Grow a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come

– Chinese Proverb

On the surface, our young people have more opportunities than any generation before them. Yet all too often, this brings the burden of expectations. Those expectations may be those of parents, teachers and peer group; but all too often they are a young person’s own expectations of themselves – i.e. conditions of self-esteem.

Self-worth, on the other hand, lays the foundation for many benefits of particular value in early life, such as:

  1. Resilience: the ability to bounce back from disappointments, particularly expectations of yourself;
  2. To feel free to explore and find your own way;
  3. To choose a career based on your values, not on your exam results;
  4. To make requests and ask for meetings; knowing you have an innate right to be curious about anything and to approach anyone;
  5. To be loyal to yourself, even when other people let you down or reject you;
  6. To experience lightness and joy, particularly in the face of uncertainty;
  7. To have more energy and productivity: the capacity to get started and do stuff;
  8. The ability to deal with ambiguity and complexity;
  9. To have honest conversations… but at the same time to choose your battles;
  10. To say Yes and No, without feeling you always have to explain yourself;
  11. To listen to feedback, with the freedom to choose what you take on board (and from whom);
  12. To make decisions (or postpone decisions) without self-reproach;
  13. To set boundaries;
  14. To resist those who seek to manipulate or take advantage of you;
  15. To be a friend to yourself, even when lonely or without friends;
  16. To dream, without the dream becoming a tyrant;
  17. To ask for help or support;
  18. To try new things or activities, without the obligation to be brilliant at them;
  19. To take care of yourself, as somebody worth taking care of;
  20. To make time and space for creativity and development;
  21. To detach (without drama) from people who bring you down;
  22. To learn from people you find inspiring;
  23. To make time for rest and play;
  24. To laugh, dance, run, sing… whatever brings you joy;
  25. To enjoy your youth and the beauty of the world.