Self-Esteem - Irum, one of our Youth Ambassadors / by Richard Bentley

The term self-esteem refers to the way we think about ourselves and the confidence we have in our own worth or abilities.

I think everyone goes through periods in their lives where they have low self-esteem. It's not surprising really, looking at the way our society is at the moment. We're always striving for something more than what we have, setting ourselves higher and higher standards, aiming for sometimes unattainable targets. We compare ourselves to everyone else, whether it be for our appearance, achievements or talents, forgetting that we are all individuals and fabulous in our own way.

Having low self-esteem can cause negative thinking patterns and so can lead to mental health problems such as depression or anxiety, but also general stress and a feeling of not being good enough. This can affect your relationships, school/work life and lifestyle as you may start using unhealthy coping mechanisms such as smoking or drinking to deal with those horrible feelings.

Thinking about yourself positively makes you feel much happier generally. This is why I think it's important to try to improve your self-esteem. Here are some suggestions on how to go about that:

It can take some time for self-esteem to improve but it is definitely possible. You are wonderful and someone out there thinks you are worth the world.

  • Help others
  • Get a job
  • Spend more time on your hobbies/things you enjoy
  • Surround yourself with people who make you feel good about yourself
  • Get our of/work on relationships that make you feel bad about yourself
  • Be kind to yourself and remember that you are worthy of life and happiness
  • Talk to people about how you're feeling
  • Make sure your goals are always realistic and achievable 
  • Identify and challenge your negative beliefs - use evidence to prove to yourself that your negative beliefs are untrue
  • Every day/week, write a list of 5 things you like about yourself, or things you have done well
  • Try not to compare yourself to others and remember everyone's situation is different
  • Notice when you are criticising yourself and ask whether or not you'd talk to a friend like that
  • Exercise
  • Look after your physical health

It can take some time for self-esteem to improve but it is definitely possible. You are wonderful and someone out there thinks you are worth the world.

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