Low Self-Esteem a Serious Issue for High School Students

by Brianna Drury

“I do not have high self esteem, I feel I do not deserve to be loved,” said sophomore Theo Lynch. Why do some of us feel unworthy of love? Students are being presented with so many images of the “ideal body” we feel we are ugly or unattractive in comparison.

 “I think when people compare themselves to others it brings down their self-esteem because the ‘ideal body’ is unachievable for most people,” Lynch continued. But are these “ideal bodies” reasonable or healthy? Many of the images we see in magazines, movies, and social media are doctored or take strict diet and exercise plans to achieve as well as to maintain.

Students are beginning to date and experience heartbreaks adding even more turmoil to the already chaotic teenage years. High school and all the things that go along with it have students doubtful and afraid. With college around the corner students are just trying to figure themselves out. Having low self esteem is a big problem for teenagers because it can make or break whether you attend a school dance, get out of your comfort zone and socialize, or just raise your hand to answer a question in class.

Mastering confidence is a difficult task for many and finding the balance between narcissism and altruism only adds to the complexity. There is a balance in caring for yourself while caring for others. You do not want to become too invested in one or the other.  We all have flaws and imperfections — what’s important is not dwelling on them giving more fuel for self hatred and negativity. One in eight adolescents have been diagnosed with clinical depression  (according to http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=education_statistics_depression) and one in ten Americans takes an antidepressant (according to http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/12/a-glut-of-antidepressants/?_r=1). Many people suffer from depression and/or low self esteem. You are not alone. But how should you deal with it? Some healthy ways are to be sure to exercise, get lots of sun, lots of sleep, and maintain a healthy diet; when you feel good it is easier to get through the day. Therapy of course never hurts and therapists can help teach you ways to cope that are fit for you, though it can be expensive.

How do they handle it?  “I find myself in nature and music; it comforts me when I feel down,” said senior Saul Montano.  “I immerse myself in art and music when I feel sad,” said Lynch. We all have our own ways to cope though sometimes they are unhealthy like a pint of Ben and Jerry’s after a breakup or much more seriously, drugs and/or alcohol. Some students immerse themselves in art, books, or movies to feel better as well.   Even though self esteem is lacking for some, everyone has good, memorable qualities and deserves to be loved and respected.

“Loving yourself is important but hard to do, it just takes time,”  said junior Shannon Reiley.