experienced though a filter of low self-esteem is proven to create the conditions for an increased susceptibility for the development of psychiatric disorders, and the presence of a psychiatric disorder, in turn, lowers self-esteem. This vicious circle is most pronounced in those who suffer from depression, substance abuse and eating disorders.
By acknowledging that teenagers with low self-esteem have a propensity, at best, towards a more challenging and less enjoyable life, and at worst a life dogged by eating disorders, depression and addiction, the most obvious course of action would be to address the root problems with the teenagers themselves.
How can low self-esteem be recognised in teenagers? Guindon, M. H. (2002) asked school counsellors to list five characteristics that best describe students with low self-esteem. Over 1,000 words were used, the most common descriptions being:
Underachieving Negative (attitude)
Unhappy Socially inept
Poor self-image Non-risk-taker
Lacks self-confidence Poor communication
Although it is recognised that most teenagers will, at times, display some of these behaviours, low self-esteem is strongly indicated when these behaviours appear with regularity.
Clearly self-esteem is a major key to success in life. Ameet Braich, primary therapist at Camino Recovery is passionate about addressing and resolving issues for adolescents. Ameet acknowledges that recovery at this early stage of life and a development of a positive self-concept and healthy self-esteem, are vitally important to the happiness and successes of teenagers and life beyond teen years.
Camino Recovery holds teenage weekend workshops on this and related topics. For further information or to book a place contact Shirley on 952 784 228 or fill in the contact request form on this website.