UNITED STATES—When I was in high school, I went through a period of emotional ups and downs. I know a lot of teenagers struggle with personal issues and self-esteem, but I REALLY struggled with self-esteem issues. I’m not going to get into big details, but I will share with you all that I saw counselor for a while.

Honestly, I think it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I literally went from a teen trying to hide from the world by wearing big black hoodies and beanies to someone who was confident and could wear whatever she wanted. Don’t get me wrong, I still struggle with my confidence every now and then, but I am so much more confident and happier now than I was as a teenager. So, I’m going to share with you some of my best tips to building confidence and self-esteem.

Tip #1: Get Yourself A Counselor

I can see you right now, you’re about to close out this browser and start google searching other articles on how to build confidence; but hear me out. Seeing a counselor doesn’t mean that you’re crazy or that you’re weird. If you ask me, I think that everyone needs some guidance and can benefit from seeing an impartial counselor who is trained in psychology and deconstructing what people are feeling. Maybe you have some issues bottled up inside that you don’t feel comfortable sharing with your friends or loved one; a counselor would be the perfect person to talk to because they don’t know you and you don’t have to see them at home, school or work.

Additionally, everything you tell them is in confidence, unless they perceive what you tell them to be a sign that you are a danger to yourself or others. But, for the most part you can be sure that your secrets are safe with your counselor. Over time, you can also build a good relationship with your counselor and you will most likely start to feel more comfortable with him/her. However, you don’t absolutely have to see a counselor to build confidence.

Tip #2: Wear Brighter Colors

If you’re like me, you like to wear darker colors when you’re feeling blue. My friends know that when I’m wearing black on a daily basis, something is wrong. So, the best thing to do in this situation, is to start introducing brighter colors into your wardrobe. I remember back in the day, I couldn’t bear the thought of wearing anything bright because I didn’t want to draw any unwanted attention to myself. My counselor suggested that I start small by wearing a colorful accessory like a hair tie or bracelet. I listened to her and each week I reported back to her about how wearing that particular item made me feel. It turns out, I didn’t feel bad at all and so each week after that, I kept adding more and more color into my wardrobe. Eventually, I could wear colorful outfits without any reservations, and I felt good about myself.

Tip #3: Compliment Others

This might be a weird tip to some of you. I know it didn’t make sense to me when I was younger, but it really did help me to build confidence. For example, when I noticed that someone was wearing a nice outfit, I would compliment them. They usually seemed to be flattered and happy to receive the compliment and in turn, I felt really good about making someone else feel good. Additionally, a lot of times when we don’t feel good about ourselves, we tend to try to pick out flaws that other people may have to make ourselves feel better. At the end of the day, this won’t really help because the flaws that we think we have will still be there and it doesn’t matter what we perceive others to look like when our issues are within ourselves. So, if we stop trying to compare ourselves to others and “hate on them” and instead try to spread positivity and good vibes by complimenting people more often, we can help build our own self-esteem and confidence.

Tip #4: Change What You Can Naturally, and Accept What You Can’t

This is one of the most important tips that helped me to build self-love and confidence. If there is something about yourself that you absolutely don’t want to live with like extra weight for example, then change it. If it will make you happier to be healthier, than become a healthier version of yourself naturally. Make changes in your lifestyle that will make you an overall healthier person. However, make sure that you try to love yourself throughout the process.

It’s not going to be any fun for you if you’re constantly telling yourself that you hate how you look. Instead, tell yourself that you love your body and that’s why you want to make it healthier inside and out. On the other hand, if you can’t naturally change something about yourself, then change your attitude about it. For example, I’ve always hated my nose growing up. I still don’t absolutely love my nose, but I’m not bothered by it because it’s the nose I was born with and there’s nothing I can do about it.

I mean, I could resort to plastic surgery, but I would rather not go under surgery to change the way I look. I think that any surgery whether it is medical or cosmetic, can be dangerous and I personally would rather not assume the risk of something bad happening. Instead, I gave my attitude an adjustment and it turns out that I feel perfectly happy about the way I look without getting plastic surgery. This isn’t to say that you can’t get plastic surgery if you wanted to. I just think that you should consider your options and the risks associated with them.