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Self-esteem - feeling good about yourself

self-esteem; self; esteem; feeling; high; low; honest; believe; confident; respect; encourage; unhappy; victim; miserable; hopeless; compliment; mistake; positive; confidence; self confidence;


Who you are

Be happyLet's start by finding out who you are. An easy and fun way to do this is to write a poem about yourself. No, it's not too hard.

Just fill in the blanks on the one below, and you will have done it. Poetry does not have to rhyme you know, but see if you can make a pattern with the beats.

Do you know what I mean?

Look at this.

1 (Name)
[Beats ]
Sa - rah
 1       1      [2]
2 (adjectives - describing words)  [Beats] brown haired, friend-ly, chee-ky, small
   1        1          1    1      1   1       1    [7]
3 (Brother/sister of)
 1    1      [2]

Line 4 will have 7 beats  - and so you go on.
You can have a pattern of three lines or four, or however many you like, so long as there is a pattern.

Give it a go.

Here's what you write about.

Name ......................
4 adjectives (describing words) ......................
Brother/sister of ......................
Who loves  ......................
Who feels  ......................
Who finds happiness in ......................
Who needs  ......................
Who gives  ......................
Who fears  ......................
Who would like to see  ......................
Who enjoys  ......................
Who likes to  ......................
Who lives  ......................
Who would like to be   ......................

Clap your hands for each syllable as you read it out, and check to see if you have made a pattern.

Well there you go now, you're a poet, and you have thought and written about who you are.

What self-esteem is

high self-esteemWhat else did you find out about yourself?

Did you learn how you feel about yourself?

The way you feel about yourself is called self-esteem.

If you feel confident and good about yourself, that's called high self-esteem, and if you feel bad about yourself and have no confidence, that is called low self-esteem.

What high self-esteem looks like

  • being happy
  • feeling that you're OK as a person
  • high self-esteembelieving in yourself
  • looking forward to a good future
  • enjoying the world around you
  • feeling energetic and hopeful
  • feeling confident that you have the power to change things in your life
  • joining in with others
  • being happy with each success, no matter how small
  • looking for ways to succeed
  • encouraging others
  • respecting others' differences and your own
  • accepting that you will make mistakes and you can learn from them.

 How to get high self-esteem

  • Believe that you are an OK person.
  • Like yourself and make the most of your good points.
  • Join in with others.
  • Be willing to have a go at something new.
  • Set yourself short-term goals that you can reach and be happy about on the way to reaching your main goal.
  • Say thank you when you get a compliment and feel proud of your efforts.
    feel proud of your efforts
  • Work at learning and practising new skills so that you feel confident in your ability.
  • Learn to think for yourself.
  • Keep yourself clean and tidy.
  • Accept responsibility for yourself and your actions.
  • Accept that everyone makes mistakes and use them so that you learn to do better next time.
  • Believe that you deserve to be happy and relaxed.
  • Be happy with who you are. Don't try to be all things to all people.
  • Think about changes in your life as a chance to learn something new, meet new people and learn new skills.
  • Be positive and notice positive things around you.
  • Be a happy and caring person and you will attract people to you.

What low self-esteem looks like

  • low self-esteemfeeling unhappy
  • feeling that you are not as good as others in some way
  • having no confidence in yourself
  • feeling hopeless about the future
  • seeing the bad things in the world around you
  • feeling like a victim
  • feeling miserable
  • feeling tired most of the time
  • lounging about and not doing anything active
  • putting yourself down even when someone is giving you a compliment
  • looking on the worst side of everything
  • having no respect for yourself.

How you get low self-esteem

  • telling yourself how bad, ugly, stupid, etc. you are
  • disliking yourself
  • hanging around by yourself or with people who tease you
  • not keeping yourself clean and tidy
  • taking the blame for everything; not standing up for yourself
  • thinking of a mistake as something that only happens to you
  • believing that you can't change anything
  • not trying to learn or practise new skills
  • believing that life is always bad and the future will be just as bad
  • being negative and not thinking that you can change anything
  • thinking that no-one likes you
  • brooding about all the bad things that have ever happened in your life
  • not doing anything that you might be good at or enjoy
  • listening to and believing people who tell you bad things about yourself.

Of course, we all have our times when we feel good and when we feel bad.

What you can do.
We can make a difference to how we feel about ourselves by making a choice to aim for high self-esteem.

You know how we all have that 'chatter' going on inside our minds all the time? Well, have a good listen to it and see how much of it is positive (the good stuff) and how much is negative (the bad stuff).

Think about how you feel about yourself.

Try recording your thoughts on your phone or computer and then play it back, or:

  • Draw 2 boxes on a piece of paper.
  • Make a tick for every positive thought and a cross for any negative thought.

Be honest with yourself.

Self -esteem is about how you see yourself as a person

It's not about telling yourself and others about how good you are or trying to prove yourself by putting other people down. It's not about putting yourself down and feeling that you are no good.

be happy with who you areMost people have times when they feel bad about themselves, but that's the time to start the positive thinking going and to work out how to learn from mistakes and be happy about the good things that are still happening in their lives.

People who have high self-esteem are not only happy in themselves but are fun to be around, have friends, can be trusted, are full of life and care about themselves and others.

So talk yourself into inviting high self-esteem into your life.

What some kids thought about self-esteem

  • When you're down
    Always tell someone.
    Always, always
    Believe in yourself.
    When you don't feel right
    Keep trying with all your might.
    By Alex
  • Tell yourself you can
    And you could.
    Tell yourself you can't
    And you never would.
    By Sophie

When our family were having problems all sorts of bad things seemed to happen all the time. I felt sad and didn't feel like doing anything. I started to get into trouble at school and had to see the school counsellor. She helped me to see that everything wasn't my fault and that I should look for the good things in my life and work at what I can do well. I am feeling better now and I don't listen to the 'bad' voice in my head.

Dr Kim says

Having high self esteem isn’t about telling everyone how wonderful you are. It’s more about trying your best, realizing that you won’t always succeed but always being willing to have a go. You can feel good that you are a positive person  and others will respect and want to be around you.

 Everyone has bad things happen in his or her life and for a time feels really 'down'. Talk to trusted adults if the 'bad voice' is louder than the 'good voice' in your head. Our topic on Resilience - don't let things get you down' may be helpful.

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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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