Advice and Help for Teens

How to Feel Confident

You guys, this is the biggest topic that comes up with my teen life coaching clients. I’ll be in a Zoom with some kid who literally wakes up Instagram perfect and they’ll be like, “I feel so ugly compared to everyone else. I have no idea how to feel confident.”

I kind of want to shake them and yell, “Look in a mirror! You’re gorgeous!” But that would be pointless. Because…

A: I’m a grownup so my opinion doesn’t count.

B: Nobody’s opinion counts when it comes to how to feel confident. You have to see it in yourself.

So how do you see it in yourself? What’s the trick for how to feel confident?

Actually, there’s a lot of tricks. Here are the best ones I’ve found.

Step 1: Figure out what you feel most insecure about. What’s the main thing you fear people are judging you for? Just this step can actually make a lot of your anxiety disappear. Instead of walking around with this big vague sense of, “I suck and people hate me,” you’re like, “Oh, it’s only this one thing I think is lame. The rest of me is maybe kind of okay.”

Step 2: Find media that presents that one “flaw” in a positive light. When I was younger, I was super paranoid about my size. I thought people thought I was gross because I wasn’t skinny. Finding representation of not-thin girls presented as gorgeous—stuff like #StyleNotSize—changed my whole shit. Drinking in positive images of my so-called “flaw” showed my brain exactly how to feel confident.

Step 3: Figure out what actions, activities, people or things boost your confidence, and rock them. You’d be amazed how quickly my clients learn how to feel confident with just one tweak in their life. For some kids it’s daring to wear outfits that feel like their actual personality. For others it’s finding a friend group that’s into what they are. For others it’s switching from an activity their parents chose for them to an activity that they themselves are interested in (hot tip: if you’ve been bullied in any way, boxing is really good for this!)

The riddle of how to feel confident can seem impossible to solve, but these simple strategies work like magic. Let me know if they work for you!

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