Self-esteem is the opinion you have of yourself. When you have healthy self-esteem, you tend to think positively about yourself and optimistically about life in general. People with healthy self-esteem know that they are valuable and will be able to name at least some of their positive qualities, such as “I am a good friend”, “I am kind”, “I am honest,” or “I am a good father.”

When you have low self-esteem, you tend to see yourself, the world, and your future more negatively and critically. You might feel anxious, sad, down, or unmotivated.  You may doubt whether you can rise to challenges when you encounter them. You might talk to yourself harshly in your mind, telling yourself things like “You’re stupid,” “You’ll never manage this,” or “I don’t amount to anything.”Diagram from Psychology tools website

At the center of low self-esteem are the negative beliefs and opinions you hold about yourself. Nobody is born with beliefs like this – they develop due to the experiences you have throughout your life. How other people treat you, particularly when you are growing up, can greatly affect how you see yourself. Experiences that make you more likely to develop low self-esteem include:

• Experiences such as punishment, abuse, or neglect. 
• Insufficient warmth, affection, praise, love, or encouragement.
• Failure to meet other people’s expectations. 
• Inability to fit in with your peer group. 

*Information from Psychology Tools Website.

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