Self-esteem is your overall opinion of yourself — how you feel about your abilities and limitations. When you have healthy self-esteem, you feel good about yourself and see yourself as deserving the respect of others. When you have low self-esteem, you put little value on your opinions and ideas. You might constantly worry that you aren’t good enough.

Low Self-esteem

We all have times when we lack confidence and do not feel good about ourselves.

If you receive mostly negative feedback and are often criticized, teased or devalued by others, you’re more likely to struggle with poor self-esteem. But when low self-esteem becomes a long-term problem, it can have a harmful effect on our mental health and our day-to-day lives.

When our self-esteem is low, we tend to see ourselves and our life in a more negative and critical light. We also feel less able to take on the challenges that life throws at us. Stress and difficult life events, such as serious illness or a bereavement, can have a negative effect on self-esteem.

Living with low self-esteem can harm your mental health and lead to problems such as depression and anxiety.

You may also develop unhelpful habits, such as smoking and drinking too much, as a way of coping.

Healthy Self-esteem

To boost your self-esteem, you need to identify the negative beliefs you have about yourself. Start to note these negative thoughts and write them on a piece of paper or in a diary

Write down other positive things about yourself. Also write some good things that other people say about you. Aim to have at least 5 positive things on your list and add to it regularly. Then put your list somewhere you can see it. That way, you can keep reminding yourself that you’re OK.

Other ways to improve low self-esteem

1 Recognised what you’re good at.

2 Build positive relationships

3 Give yourself a challenge

4 Start saying “no”

5 Be kind to yourself

Self-esteem affects virtually every facet of your life. Maintaining a healthy, realistic view of yourself isn’t about blowing your own horn. It’s about learning to like and respect yourself — faults and all.