Insights Into Teens: Episode 5 “Self Esteem”

Joe and Madison explore the sensitive subject of self-esteem. What role it plays in our lives, signs of healthy self esteem, warning signs of low self esteem and what can cause low self esteem. We then take a deeper dive into some of the ways to improve your self esteem and the effect your self esteem has on other aspects of life as a teenager.

Insights Into Teens

Episode Transcript

Speaker 1:0:10Welcome to insights into teens, a podcast series, exploring the issues and challenges of today’s youth. Your hosts are Joseph and Madison, Waylon, a father and daughter team making their way through the challenges of the teenage years.

Speaker 2:0:33Welcome to insights into teens, episode five self esteem. I’m your host, Joseph Waylon and my lovely and capable cohost Madison Waylon. Hello everyone. How are you doing today Madison? I’m doing good. Okay. Today we’re going to be talking about self esteem. Um, we will talk about what self esteem is, the value of self esteem, some signs of healthy self esteem, the warning signs of low self esteem, what can cause low self esteem and ways to improve your self esteem.

Speaker 3:1:14Okay.

Speaker 2:1:15Self esteem as defined by psychology today states confidence in one’s value as a human being is a precious psychological resource and generally a highly positive factor in life. It is correlated with achievement, good relationships and satisfaction. Possessing little self regard can lead people to become depressed, to fall short of their potential or to tolerate abuse situations and relationships. So that is what self esteem is. It’s really what you think of yourself, what you think your self worth is to other people. And it’s sort of a guiding principle of how you conduct yourself and how you see yourself in the world. There’s value in self esteem and at least that’s what a lot of people believe. People believe. One of the key things is it plays a part in your motivation and can contribute to your success throughout life. Do you consider yourself particularly motivated in the things that you do in life?

Speaker 2:2:17Certain things, yes. Like what? Why quit school? I put hard work into my schoolwork. Even though it’s stressful. You certainly doing, you bring home straight A’s and you consistently uh, up here on the principal’s list for your academic achievements, which I think you deserve a round of applause for. Do you think self esteem plays a part in the success that you’ve seen so far? Scholastically tens. I look at it. Okay. Well do you, where do you think you feel or, or where do you think you are with your self esteem? Do you think? Do you think highly of yourself? Do you think yourself capable? Well, I definitely think I’m

Speaker 4:3:00capable of doing things right.

Speaker 2:3:01Dependent life. Okay. Do you think you’re smart? Yes. Do you think you’re a good person? Certain occasions. Do you think other people think that of you?

Speaker 4:3:14Well, when I’m not having mood swings, yes.

Speaker 2:3:17Okay. Well it sounds like you, you have pretty good self esteem and I think that’s a healthy sign.

Speaker 3:3:27Yeah.

Speaker 2:3:28Ah, here’s a few, I, few of the signs of a healthy self esteem and you tell me, uh, your thoughts on these. So the first one on the list is confidence. Do you think you’re confident in the things that you, do? You mean example? Well, if you’re asked to do a chore, Do you think you can do it? Yes. And if you’re given an assignment to do for school, do you have confidence in yourself to get it done?

Speaker 4:3:57Well, in the beginning, yes, but when it gets a little too stressful, sometimes I worry about, um, certain times I, I on daily assignments I have some confidence.

Speaker 2:4:13Okay. So, so there’s, uh, you know, sometimes where we might not be as confident and I think that’s natural. Uh, the ability to say no. So for instance, if someone, if someone asks you to do something that you might not be comfortable with, like you know, it’s not okay to walk to the store without getting permission. Your forefinger parents and a friend asked you to do that. Do you think you’d be able to say no to that, to that kind of peer pressure? Yes. Okay. That’s good. Positive outlook. Do you think you have a positive outlook on things? No. Yelling, no. Okay. And I would tend to agree, tend to agree depending on what we’re talking about. Depending like things around the house, home life, I think you have a very positive outlook, but I think when it comes to school, your outlook might not be as positive. How bout the ability to see your overall strengths and weaknesses and to accept them? Do you think you can do that?

Speaker 4:5:16Well, I know my strengths in school and I did my real quick, my weaknesses. Okay. And I do tend to accept them.

Speaker 2:5:26Okay. Do you let negative experiences impact your overall perspective? Like what do you mean by perspective? Well, let’s see if for instance, you have a bad day at school. Does that ruin your whole day? Like when you get home, are you in a bad mood or you’re miserable? Yes. Okay. So that, that could be an issue there. Um, do you think you have the ability to express your needs? Like what? Well if for instance it’s the weekend and you’re tired of your burnout cause you had a rough week and mommy and daddy want to go do something, we want to go down the shore or go see a movie or something and you don’t really feel like you’re up to that. Do you think you’re okay expressing your desire to not do that?

Speaker 4:6:17Oh really? Because I want you guys to be in to enjoy your weekend.

Speaker 2:6:22So your desire to please ask me over come your own needs. Okay, well I, I, I could certainly see that.

Speaker 3:6:36Okay.

Speaker 2:6:37The warning signs of low self esteem and just glancing at this list now, it’s some of what we just talked about and it’s almost some things we’ve talked about in the past. The first thing on the list is negative outlook. So do you think you have an overall negative outlook on things in life in general? Yes. Why do you think that?

Speaker 4:6:57Well, whenever I go to school, I’m normally all drabby and like you said before, if you have a negative outlook at the beginning of the day you’re going to be measurable. The rest.

Speaker 2:7:06So you were acknowledged the fact that your outlook affects how the day itself goes. Okay. That’s interesting. Uh, the next one that we have, the next sign that we have is a lack of confidence. Do you feel self confidence when you talk to people or when you do things, not her self confidence mean. So confidence means that if someone asks me a question, I can answer it and know that I’ve answered it. Or if someone asks me to do something, then I think I can do it and I’m not going to be all worried that I’m not going to be able to get it done.

Speaker 4:7:44Well in some instances I would have a little less confident spit on other instances. On other incidents, I would have more confidence.

Speaker 2:7:57Okay. So it’s, it’s sort of a mixed bag there. Do you do you express your needs? Like what? Well, I dunno if, if you want something, if you want to do something, yeah, if you want to go somewhere, if there’s something activity that you want to do. Do you feel that you can, you can express that other here at home or in school? Yes you do. Okay. That’s good. Since you already acknowledged the fact that you’re aware of your overall strengths and weaknesses, do you tend to focus on your weaknesses? May give me an example please. Like for instance, if you’re not very good at sports, do you focus on that and dwell on that? Or if you’re not very good at a subject in school or you’re not very good at vacuuming or or anything, do you tend to focus on your inability to do it or do you look for other things that your other strong in or do you find ways to try to overcome those weaknesses or do you just accept them as a, as a defeat? I just accept them. So you don’t think it’s worthwhile to try and find a way to improve those weaknesses?

Speaker 4:9:13I really don’t know what else I can do, but I do accept them.

Speaker 2:9:17So give me an example of what you think is one of your weaknesses. Sports. So sports. Okay, so when you say sports, are we just talking Phys ed? Are we talking team sports? Like organized sports? Like

Speaker 4:9:31just any sport in general.

Speaker 2:9:34Okay. So if everyone at school was going to play kickball, you’re not very good at kickball

Speaker 4:9:41also. I really don’t like it.

Speaker 2:9:43Okay. Well I mean like and dislike a side. If it’s a weakness, is it a weakness because you don’t like it or is it a weakness because you’ve had a bad experience

Speaker 4:9:53or because I’ve had a bad experience. Oh, sorry. You don’t like it, so yeah. Okay. It’s the first two combined.

Speaker 2:10:00Now. Do you think that’s something that you can improve?

Speaker 4:10:03Not really, no. Because they experience, I had never goes away because my teacher said dramatic experience change the way people think.

Speaker 2:10:11Well it does, but it doesn’t have to necessarily change the way you think negatively. Like for instance, when you learn to ride a bike and you fall off and you skin your knee, that’s a traumatic experience. But that doesn’t mean you don’t get back up on the bike and you learn how to ride the bike.

Speaker 4:10:28Well, I mean, I know how to play kickball. I really don’t know if there’s anything else. I mean it’s mainly because I just like it because of the experience I had.

Speaker 2:10:37So you’re capable of performing the sport, you just don’t like it because you had a bad experience.

Speaker 4:10:42And I also don’t like it in general. So yes.

Speaker 2:10:45Well what don’t you like about it?

Speaker 4:10:47Um, I really don’t think it’s so entertaining sport.

Speaker 2:10:52Do you think any sports or entertaining?

Speaker 4:10:54The only one I would really say actually entertains me, I guess is basketball. That’s it.

Speaker 2:11:00Basketball. Okay. Well there was a lot of elements in basketball that are in kickball. There is a lot of skill involved. There’s hand eye coordination, there’s running. So I think it’s comes down to something where you’re, if you like basketball and you try it out and you’re good at it, that itself might translate into improvements in kickball or other things. Now I know some things you can’t avoid it at school. Some things are course based so even though you don’t like kickball you may still have to do it. So it might, it might behoove you to improve your skills in doing that.

Speaker 4:11:36I mean, I don’t really know what I can improve. I mean you just run, your, just kicked the ball run and if you’re on the other team is try to catch.

Speaker 2:11:45Yeah, that’s pretty much the gist of it. I don’t really know

Speaker 4:11:48sync is that there’s anything I can really

Speaker 2:11:50prove. Okay. All right. Well if you’re soured on it from an experience and then we’ll leave it at that. Do you have feelings of shame, depression, or anxiety? Can I have an example? Well, I think depression is pretty self explanatory. Uh, anxiety is, do you get yourself worked up over stuff? Yes. Like give an example. Whenever I’m near the end of a due date for a project, if I don’t have it done, I start panicking. But eventually the panic dies down. It doesn’t last forever. Okay. Now is that because the due date is so close or is it because you don’t think you’re going to meet the duty? I don’t think I’ll meet the due date. Okay. So it might be a little bit of time management that we have to work on for stuff like that. Uh, what about shame? Like for instance, if, uh, if you do something wrong, if you lie to your parents and you get caught in a lie and you feel bad about it, that could be shame. Do you feel that feeling often? Not really, no. Okay, good. And and the depression part, how often do you think you’re said at this point if it’s big or small? Well, okay. So let me ask you, how often do you cry? At least once a week at the most, maybe.

Speaker 2:13:20What typically triggers that? Certain events that happened during the day or certain thoughts I have. Okay. So is it someone else that’s causing that or is it something where you just dwell on something and it makes you depressed in your cry? Okay. You’re, you’re a very complicated individual and you have, you have very deep thoughts. So I could certainly see that. Do you have trouble accepting positive feedback? I mean by that? Well, you brought home straight A’s and mommy and daddy were very proud of you. Did you accept that praise or did you not feel comfortable accepting that praise or did you feel undeserving of that praise? I feel comfortable with it. Well that’s good. You deserve it. But with other things, like if you help somebody out in school and they think you and the praise you for that, do you feel comfortable with that? He did not feel comfortable being praised. I feel comfortable with, like you said before. Okay, good. That was a good sign. Do you feel that other people are better than you? And when I say that I’m talking from a peer level kid, your age that you’re delivering your class to you. Do you believe others are better than you? No. Good.

Speaker 2:14:41So we’re all equally smart. Do you fear failure and what do you fear? Failure. The consequences. The fact that you’re not living to your own expectations. What is it

Speaker 4:14:53that consequences? Give an example. Like what will happen if I ever laid assignment? What will happen if I didn’t finish my homework? What consequences? What happened?

Speaker 2:15:04Okay. Let me ask you that. You know, you, you’re talking about these projects that you have. You have a lot of them. They’d cause a lot of stress.

Speaker 4:15:11I also feel, I feel like it if I don’t finish them know, be consequences.

Speaker 2:15:16Okay. So let’s, let’s go with that. So what do you think the consequences would be if you don’t finish your project on time?

Speaker 4:15:23I again, trouble or to get a lower grade. Um,

Speaker 2:15:26well hang on, let’s not get ahead of my shell. So you would get in trouble. What does that mean? Get in trouble?

Speaker 4:15:32Like probably have detention or get a demerit.

Speaker 2:15:35Okay. Have you asked your teacher what the consequences would be? No. It might be worthwhile to ask cause I don’t think the consequences are nearly as severe as you think they are. And I think as a result, you’re kind of psyching yourself up. I think there’s a legitimate concern about the grade because generally what happens is a project has a certain number of points that are associated with it, and depending on how the project is done, whether it’s done on time, whether it’s done incorrectly, you’ll see those points be merited or you’ll see points removed. And then those points are associated with a grade level. So if you don’t turn a project being, you might get 10 points taken off, which means if the project has done absolutely perfectly the most, you’ll get to be on it. And I think you’ll find most of the consequences that you’re dealing with are stuff like that. Nobody is going to punish you. You’re not going to get the tension first, turning something in late. I don’t know what the merits are or how they’re defined in the

Speaker 4:16:37well basically. And if you get to Merrick’s, if you get like a lot of demerit, you’ll miss out on certain activities that are planned for the sixth grade. Okay.

Speaker 2:16:50And again, you’d have to ask your teacher, but it’s entirely possible that the marriage might be involved. I don’t know how they dole them out, but really I think that the biggest consequence you’re going to run into is going to be from a grade standpoint. So these are things, at least from a school standpoint, you should ask your teacher about if you have legitimate fears like this, your teachers will tell you what the consequences will be in. And I think understanding of those consequences of May make it easier and less burdensome for you. It, it’ll make it less of an anxiety generator for it. What can cause low self esteem. And some of these are fairly obvious ones that probably don’t apply to you in some cases. But the number one thing that was on the list here was being bullied or abused. No. Are you bullied at school? No. Okay. Are you abused at home? No. Okay. So I think we can safely eliminate that one as a cause. Yes. Did you experience prejudice or discrimination?

Speaker 4:18:02You mean like being bullied because of my religion?

Speaker 2:18:06Well, it could be anything. People could make fun of you cause you’re left handed or treat you differently because you’re a girl or treat you differently because you’re Jewish. Do you experience any of that? No. Okay. So we can eliminate problems at school or while study. So do you have problems at school that might affect your self esteem?

Speaker 4:18:29Can you give me an example?

Speaker 2:18:31Well, let’s go with the projects again. So have you been late on a project and receive some kind of consequence? No. Okay. Uh, have you had situations where you’ve failed tests and have gotten low grades on them? Sometimes. So you failed tests.

Speaker 4:18:48Well not fail tests. I just get a low grade. Like not well what do you, what do you consider a low grade? Hello? See, okay, well that’s still passing but, but when you get that, do you, do you think that makes you feel bad about yourself on certain occasions? Depending how I feel. Okay.

Speaker 2:19:07Okay. So the, that could be a legitimate, um, aspect of self esteem concerns. Um, ongoing stress can cause low self esteem. And we’ve already talked about this. You do feel like you’re stressed a lot. Yes. So with that stress could come the feelings of failure or fear, even a fear of failure or an inability to complete something. So that may be one of the causes that we talked about this last week about some of the things that we can do to help manage that stress. So I think we still need to work on that. Do you have relationship problems at school or outside of school? No. Okay. So that’s not an issue. Um, do you have worries about your appearance or your body image? No. Okay. Well that’s easy enough. And this one, I thought they threw this one in here specifically for you. Problems with Mondays. I think we’ll both admit that neither of us are Monday people.

Speaker 4:20:10Exactly. No morning people.

Speaker 2:20:13That’s correct. So really the biggest thing that you’d have to worry about here is maybe a performance at school. The ongoing stress that you have in the fact that we can’t take Mondays off all the time. Yeah. Okay. So you don’t have a lot of causes for a low self esteem and that’s good. A lot of people tend to check a lot of those boxes on that list there. The next thing we count two is ways to improve your self esteem. Now, based on what we’ve talked about, I really don’t think you’ve gotten low self, do you? Oh thanks or no, no. So this may be worthwhile for some of our audience out there who might not be answering some of these questions the same way am I might need a little little health. So the first thing is to be kind to yourself. Do you know what that means?

Speaker 4:21:04Um, to better accept who you are and know that no matter what you are you and you should learn to accept who you are and just don’t think you or anyone else.

Speaker 2:21:22I think that’s a fair assessment. It’s maybe me. Condor yourself is accept yourself for who you are. You know, and this goes back to knowing what your strengths and weaknesses are. Understand who you are and, and know that you know, even though you’re not perfect and nobody is, you’re a good person and accept yourself for that. And don’t be harsh on yourself. The next thing they have is to look after yourself. Do you look after yourself?

Speaker 4:21:47I need an example for that one.

Speaker 2:21:48Well do you make sure that that you have clean clothes and you make sure that you have a good meal on a balanced diet and you maintain your hygiene and you know, it could, could go so far as to pamper yourself, you know, the foot past that you like to enjoy or taking care of your hair because you’re, you have long beautiful hair and it’s a lot of maintenance. So a lot of that is really, you know, pampering yourself and looking after yourself and, and making sure that your needs are taken care of. Do you do that

Speaker 4:22:23well? I do make sure to clean myself. Whoa. I really good. When I take a shower I definitely make sure I have clean clothes even though of course I always end up getting something on them by the end of the day doing, Hey, well I do do the laundry. So I definitely make sure all the closure claim including mine.

Speaker 2:22:46What about what amount stuff like uh, appreciating yourself, like where you do something, uh, you bring home straight A’s. Do you sort of pat yourself on the back of that thing? I understand me that that’s a significant accomplishment. Yup. Stuff like that. You know, it’s, it’s encouraging yourself and making sure that you’re taking care of yourself. I’m one of the other suggestions is try to notice the good things and we’ve talked about this as well. Bad things happen all the time and, and when you get out of school, you know, you’ll find that bad things happened in the world all the time. But it’s important to not dwell on the bad things, recognize the good things and emphasize the good thing. So you may get up on a Monday morning and not have a very good morning cause it’s Monday and you may go to school and have a chance to play with friends that you don’t normally have a chance to play with.

Speaker 2:23:40Or You may bring home your report card on that Monday with straight A’s and get a reward for it. It’s those things like, like each day you should look for something positive that came out of the day and remember, remind yourself of that. Another suggestion here is to build a support network. Have people to talk, to, have people to just hang out with you can, you don’t have to talk to people, but have people that you can have around you that make you feel good about yourself. Like friends. What friends do you hang out with that, that you enjoy? You genuinely enjoy their time. And let’s not name names, but think of those friends. Do you have friends that you can spend time with that you can talk to that you trust? Yes. And, and it’s important to have that. Another thing that we have on the list here is learn to be assertive. You know what that means?

Speaker 4:24:35Yes. Being assertive as mean. Discerning means asserting yourself, pulling down your marker, making sure people know what you’re saying.

Speaker 2:24:45Exactly. Exactly. So you know, don’t let people talk over you. If you’ve got something to say, you get out there and saying it. If you’re playing a sport, you know you’re playing. I don’t know. Soccer for instance, and someone keeps telling you pass the ball, pass the ball. You don’t have to pass the ball. Assert yourself, play the way that you want to apply. By doing that you’ll generate confidence in yourself. The last thing that we had on the raised to improve self esteem is to set yourself a challenge. Do you challenge yourself very often? I don’t think so. No. I know there are challenges that you face including your school assignments, but do you ever have any personal challenges like, Hey, I’m going to clean my room this weekend?

Speaker 4:25:29Well I definitely have thoughts like that and I don’t normally do them cause I’m kind of lazy.

Speaker 2:25:35Okay. Well and that’s one of the things that that maybe we need to work on. Overcoming, setting realistic goals and all. Not Saying, you know, set a goal to cure cancer or anything like that, but small goals that they can build up and lead the larger goals because every time you complete a goal, I think you’d get a little victory there. That gives you a little bit of self esteem. That gives you a little bit of confidence there and it helps to build you up to the next challenge. This is one of the reasons why Mommy and daddy were kind of encouraging you to stay in the honors math or the advanced math and advanced classes coming up in the next school year is that it challenges you and you get straight A’s now and it’s the most challenging course they can offer you. That’s something that you need to, to really be proud of and to own that and to realize that what you’re doing, getting straight A’s in an advanced class like that is pretty extraordinary and it speaks a lot to the person that you are until the level of intelligence that you have. And I don’t think you, you fully appreciate that. What do you think?

Speaker 4:26:40No, I appreciate that. I am still getting A’s and the hardest class that can offer me. I appreciate that.

Speaker 2:26:48That’s pretty extraordinary though. You deserve a pat on the back for that. And I think if you, if you move into middle school and you start taking on those advanced classes there and excel at those, you don’t have to, you know, we’re not going to force you to take on stuff like that, but I think when you do, it’s, it’s a testament to you and just bringing home straight A’s in general I think is a testament because that’s never an expectation. You have to realize that when you accomplish that, it’s impressive. Just like when you do chores around the house on the weekend when you finish, I know it’s tough getting motivated. It’s tough to get started, but once you get started and you get rolling and you get all that stuff done at the end of the weekend, it’s done. Everything is clean and you’ve got a few extra dollars in your pocket as a result of that. That’s an accomplishment. That’s the type of thing. That’s the type of challenge with talking about is you set these little challenges and you bang a mountain, you, you take care of them, it makes you feel better and you can make a few bucks off of stuff like that, which is not really a bad thing. Any thoughts on that?

Speaker 4:27:55Well, I can definitely see how sometimes it would, I would have a good feeling about it.

Speaker 3:28:03Okay.

Speaker 2:28:09Well I think that was all that I had on the agenda tonight. Did you have any closing words or closing thoughts for our audience today?

Speaker 4:28:18Well, all I really have just a is for if fee, if you have low self esteem, learn to accept who you are and don’t try to be anyone different. You are you and yours

Speaker 2:28:31special. That is fantastic words and I agree with you 100% I think that’s going to do it for us this week on the podcast. Thank you Madison for your time.

Speaker 4:28:44Thank you for having me.

Speaker 5:28:46We will talk to you all next week. Bye.