Self esteem is a measure of the confidence you have in yourself. When you have healthy self esteem, you feel capable, competent, and worthy of happiness. When you have low self esteem you doubt your abilities and ideas, and often think of yourself as “not good enough.”2

Improving your self esteem can help you form and keep better relationships, manage the ups and downs of life more easily, and become a stronger advocate for yourself.2

What affects your self esteem?

  • Your self esteem can be shaped by many different things:
  • Your own thoughts and beliefs
  • Other people and how they treat you
  • Illness, disability or injury
  • Your cultural or religious background
  • Your social status
  • Messages from magazines, books, radio, TV and the internet2

The company you keep plays a big role in how you see yourself. If you’re constantly told negative messages about yourself, you begin to adopt these words as your inner voice. When you are valued by the people around you, it helps you find value in yourself.

Coping with low self esteem

Here are some concrete steps you can take to help raise your self esteem:

  • Exercise, eat good food, get enough sleep, and make time to do things that make you happy.
  • Dress in clothes you like that make you feel good about yourself.
  • Surround yourself with people who respect you and care about you.
  • Notice when you are thinking negatively about yourself, and replace these thoughts with positive affirmations about yourself.1

It’s also important to know that low self esteem can sometimes be due to depression. Check in with a health professional to be sure there’s not a medical cause for your low self esteem.1


  1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  2. Mayo Clinic