Ariana Grande Opens Up About Her Confidence Problem
07/30/2014 AT 07:40 AM EDT
"It's tough to spend some of the most important years of your life in front of so many strangers who want to pick you apart," the "Problem" singer says in the September issue of Seventeen, on newsstands Aug. 5.
"Insecurity has been the hardest thing I've had to overcome. I think everyone my age struggles with that because everyone strives for approval and wants to feel loved."
Grande, 21, found fame as a teen on the Nickelodeon shows Victorious and Sam & Cat. Though she's now collaborating with some of the hottest names in music, from Iggy Azalea to Nicki Minaj, she has faced backlash for her ever-present ponytail and rumored rift with costar Jennette McCurdy.
Grande says she found strength in her grandfather, who died last week. Family is a big priority for the pop star, whose brother Frankie is competing on Big Brother.
However, she also names the estrangement with her father as the toughest thing she's had to deal with to date.
"It's private, but it happened last year," she says. "It took me so long to be okay with it. The thing that got me there was embracing the fact that I am made up of half my dad, and a lot of my traits come from him. So much of me comes from my father, and for so long, I didn't like that about myself. I had to accept that it's okay not to get along with somebody and still love them."
But don't worry, Arianators: She's forgetting the haters and doing better than ever.
"I feel like for the first time in my life, I'm really okay," Grande says. "I used to freak out about everything all the time. I used to be like, 'Oh my God, somebody said this!' Everything used to be such a big deal! But now, I feel I can handle everything that comes my way with a calm energy."