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Self-Esteem: Teen Version

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KEY POINTS

  • Self-esteem is how you think and feel about yourself. High self-esteem can help you lead a fuller, more satisfying life. If you have low self-esteem, you may be afraid to try things that could bring you success.
  • To raise your self-esteem, focus on things you can do, things you do well, and things that make you feel proud. Think of yourself in positive terms and remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes. Help others. Feeling like you are making a difference is a great self-esteem builder.

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What is self-esteem?

Self-esteem is how you think and feel about yourself. If you usually like yourself and feel that you deserve good things in life, you have high self-esteem. If you generally dislike yourself or put yourself down, you have low self-esteem.

High self-esteem is important because when you are confident you usually get along better with other people and can get more done. High self-esteem can help you lead a fuller, more satisfying life. If you have low self-esteem, you may:

  • Be afraid to try things that could bring you success
  • Overeat, gamble, drink, or take drugs to make yourself feel better
  • Distrust others and have problems getting along with friends and family

You may have low self-esteem sometimes. For example, you may have lower self-esteem because you feel you have nothing important to do or that things are out of your control. At other times you may have high self-esteem when you reach a goal such as doing well at a job or at school.

How can I tell if I have good self-esteem?

If you agree with these statements, your self-esteem is good:

  • I do not feel I must always please other people or get their approval.
  • I generally like myself.
  • I speak up for myself and feel I have rights.
  • I believe I can be a good person even if I'm not perfect.
  • I do not need to prove that I am better than others.
  • I feel good about myself without praise from others.

If you have low self-esteem, you may:

  • Put yourself down or do not know how to respond when you get a compliment
  • Often feel guilty, even if you know something is not your fault
  • Apologize all the time for everything
  • Believe that you do not deserve things that others think you deserve
  • Do not feel as if you are a good friend, partner, or person
  • Have trouble setting limits or asserting yourself

How can I increase my self-esteem?

Ways to increase self-esteem include:

  • Think of yourself in positive terms such believing you are a kind and caring person. Make a list of things you enjoy and do well. Replace criticism with praise. Be your own best fan. This helps you value yourself more.
  • Focus on things you can do, things you are good at, and things that make you feel proud. Make a list of past successes and review it often.
  • Set goals that are realistic. Make a plan to work toward your goals every day and focus on effort rather than perfection. Give yourself credit for small steps in the right direction. Keep track of your progress and reward yourself when you achieve your goals.
  • Remind yourself that you can make mistakes and still be a good person. Mistakes are just a way to learn what to do differently next time.
  • Help others. Feeling like you are making a difference is a great self-esteem builder.
  • Don't take yourself too seriously or compare yourself to others. Enjoy what you are doing and the people you with whom you spend time.
  • Limit contact with social networking sites. Negative comments on these sites can lead to low self-esteem.
  • Get support. Talk with family and friends. Just talking problems through will often make you feel better. Surround yourself with people who have a positive attitude. Accept compliments without feeling uncomfortable.
  • Take care of your physical health. Try to get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Eat a variety of healthy foods. Limit caffeine. If you smoke, quit. Avoid alcohol and drugs. Stay physically active as advised by your provider.

If you have problems with respecting or liking yourself, talk to your healthcare provider or a therapist. Low self-esteem may be linked to depression or anxiety. Seeing a therapist may help you learn to manage your moods and feelings. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness.

Developed by Change Healthcare.
Pediatric Advisor 2019.4 published by Change Healthcare.
Last modified: 2019-10-28
Last reviewed: 2018-02-15
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
© 2018 Change Healthcare LLC and/or one of its subsidiaries
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