Your self-esteem is the way you look at or perceive yourself. If you have healthy self-esteem, it means that you like yourself and you believe that you are just as cool as everyone else. If you have low self-esteem, it means that you believe that you’re inferior to others. People who have low self-esteem tend to focus on what they believe are their shortcomings or ignore their strengths and achievements.
Building healthy self-esteem
•Accept yourself. Every one of us has faults and weaknesses—this is part of being human. The key to good self-esteem is to feel good about yourself even if you’re not perfect.
•Avoid labeling yourself. When you don’t reach a goal or perform as well as you hoped, it’s easy to label yourself as ”bad” in some way. Watch the words you say, they could brainwash you.
•Set goals. Although it’s important to practice self-acceptance, sometimes it’s helpful to set goals for things that you’d like to achieve or to change things that you aren’t happy with.
•Be objective about situations. When you personalize an event or situation, you take responsibility for things that aren’t your fault, or you blame yourself for negative outcomes without taking all factors into account.
•Avoid comparisons. The reality is that people have different strengths and weaknesses. Focus on your strengths, have realistic expectations of the things that you could change or improve, and most importantly, avoid comparing yourself to others.
•Sometimes parents compare siblings. If this happens to you, you might try asking your parents to stop, letting them know how this makes you feel.
Acknowledgment: This fact sheet was originally developed by youth and staff at ReachOut.com, a website that helps teens get through tough times.