Opinion: Low self-esteem has become an epidemic

I never used to consider myself my own enemy. But now, I look in the mirror and can be nothing but critical.

We have reached a point at which low self-confidence has poisoned the minds of too many teenagers, myself included. I’m guilty of scolding myself about how I’m not pretty enough, smart enough or athletic enough; the list could go on and on.

Having been born into an age of technology, my generation has been surrounded by social media throughout middle and high school. Unfortunately, social media is a confidence killer. In a survey taken by San Marin students, 41 percent reported
that the online community generally leads them to feel bad about themselves.

I am one of these people. I encounter photos of flawless celebrities and models every day, and I can do nothing afterwards but silently resent the fact that I’m me and not them.

Even without the burdens of social media, high school is an odyssey in itself. It is a time of self-discovery, and it has been this way for as long as history can account for. But now, my peers and I are crushed by society’s futile standards. We are asked to keep a confident front, both online and off. I’ve been told to fake it until I make it to convince those around me that I am comfortable with myself. It’s difficult to keep up this false personality, though, as these standards continue to rise and become augmented.

In dealing with our own identity and abiding by society’s standards, we forget that others struggle too and how, although we may not be able to entirely fulfill their self-confidence, there are ways to help them. By simply taking ten seconds out of your day to compliment someone, you could make their day just that much better. We need to encourage the building of self-confidence in day to day life outside of social media as well, because being confident also means being happy and content. Nearly any person you ask would agree that when they are happier, they lead a more productive and more pleasant life.

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