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7 Positive Ways To Be Happy With Who You Are
It’s a disturbing fact that 20% of all teenagers are most likely to suffer from depression before they reach adulthood (Source: “Why Are So Many Teens Depressed?” published in Psychcentral). That means between the ages of 13 and 18 years, within a span of just as little as six years, depression is probably going to hit you, claiming you as its latest victim.
The reason that can happen to you is because you’re not happy with who and what you are. You find yourself wishing that your nose was straighter, that you had naturally gorgeous hair or that your skin was smooth as the finest porcelain that this world has to offer. And the sad part is that you can’t even be blamed for thinking this way. Media and society (including your peers) have conjoined to form an iron sword that ominously hangs on your head, forcing you to feel dissatisfied with what you were born with. In fact, 45% men are unhappy with their bodies (according to the Australian Psychological Society); while the same number for women stands at an alarmingly higher figure of 91% (Source: 5 Facts About Body Image published on Amplifyyourvoice.com).
But then again, appearance is not the only issue that plagues teenagers such as you. Grades and performance in school can shake up your confidence levels too. And a study conducted by Science Alert had discovered that students who got good grades had a higher level of self-esteem; while those who didn’t do well in their academics saw their confidence suffer to a great extent.
So with the constant pressure to do well in every aspect of your life – be it your academics or the way you dress or look – how can you be happy with the lot that fate meted out to you on the day you were born? That’s what we’re here to help you out with. Fasten your seat-belts as we’re about to take you on a ride where you’d discover how to be satisfied with what you’ve got.
1. Stop the Comparison at Once – You are your own Competition
It’s not uncommon to observe the people around you and go ‘oh, I wish I looked like her’ or ‘if I could just be as smart as he is, I’d be much happier.’ The thing is you’ve got to end this. You’re only going to end up feeling much worse about your current state than you would without that comparison. Remember that, everyone’s circumstances are unique. And even though the picture seems perfect from afar, it may hardly be so up close. You may not even know it, but the prom queen may actually be craving the peace and quiet of your life. So instead of measuring yourself with others as standard, make yourself the standard and see how far you’ve come from last year, how much you’ve achieved and how much you’ve grown.
2. Don’t consider Yourself unworthy of the Good Things in Life
If you think that way, you’ve enclosed yourself in a bubble of negativity that is frankly, not doing you any good at all. Fear of being unworthy is one vicious poison that can drag you down into the deepest and darkest pits and prevent you from displaying the amazing person that you really are. You’ll have to stop feeling vulnerable or ashamed, and instead, open your mind to the possibility that you deserve all the best things in the world as much as the popular kids do. It’s in your own hands, and only you can decide what you’re worthy of and what you’re not. So we’d say, shun the whole ‘I don’t deserve this’ and embrace the fact that good things are in store for you too.
3. Accept Yourself just the Way you Are
“Coz’ girl you’re amazing just the way you are…”
As Bruno Mars crooned these words in one of his greatest hits, he couldn’t have put in any better. Irrespective of your gender, race, sexual orientation and body type, the one thing you have to realize is that these outwardly things are not an indication of who you are as a person. Heck, they are not even a measure of your beauty – external or internal. This is why you should embrace every little detail about yourself and accept the elements that make you unique. This includes what you perceive as flaws – whether they are a part of your appearance or your personality. But be careful and do not slip into complacency so that you’re never willing to change yourself for the better. Strike a balance, and accept only those aspects, which are not in your hands.
4. Learn to Forgive Yourself
This relates to considering yourself unworthy in the sense that it hinders you from realizing your own true potential. It might be common for you to blame yourself for your falling grades or the fight that you had with your bestie, but you don’t have to be so harsh on yourself all the time. And why should you be? You cannot possibly undo the things that have been done. Rather than focusing on your mistakes and wallowing in endless phases of guilt or resentment, treat every such incidence in your life as a valuable learning experience. Once you do that, you’ll not only be better equipped to handle (and in some cases prevent) such a situation, but you’ll achieve that peace of mind that is so important if you wish to be happier and more confident in life.
5. Focus on your Strengths rather than your Flaws
You might be excellent at math. Or while you may not be so well-dressed yourself all the time, but somewhere within you might be hiding a talented dressmaker whom you haven’t discovered yet. There’s no single soul on this plant who doesn’t possess something or the other to be proud of. Find where your pride lies and make that your most prized possession. In fact, keep reminding yourself of the good in you every time someone tries to turn the spotlight on your flaws. Let your strengths define who you are, and never forget to flaunt them boldly to the world. This will dramatically raise your confidence levels, and you’ll feel happier in your own skin than you ever did before.
6. Know that you complete Yourself
Most of us depend on our better halves to complete us and inevitably end up saying one of the cheesiest movie lines of ‘You complete me,’ without even thinking it through. By constantly reinforcing the fact that you need someone else to complete you, you undermine the fact that you’re a complete individual in yourself, and that you don’t need someone outside of you to help you achieve that sense of wholeness. This can greatly affect your confidence in the event if the person concerned leaves you or if you never had such a person, to begin with. Consequently, you may end up feeling incomplete and unhappy with your own self. But this is wrong. You have the power to control your happiness, and you don’t need someone else’s approval to feel complete. For this, you’ll have to appreciate yourself and treat yourself as a separate individual rather than someone who’s one-half of a whole.
7. Don’t think about being Perfect
In the end, absolute perfection is an illusion, a utopia that, well, doesn’t exist. So why do you want to chase shadows in the dark? You can say that by setting high standards, you’re only working towards improving upon the person you are. But is setting unrealistically high goals worth it? Is it worth beating yourself up for when you can’t achieve them? Besides, this pursuance of perfection is the reason why you withhold yourself from doing tasks that you believe you cannot execute in the best possible manner. And the worst part is that you even haven’t tried them yet, but you’ve already deemed yourself incapable. Realize that this mindset has to change and that you are good enough to do anything you want. Forget about perfection and just do it.
“With realization of one’s own potential and self-confidence in one’s ability, one can build a better world.”
– Dalai Lama
You too can do that, even if you believe otherwise. Truth be told, being happy with yourself is not enough to take your confidence a notch or two higher than before. You have to do certain things to get to the level where you can be your confident best at all times, no matter the circumstances, no matter the kind of person you perceive yourself to be. Give these a shot-
• Surround yourself with Motivational Quotes
There’s nothing like a good quote to spin your life around. By hanging up posters of quotes that inspire confidence in your room or your locker, you can surround yourself with positivity. Moreover, these quotes can be reminders to chin up whenever you feel down and can almost serve the same purpose as hypnosis podcasts, drilling self-confidence in your conscience till it becomes a habit. You can even change the wallpaper on your phone and laptop to a quote that you love and watch the positive influence it will have on you.
• Spend a few minutes of your time on Facebook
That sounds puzzling, doesn’t it? Especially when Facebook has been labeled as the culprit behind low confidence levels in most people. But here’s an interesting study that can change your mind. According to a research carried out by the social media research wing of the Cornell University, spending some time checking your Facebook wall can actually be good for your self-esteem. 63 students were a part of this study. A section of the students was given access to computers, and the others were not. Those who had access were asked to browse their Facebook wall for the three minutes.
After the time was over, all 63 students were given a questionnaire to fill, which was to act as a measure of their self-esteem levels. Students who had access to Facebook had a more positive image of themselves than who those who were not given computers. But still, we’d advise you against excessive use of social media as it can have a negative impact on your studies.
• Give yourself some Pep Talk
Remember that time in junior high when your physical ed. teacher huddled together with you and your teammates during that basketball match and uttered some positive words so that you’ll feel encouraged to win the game? Well, that kind of talk can really make your confidence soar. And the best part is that there are studies to prove that. According to a study carried out by David K. Sherman and Geoffrey L. Cohen, self-affirmation can improve your health and your academic performance. Another survey conducted by Janine M. Dutcher also says that such talk can make you a better problem solver. So keep telling yourself that you’re smart and you can do it, and you probably will be able to.
• Take the Plunge and Socialize
We know that your low confidence levels prevent you from doing that, but you should try to socialize as much as you can. Be more open and focus on the aspect that in the end, your classmates are people just like you and that there’s nothing to be afraid of. Once you start talking a little bit to people around you, you’ll see their negative perception of you change into a positive one and the very fact that they will appreciate your company will make you feel much more confident about who you are. As a bonus, talking to many people can also do wonders for your public speaking skills and can lower your stress levels as well. In today’s world being socially active is critical as it can be instrumental in having a successful career.
• Adopt Music Therapy
But you have to listen to the right kind of music for anything good to come out of it. Music does have the power to affect your mood; it’s true. But a study carried out by the Kellogg School of Management discovered that certain genres of music could influence your confidence levels too. Well, that’s good news we’d say. Two groups of people were a part of this research, and each group was given a different playlist to listen to – one playlist contained high power tunes, while the other contained low power ones. After the listening session was over, each group was given certain tasks. Those who listened to high power music completed their tasks successfully. So what sort of music should you play on your phone? Songs with heavy bass levels are what the researchers recommend.
As you become a better, more confident person, the world and all its people will seem much brighter. You’ll realize your own potential and just how powerful and wonderful you really are. The moral of the story is, being ashamed of who you are, is not going to get you anywhere. So raise your head up, and seize the day, all the while listening to what Lady Gaga has to say –
“I’m beautiful in my way
‘Cause God makes no mistakes
I’m on the right track, baby I was born this way.”
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