Our self-esteem is how we value and perceive ourselves. When we have healthy self-esteem, we tend to feel positive about ourselves and about life in general. It makes us able to deal with life’s ups and downs better. When our self-esteem is low, we tend to see ourselves and our life in a more negative and critical light. We also feel less able to take on the challenges life throws at us. Living with low self-esteem can harm your mental health, leading to problems such as depression and anxiety. You may also develop unhelpful habits, such as smoking and drinking too much, as a way of coping.
Low self-esteem often begins in childhood. Teachers, friends, siblings, parents, and even the media give us lots of messages – both positive and negative - but for some reason, the message that you are not good enough sticks. Stress and difficult life events, such as serious illness or a bereavement, can also affect self-esteem.