Puberty, Growing Up And Body Image
All young people go through puberty, the time when your body changes to become more adult. As well as body changes teenagers experience huge brain and social changes as they grow that can leave you with some intense feelings. This can be tricky at points, it can feel awkward, embarrassing, scary or like no-one really understands you. It might not feel like it but this is normal! Knowing more about what will happen to you can help.
Feelings, Emotions and Body Image
Moods can feel a bit all over the place during puberty. Science says that emotions are felt more intensely at this age, so there is a reason why you might sometimes feel overwhelmed.
Childline have a great Feelings Locker resource that can help you to make sense of your emotions.
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 change. 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.