BUILDING SELF-Esteem

Self-esteem is confidence in one’s own worth or abilities; self-respect. Self-esteem is your opinion of yourself. People with healthy self-esteem like themselves and value their achievements. While everyone lacks confidence occasionally, people with low self-esteem feel unhappy or unsatisfied with themselves most of the time.

Giving is one the best ways to build self-esteem. Tutor a classmate, help clean up your neighborhood, walk for a good cause. Help out at home or at school. Make it a habit to be kind and fair. Do things that make you proud of the kind of person you are. When you do things that make a difference (even a small one) your self-esteem will grow.

Parents, teachers, and others. The people in our lives can affect how we feel about ourselves. When they focus on what’s good about us, we feel good about ourselves. When they are patient when we make mistakes, we learn to accept ourselves. When we have friends and get along, we feel liked.

But if adults scold more than they praise, it’s hard to feel good about yourself. Bullying and mean teasing by siblings or peers can hurt self-esteem, too. Harsh words can stick, and become part of how you think about yourself. Luckily, it doesn’t have to stay that way.

The voice in your own head. The things you say to yourself play a big part in how you feel about yourself. Thinking, “I’m such a loser” or “I’ll never make friends,” hurts your self-esteem.

There are other ways to think about the same things. “I didn’t win this time — but maybe next time.” “Maybe I can make some friends.” That voice is more hopeful. It helps you feel OK. And it could turn out to be true.

Sometimes, the voice in our head is based on harsh words others have said. Or on bad times we have faced. Sometimes, the voice is just us being hard on ourselves. But we can change the voice in our own head. We can learn to think better of ourselves.

Learning to do things. We feel good when we learn to read, add, draw, or build. Play a sport, play music, write an essay, ride a bike. Set the table, wash the car. Help a friend, walk the dog. Each thing you learn and do is a chance to feel good about yourself. Step back and look what you can do. Let yourself feel happy with it.

But sometimes we’re too hard on ourselves. We don’t accept that what we do is good enough. If we think, “It’s not really any good,” “It’s not perfect,” or “I can’t do it well enough,” we miss the chance to build self-esteem.

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