Have you seen The CW show “Gossip Girl,” based on Cecily von Ziegesar’s popular young adult novels? With just one episode, it is apparent that every teen (and adult) character in the show is afraid to be truly known. They hide the reality of their lives and feelings behind the mask of apparently perfect, privileged lives. No one knows how badly the others are hurting. Even girls who are supposedly best friends hold deep secrets and hostility toward each other. Everyone uses the others to get what they want. Though they feign happiness, in one telling scene a teen boy admits to another, “Happiness does not seem to be on the menu.” While the characters may fool each other, it is clear to the viewer that they are all alone and struggling in similar ways.

If you are anything like me, you are asking, why do so many people struggle this way? How does it happen and— even more importantly—how can we change?

Social media, with the endless competition and comparisons it encourages, intensifies our struggle with self-esteem or, as I prefer to call it, our sense of our own worth. But our problems didn’t start with social media or the culture we live in. And, while eliminating social media or isolating ourselves from our surroundings may lessen the intensity of our negative self-talk, it won’t solve the struggles we have at the heart level, the identity level, or the “Who am I and what am I worth?” level.

Without realizing it, we tie our worth to our appearance and performance. How we feel about ourselves rises and falls, based on how we look, how well we do (or don’t do) at any given task, and how we think others perceive us. So when we think we look good, feel good, and perform well compared to those around us, we feel better about ourselves. But when we assume that everyone else is doing better than we are, we feel as if our value is diminished.

  • Wouldn’t it be nice to view someone else’s post without it affecting your mood?
  • Do you think it’s possible to feel genuinely happy, not threatened, when you read about another’s accomplishments?
  • Is it possible for the twinge of jealousy not to bubble up inside you when your friend gets compliments for how gorgeous she looks?
  • What would it take to be so secure that other people’s looks have no impact on you?
  • Can you imagine going through life feeling at peace with who you are?


Maybe you can’t right now, or maybe you do feel okay today, but you fear that the security is fleeting. I hope you will see that, no matter what your unique situation, back story, or struggles, you can find rest in who you are and know your infinite value and true identity in Christ.


How do you identify with the information compiled in the survey?

How does it help to hear that other teens feel alone the way you do? If it does not help, why?

Why do you think people don’t talk about their struggles or feelings? Are you able to confide in a friend about your struggles or feelings? Why or why not?

Why do you think we all have these struggles?

Does reading this give you hope that you can live differently?



Read the verses below to reflect on the emptiness of what we look to for significance and “life,” compared to the true hope we have for something better.

Job 15:31 | Ecclesiastes 2:1–11 | Isaiah 57:13 | 1 Peter 1:3–4

Excerpted from Face Time © 2017 by Kristen Hatton.  Used by permission of New Growth Press.  May not be reproduced without prior written permission. To purchase this and other helpful resources, please visit www.newgrowthpress.com


Related Posts:

The Comparison Dilemma

Teens and the Comparison Game


Written by Kristen Hatton

Kristen Hatton

Kristen Hatton is the author of Face Time: Your Identity in a Selfie World for teen girls and the teen devotional Get Your Story Straight. Kristen discovered her passion for teaching, speaking and writing about grace and growth in the gospel through many years of leading a teen girls’ Bible study. She resides in Edmond, Oklahoma, with her pastor husband and they have three teenagers. To learn more visit www.kristenhatton.com.