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Self-esteem is the feeling we have about ourselves. It’s the way we feel about the person we are, about the things we feel we are good at and about the things that we find challenging. Self-esteem starts in our mind and it can influence the way we see our value and worth in the world.

What is good self-esteem?

A person with good self-esteem is more likely to think of themselves in positive ways, have an optimistic outlook and the ability to manage and overcome difficult situations. Everyone’s self-esteem can fluctuate and change as we go through different challenges – such as starting a new school, family difficulties, and relationships with friends.

What can affect our self-esteem?

Lots of things can have an impact on our self-esteem and these things will be different from person to person. Messages we get from our parents, friends, teachers, brothers and sisters, and from TV and the media can be both positive and negative. The messages we think are negative are often the ones that lower our self-esteem. Some young people develop unrealistic and impossible expectations of themselves. When these expectations become harder and harder to achieve, this has a negative impact on self-esteem.

What can help?

  • Don’t bottle things up, talk to someone you trust
  • Use social media wisely, don’t believe everything you see
  • Practise positive self-talk. This is a tool that challenges the negative dialogue  that we can sometimes experience. Read more about positive self talk in the article Positive Self Talk
  • Listen to music that helps you feel more upbeat
  • Look after your physical health, try to eat healthily and exercise
  • Get involved with a group,  being with other people with similar interests is a great way to build confidence, self-esteem and establish friendships
  • Remind yourself every day of the things you are good at and that you appreciate about yourself
  • Read the Young Minds article Six Ways You Can Boost Your Self Esteem

Getting More Help

If you feel that your self-esteem is impacting on your day to day life, then it’s important that you speak to someone that you trust; this might be family and friends, or a teacher, mentor or school counsellor or your GP. If you find it difficult to talk about how you are feeling, you could write them a letter or send them a text. Support is also available through Childline, Compass Phoenix and Recovery College Online.


Childline provides a free and confidential telephone service for children and young people up to the age of 19.

Read Childline’s advice on looking after your body.

Visit Childline website Call 0800 1111


Compass Phoenix is a free, confidential health and wellbeing service for children and young people between the ages of 5-19.

Visit Compass Phoenix website Call 0800 008 7452

Recovery College Online

The Recovery College Online provides a range of online educational courses and resources to people with mental illness.

Visit Recovery College Online website

Getting Urgent Help

If you’ve seriously injured yourself or taken an overdose call 999 or get immediate medical advice from NHS 111.

If you are in a crisis and feel like you can’t cope, speak to somebody straight away. Search below for help or see the Urgent Help page for contact details for the North Yorkshire single point of access Crisis Service.

Some things you might find useful

Bodycons Podcast

A feelgood podcast for anyone working on loving themselves and their bodies. The podcast explores a range of issues related to our bodies including masculunity, diet culture, the health insustry and much much more.

Visit Bodycons website

Young Minds

Young Minds are the UK’s leading charity fighting for children and young people’s mental health. Read more about their advice on struggling with body image.

Visit Young Minds website

Body confidence

Interactive site with tips, videos, quizzes, celeb stories and more to help boost your body confidence.

Visit Rise Above website

This Girl Can

National campaign to inspire girls and women to get active, no matter how well they do it, how they look or even how red their face gets!

Visit This Girl Can website

Dealing with low self-esteem

Ideas to boost your self esteem from NHS Moodzone.

Visit NHS website

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