What is self-esteem?

Self-esteem consists of the thoughts and feelings you have about yourself. It’s normal for your self-esteem to change over time as you get older.

It’s also normal for your self-esteem to be different from day to day. For example, on days when you do well on a test or reach a goal, your self-esteem might be high, or healthy. Other days, it can be low, or unhealthy, like if you forgot to turn in your homework.

Why is healthy self-esteem important?

  • Healthy self-esteem can help you feel happier with yourself, with others and with your life. Healthy self-esteem helps you think positive thoughts. It’s important to try to not be your own worst critic or put yourself down. Positive thinking can help you focus more on positives and less on negatives.
  • You can accept and learn from mistakes more easily. Everyone makes mistakes, even if you think someone is perfect. With healthy self-esteem, you can look at mistakes as chances to learn and grow.

How can I boost my self-esteem?

  • Celebrate your accomplishments and achievements! Write down 3 things you do well or that you like about yourself. Tape the note somewhere you’ll see it, like in your bedroom or on the bathroom mirror. Remember this list whenever you feel low.
  • Aim for your own version of success, not perfection. When you set and reach your own personal goals, you will feel good about yourself. No one is perfect and everyone has their own definition of personal success.
  • Treat yourself like you would treat your best friend. Focus on your strengths, give yourself pep talks and be kind to yourself.
  • Don’t be so hard on yourself. No one is perfect and everyone has flaws. Don’t get down on yourself for having flaws or making mistakes. If you feel down about yourself, think of your good qualities or a recent accomplishment.
  • Keep a healthy self-esteem jar or calendar. Write down something you accomplished, did well or like about yourself every day. Whenever you need a self-esteem boost, look over your calendar or read notes from your jar.
  • Exercise! Exercising boosts endorphins, or the feel-good chemicals in your brain. This can help put you in a better mood and relieve stress.
  • Don’t play into negative thoughts. If you find yourself thinking negative thoughts, take a deep breath and remind yourself of something positive about you.
  • Look at mistakes as chances to learn and grow. It’s okay to feel down about a mistake for a little while, but it’s more important to see what you can learn from your mistake. Try not to be hard on yourself and understand that everyone makes mistakes.
  • Do something that makes a difference for others. Volunteer at a place you like, tutor a younger student or become a mentor to younger kids or teens. When you feel like you can make a difference in someone’s life, your self-esteem will get better.

Did you know...?

It’s common and normal for people with low self-esteem to be unaware that they are thinking negatively about themselves. People can’t change their low self-esteem if they don’t know that they’re having negative thoughts.

If you notice yourself having negative thoughts about yourself, take a deep breath in and remind yourself of something positive, like a recent accomplishment or something you like about yourself.

Traits of people with healthy self-esteem

  • Handles positive and negative emotions
  • Acts independently
  • Offers help to others
  • Tries new things
  • Takes on new challenges positively

Traits of people with unhealthy self-esteem

  • Feels unloved and unwanted
  • Feels like he/she has different emotions from others
  • Avoids trying new things
  • Puts down his/her own abilities, accomplishments, and talents

A note for your parents...

You play an important role in your teen’s self-esteem. Your actions and words have can affect how your teen feels about him or herself.

Here are tips to help you boost your teen’s self-esteem:

  • Let your teen know when you’re proud of him/her.
  • Encourage your teen to practice making positive statements about him/herself.
  • Remind your teen that no one is perfect and that everyone makes mistakes. Ask your teen how they learn from his/her mistakes.
  • If your teen has negative thoughts or feels down on him/herself, remind your teen of his/her good qualities or about a recent accomplishment.
  • Be a good role model for healthy self-esteem.
Rev. 8/2016