Back to School Volume 2

Self Esteem

Self-Esteem is not just how we value ourselves, it also is how much we trust ourselves. Our self-esteem is based on beliefs about ourselves. If we learn not to be confident in ourselves, there can be negative consequences to our mental health.  How can a lack of self confidence or chronically low self-esteem affect us?

Reduce our ability to try new things. If you are worried about failing, you likely won’t attempt something new.

Reduce our ability to make decisions. If we are worried about things not working out or failing, we will likely wait until we run out of options.

Reduced ability to recognize our strengths. If we don’t think we have the capability, we will likely believe it too.

How we value ourselves is based on our thoughts of who we have been and what we think we are capable of. If we don’t think we are good enough, we won’t act like it either.

Why is self esteem important:

Research shows higher self esteem leads to positive mental health outcomes including increased ability to cope with stress, reduced feelings of anxiety and life pressures, and improved capabilities in handling adversity.  Some people believe that having high self-esteem means that they are arrogant. This isn’t necessarily true; here are some differences:



Arrogance is about thinking you are above others. You don’t think about how your behaviors or actions affect others.  You consider yourself more important than others and think your opinions matter more than others.

Self Confidence

Self Confidence

Self Confidence indicates trust in yourself to make good decisions.  You believe in yourself to reach your goals and to overcome obstacles.

So, how do we work on building our self-esteem, or maintain it?

You are what you think! This forms through repetition. If we constantly find ourselves having negative thoughts about ourselves, we eventually start to believe it. Practice transforming negative thoughts into positive ones.

Create Vision Boards of what you want in your life.  Imagining it can help with planning and action.

Implement Gratitude. Notice what is there already versus always focusing on what is missing.  Consider trying an exercise listing things you are grateful for starting with each letter of the alphabet.

Stop comparing yourself to others.  Context is important in things being equal. It is impossible to know all the variables outside of your control.  Focus on you and what you can do.

Alex Young, Intern

Alex Young is a Graduate Student Intern with the Mindly Group studying Mental Health Counseling. If you are interested in joining this group or want to learn more about Alex click here.