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What Is Self-Esteem?

Self-esteem means having a good opinion of yourself and feeling good about yourself as a person.

People with self-esteem:

Low self-esteem means having a lower opinion of yourself, and feeling inadequate, inferior, or not deserving of good things. People with low self-esteem:

Having self-esteem matters. It can affect almost everything we do. Self-esteem helps us have good relationships with others, gives us the confidence to try new things, and helps us succeed. Low self-esteem holds us back and interferes with our relationships, success, and happiness.

Where Does Self-Esteem Come From?

Self-esteem is the sum of our own ideas, opinions, and feelings about ourselves. Certain things can influence how we learn to think and feel about ourselves, including:

What If My Self-Esteem Is Low?

What if your self-esteem is less than it could be? Can you improve it? Yes!

Because self-esteem is a product of your own thoughts and opinions, it is something you can build. It takes effort and practice, but you can train yourself to think in more positive and truthful ways about yourself. You can develop more positive opinions and feelings about yourself.

Start by noticing your inner voice. Is it too critical? Are you too hard on yourself? Pay attention to what you expect from yourself. Replace a need for perfection with an effort to do your best.

Try to be kinder and more accepting of yourself. Allow yourself to feel good about the things you do accomplish, instead of focusing on what you haven't yet accomplished. Let thinking and feeling good about yourself become a daily healthy habit, like brushing your teeth, exercising, eating right, or getting a good night's sleep.

Reviewed by: D'Arcy Lyness, PhD
Date reviewed: April 2015

Note: All information on TeensHealth® is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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