What is self-esteem?

We use the phrase self-esteem to talk about the beliefs you have about yourself – what you think about the type of person you are, your abilities, the positive and negative things about you and what you expect for your future.

If you have healthy self-esteem, your beliefs about yourself will generally be positive. You may experience difficult times in your life, but you will generally be able to deal with these without them having too much of a long-term negative impact on you.

If you have low self-esteem, your beliefs about yourself will often be negative. You will tend to focus on your weaknesses or mistakes that you have made, and may find it hard to recognise the positive parts of your personality. You may also blame yourself for any difficulties or failures that you have.

“People think I am confident because I can address a room full of people. The reality is that I spend most of my time thinking that I’m not good enough. If I give a speech, I spend the next few days thinking about all the mistakes I made.”

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