Navigating Self-Esteem and Puberty

February 27, 2023 Teddy Mbukha

As soon as puberty kicks in, many of us lose self-esteem. Many physical, emotional, and psychological changes begin to take shape during this time, leaving us confused and extremely sensitive. As our bodies change, so does our self-esteem, leaving us vulnerable. Even fully understanding that this is a perfectly normal part of life that everyone goes through didn’t make it any easier for me. Puberty was a time in my life I think back to and wonder whether anyone handles it any better than I did.

Growing up, I was largely self-conscious, and being overly quiet and internalizing everything didn’t make it any better. I would overthink every aspect of my appearance, down to the lines on the palms of my hands. I was never satisfied with my body, which grew worse as I began nitpicking my shape and size. Anytime anyone said anything about my appearance, positive or not, I would overthink it to oblivion, and it would become a new insecurity I harbored. 

I had been chipping away at my self-esteem, and the new changes taking place in my body due to puberty drove my self-confidence to a new low. I felt like others constantly judged me and hated my appearance. Then there was the acne (as if the other changes weren’t enough of a kicker). I could have been certified as a chemist judging by the variety of skin care products and routines I tried. Somehow, it just made it worse, making me even more self-conscious, and for a while, I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror. If you asked me at the time, I was sure I would never be happy with my body. Today, I tell a different story.

A Turning Point for My Self-Esteem During Puberty

I am forever grateful for the realization that my self-esteem should not just be based on my appearance. Since there wasn’t much I could do about my appearance, I needed to let nature take its course, and as the changes set in, I began to focus more on my personality, talents, and interests. I started making daily lists of my strengths and things that make me unique. 

Changing my mindset took a bit of time, but slowly, I realized my self-worth and started pursuing things I enjoyed. I also began affirming the best qualities of my appearance rather than picking apart what I thought was wrong with me. I made genuine friends when I started being myself and opening up. This helped me feel more confident and develop a healthier sense of self-worth.

APA Reference
Mbukha, T. (2023, February 27). Navigating Self-Esteem and Puberty, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Teddy Mbukha

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