What is Self Esteem?

Self-esteem is the way you see yourself, also known as ‘self-perception’. Good self-esteem means:

  • accepting yourself
  • understanding that you are only human
  • being a good friend to yourself

Poor self-esteem is the opposite. Characteristics of poor self-esteem include:

  • criticising yourself a lot of the time
  • thinking badly of yourself and comparing yourself to others
  • being overly harsh to yourself or putting yourself down

This isn’t a healthy attitude and it can affect your life in other ways if it gets out of hand.

Why is good self-esteem important?

Good self-esteem can help you in loads of ways. By being kind to yourself (and this is a really important idea) you are more likely to put yourself out there and go for the things you really want in life – like applying for that job in your local supermarket or trying out for a spot on a sports team.

How can you build up good self-esteem?

Start small. Pay attention to how you talk to yourself in your head. Are you putting yourself down? Calling yourself out for things? Turn down the dial on that negative voice and amplify the good things!

Remember (and accept!) the compliments you receive. Register your achievements, no matter how small. Treat yourself. Keep track of your awesomeness. If you catch sight of yourself in a mirror, really notice your best features (like “I really like my cheeky smile” or “That shirt really suits me!’). Every bit helps.

Getting help with poor self-esteem

If you’re finding it hard to be kind to yourself and you’re really down, you might want to consider talking to someone about it.

Getting help at school

Talk to your school counsellor about how you’re feeling. If you don’t know who the counsellor is at your school, consult a teacher about getting help. They will be able to refer you to the right staff member.

Talk to your doctor

Talk to your local doctor about the way you are feeling. They will be able to refer you to a specialist doctor in this field. Read Going to the doctor for more advice.

Get in touch with professionals

Contact a mental health organisation like beyond blue, Kids Helpline or headspace. Each of these organisations have help phone lines and chat rooms with trained professionals waiting to help.

Click here for a list of Support Services.