Pursuit of Happiness


How to overcome low self-esteem

By: Mariana C

Self-esteem is how a person feels about themselves and what they do. Someone with positive self-esteem will generally approach things thinking they are a good person who deserves love and support and can succeed in life. Someone with low or negative self-esteem will generally think they are not good at things, don’t deserve love or support and that situation will work out badly for them.

Children and young people with high self-esteem:

▪Have a positive image of themselves

▪Are confident

▪Can make friends easily and are not anxious with new people

▪Can play in groups or on their own

▪Will try and solve problems on their own, but if not able to will ask for help

▪Can be proud of their achievements

▪Can admit mistakes and learn from them

▪Will try new things and adapt to change.

Children with low self-esteem:

▪Have a negative image of themselves and may feel bad, ugly or unlikeable

▪Lack confidence

▪Find it hard to make and keep friendships, and may feel victimized by others

▪Tend to avoid new things and find change hard

▪Can’t deal well with failure.

▪Tend to put them down.

▪Are not proud of what they achieve and always think they could have done better.

▪Are constantly comparing themselves to their peers in a negative way.

Most children will have dips in self-esteem as they go through different stages or challenges in life. Starting a new school, moving house, changes in the family and many other factors can affect a child’s confidence but with support from parents and other adults they usually get through this.

However, some children seem to have low self-esteem from an early age. This may be partly down to their personalities since it is possible for some people naturally have a more negative outlook on life than others. Or they may have had an unsettled time as a baby or toddler, due to health problems, family difficulties or having a parent who was depressed or preoccupied.

Other children develop low self-esteem following a difficult time such as divorce, bereavement or being bullied or abused, and can’t bounce back.

Teenagers with low self-esteem can find it very hard to cope with pressures from school, peers, and society. They can find it very stressful and feel they are expected to achieve good grades, look a certain way and be successful or popular.

Children and young people with low self-esteem are more at risk of developing depression, anxiety, self-harming  and other mental health problems as they grow up, and will often find the ups and downs of life in general harder to get through.

To build self-confidence and overcome low self-esteem is to change how we feel emotionally about ourselves. To change our emotion requires changing two different core beliefs about self-image. The first core belief is obvious. It is the belief that we are not good enough. The second core belief to change is the image of success that we feel we should be. Changing this belief is contrary to logic, but is a must if we are to overcome insecurity and raise our self-esteem.

Self-esteem is also independent of outcome. It does not assure accomplishment. People who feel confident about performing well are still capable of making misunderstandings, miscalculations, and mistakes. Strong self-esteem can lead a person to failure as well as to success and I believe that as teenagers, we should be confident in who we are and that no one should treat us poorly.


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