21 May Why Being An Imperfect Teenager Is Perfect
As I sit in my therapy room with a young adult, I listen with dismay at the harsh judgement she places on herself for not being perfect, at the impossibly high standards she sets for herself, at the continual comparison to others where she’s never quite good enough and where making a mistake is, in her eyes, a sign of failure and must never happen.
Looking back over my client base of children and teens, I realise that this is a recurrent theme, causing that young person to worry, to be anxious, to be stressed, to feel low, to be fearful, to lose sleep, to have image issues, to struggle with friendships and family and ultimately to have a tremendously low self esteem.
With the theme for Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 being kindness, I thought it would be a great opportunity to highlight the importance of being kind to yourself first and foremost. Being kind to yourself means not judging yourself harshly for not being perfect, it means not holding yourself to impossibly high standards, it means stopping the comparison with others, the beating up of yourself for making a mistake or for not being good enough physically, academically, or socially.
It’s tough out there for young people today; they are up against it. The message all around them is that they are never good enough unless they get the top grades, go to the best schools, have the most friends, go to the top Universities, get the top jobs, look forever slim and more beautiful, be always at their best and never seemingly having a bad day (if the Instagram posts are anything to go by!)
So I know it’s hard but unless you start being kind to yourself, you will always be trying to live up to an idea of perfection which does not exist. You will get increasingly more anxious and stressed just searching for it.
So take a moment to sit and listen to your internal chatter. What is it saying to you and, more importantly, how does it make you feel? We are never a harsher critic than we are to ourselves……..so just ask yourself, would I talk to my friend like I talk to myself? Probably not, so give yourself some slack.
Be kind instead; say to yourself, you are doing a good job in whatever you do, look great however you look, give 100% your best in whatever exam you take, accept you’ll make mistakes along the way and learn from them and are happy in your own skin.
Keep reminding yourself to be kind whenever you recognise the negative self talk as your mind has a habit of reverting back to the way it always thinks…..that is, until you start to believe those kind words and then they’ll stick.
I specialise in helping children and teens to manage and control their anxiety so they can lead happy, relaxed lives.
You can find more info at www.annebayatihypnotherapy.co.uk.
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