Our generation has always been harsh on ourselves. For so many teenagers, myself included, self-deprecating jokes are a go-to form of humor. We find it easier to laugh with everyone than to face them laughing at us. We hold ourselves to higher standards than we do the world; when our friends are insecure, we build them up immediately, but we’re overly critical of our own flaws. We mentally yell at ourselves in ways we’d never repeat to a friend, and we insist that we’re fine because everybody feels this way, right?
Actually, that’s not exactly wrong. A Pew Research study revealed that teenage depression rates have increased by nearly 60% in the past ten years. About 60% of teens admit to feeling pressure over grades, and 30% claim their main stressors are fitting in socially and being happy with their appearance. Yes, external pressure is behind these numbers, but so are internal factors. We are so hard on ourselves over every little insecurity–it’s time to be kinder.
With school, extracurriculars, work, and friends, finding time for self-care can be rough. But you don’t have to take an hour-long bubble bath or have a glamorous day out to relieve some pressure. The way we talk to ourselves matters–if we’re more forgiving to our weak points, we can become stronger people. Insecurities and stress can build up, but if we think in the same way that we talk to our friends and family, we’ll be better at dealing with them. You might fail a test and berate yourself over it, thinking you’re a failure. But if the kid next to you in class did the same, you’d reassure them that they’ll do better next time. Don’t be hypocritical! Apply that mentality to yourself, too.
Breaking out of a negative mindset isn’t easy, but it’s possible. When you learn to forgive yourself, look on the bright side of things, and make self-appreciating jokes instead of self-deprecating comments, you’ll be a happier person. Don’t add more stress to your life. A little kindness goes a long way–even when that kindness is to yourself.