Questions From Teens Tag

I have low self esteem from past comments made to me. I try not to let them bug me but I can’t help it. Do you have any advice?

Dear Friend,

Let me start by saying that you are not alone! As a counselor and youth minister, I have worked with hundreds of young people who feel awful about themselves. I am often shocked because on the outside they seem so happy and so confident. I recently talked with the Homecoming Queen of a local high school. She revealed to me that she has very low self-esteem and that her apparent happiness is “just a mask.” I was shocked! I mean this was the Homecoming Queen at a large high school…how could she not like herself?!?! I bring this up because I don’t want you feel badly about struggling with self-esteem. I think that many generally happy people are walking around wishing they could tell someone how they really feel. You should be proud of yourself for being open enough to share that with someone! That takes courage, which is an incredible gift!

Dear Paul,

On your retreat, I realized that I wear masks all of the time. It is so bad that I am not even sure who I am any more. What advice can you give me to help me remove my masks?

Dear Friend,

Thanks for writing. I want to let you know that I have asked some of the wisest people I know, including quite a few teenagers who serve on the REAP Team and who have attended our retreats, for practical advice on how to remove masks. Here are some excellent tips –


People in various kinds of recovery groups would tell you that the first step to healing is to admit that you have a problem. I am proud of you that you have done that. I think that everyone wears masks sometimes, by the way – and we need to establish this fact (not so that we go a guilt trip about it) but so that we can begin to remove them. So here are some questions – When, and with whom, do you wear masks? Is it with friends? A certain group or groups of friends? At school? At home? With adults?