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Self-esteem is about believing that you innately have worth and having patience with yourself. Recognizing your unique talents, personality traits, and beauty is very healthy. It can motivate you to try new things and challenge yourself to succeed.
If you suffer from low self-esteem, you’re not alone. Many people struggle to feel positive about themselves, though no one is born with that feeling. Instead, it’s the result of negative experiences during childhood or at other points in life, such as excessive criticism, feeling “different,” or the end of a significant relationship.
How you recover from these has an impact on self-esteem. Here are some tips for boosting, and maintaining, good feelings about yourself:
Find positive people.
The world is filled with unrealistic standards, and judging yourself based on these is a recipe for disaster. If your friends or family have the tendency to criticize (you or themselves), look to build relationships with people who confirm and value your unique qualities.
Repeat daily affirmations.
Spend some time identifying the things about yourself that you like and appreciate—such as your talents, favorite physical features, compassion, or academic strengths. Now translate this list into statements you can review on a regular basis. Research indicates that changing our thought patterns can change our behavior. Affirmations can make you feel better about yourself, or help you feel connected to something larger than yourself (which can lift you out of negative thoughts). Post your affirmations in a place where you will see them often, such as on a bathroom mirror.
Learn something new.
Nothing builds self-esteem like accomplishment. Take classes or join a group or activity relating to things you’d like to learn or improve. These small steps can have a big impact on how you feel. Mentoring others is another powerful way to increase your sense of self-worth.
If negative feelings are affecting your relationships and activities, contact your school’s counseling center or another trusted resource.
Get help or find out more
Centre for Clinical Interventions, Improving Self-Esteem
National Association for Self-Esteem
University of California, Berkeley, Greater Good Science Center