Are you putting yourself down? If so, you're not alone. As a teen, you're growing and developing at a rapid rate and as your body changes, so does your image of yourself. It's not always easy to like every part of your looks, but when you get stuck on the negatives it can really bring down your self-esteem.
Some people struggle with their self-esteem and body image when they begin puberty. The changes that happen, combined with wanting to feel accepted by our friends, means it can be tempting to compare ourselves with others. The trouble with that is not everyone grows or develops at the same time or in the same way.
Some people think they need to change how they look to feel good about themselves. But changing the way you see your body and how you think about yourself can be more powerful and longer lasting.
Recognize that your body is your own, no matter what shape or size it comes in. Your body is not an ornament, it's a machine. Try to focus on how strong and healthy your body is and the things it can do, not what's wrong with it or what you feel you want to chang. If you're worried about your weight or size, check with your doctor to verify that things are OK. But it's no one's business but your own what your body is like — ultimately, you have to be happy with yourself.
When you hear negative comments coming from within, tell yourself to stop. Appreciate that each person is more than just how he or she looks on any given day. We're complex and constantly changing. Try to focus on what's unique and interesting about you.
Try building your self-esteem by giving yourself three compliments every day. While you're at it, every evening list three things in your day that really gave you pleasure. It can be anything from the way the sun felt on your face, the sound of your favourite band, or the way someone laughed at your jokes. By focusing on the good things you do and the positive aspects of your life, you can change how you feel about yourself.
Some people with physical disabilities or differences may feel they are not seen for their true selves because of their bodies and what they can and can't do. Other people may have such serious body image issues that they need a bit more help. Working with a counsellor or therapist can help some people gain perspective and learn to focus on their individual strengths as well as develop healthier thinking.
If you're feeling this way, it can help to talk to a parent, friend, teacher or another trusted adult.
Breasts are an area of a girl’s body that can cause lots of worry. They come in all shapes and sizes and they are all normal. They can keep developing until you're 18. It's also common for breasts to change in your adult years.
Facts about breasts:
- having one breast which is bigger than the other is normal.
- it's normal for breasts to feel sore or tender sometimes. This usually happens just before or during your period.
- breasts can feel heavier or softer before a period.
- nipples come in different shapes and sizes. They can be outwards or inwards. The area around the nipple is called the areola and it's normal for it to be a few shades darker than your breast. Sometimes nipples have bumps, pimples or small hairs.
Masturbation is when you touch your body and your genitals because it feels good or pleasurable. You can make yourself orgasm or 'come' by doing this.
Both girls and boys masturbate and it's completely normal. It's a way of discovering your body how it makes you feel and what kind of things make you feel good during sex. Some people might say that it's wrong or that you shouldn't masturbate, but it's a normal part of life and not something to be ashamed of. It allows you to understand what touches are the most pleasurable so when you are ready for sex you can teach your partner. CLICK HERE to read more.
If you choose to remove some or all of your body hair, it's important to do it in a safe way. Things you could try include:
- shaving with a clean razor and shaving foam or soap
- waxing with hot, clean wax - this can be done at a beauty salon or at home using a waxing kit (these can be bought from pharmacies and some supermarkets)
- applying hair removal cream and scraping it off with a special spatula - it can be dangerous to use hair removal cream on pubic hair or near your genital area.
Make sure you read the instruction leaflet carefully before using any type of removal cream or home waxing kit.
Whatever you choose to use, it is important to try it on a small section of skin first. This way you'll be able to see if you have an allergic reaction.
Like breasts your vulva, labia, or the lips that cover the opening to your vagina, whatever you want to call them, all come in different shapes and sizes, sometimes one side is longer than the other, and they are never the same shape as someone else’s.
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