Self esteem is the general opinion that you hold about yourself. It is related to the confidence you have about your own value, worth and beliefs. Having good self-esteem is essential for good mental health. Self-esteem can also be referred to as self-confidence. 


Self-esteem can be shaped by a number of factors, your childhood experiences, your environment and life events. Your beliefs and emotions can influence your self-esteem either positively or negatively. For example, feelings of triumph can promote positive self-esteem whereas feelings of shame can trigger low self-esteem. 


Positive self-esteem


Having good self-esteem can make it easier to make decisions and assert yourself, to show kindness to yourself and to help you move on from past mistakes without too much self-blame. It can help you have positive self beliefs such as you deserving happiness and good things. 


Signs of low self-esteem


Low self-esteem can contribute to mental health issues and how you respond to them but in isolation it is not a mental health condition. Signs you may recognise of low self esteem include hating yourself, believing you are worthless, feelings of hopelessness or despair. If these feelings persist it could lead to you developing issues with your mental health or struggling with depression and/or anxiety. 


What can help increase low self-esteem?


The way you speak to yourself matters. As a test, write down an example of a comment you say to yourself and read it aloud. Would you speak the same way to a friend? Practising positive self-talk is a way of improving your self-esteem.


Think about how you spend your time,do you have a hobby you enjoy that helps you feel good? Could you spend more time doing things you enjoy and that make you happy?


Put boundaries in place, don't be afraid to say no to things you don't want to do. 


Finally, remember ‘Comparison is the thief of joy'. Do you compare yourself and your life to others? Are you making realistic comparisons? It is likely that you are not, as people generally only share what they feel comfortable with and hide what they don't. Social media can be positive but remember, what you see on there does not always match reality. Are you comparing yourself to someone else's edited highlights? Could taking a step back from social media help you to work on your self-esteem.


If low-self esteem persists it can lead to problems. Have you thought about talking therapy as a way of understanding yourself, building coping strategies and improving your wellbeing? If this resonates with you please get in touch to discuss how therapy could support you to better manage this.