Self esteem is the opinion you have of yourself. This is not constant. Your self esteem can go up and down depending on the things that are happening in your life.
A major influence on self esteem is the type of childhood you had. The relationships you've had with your parents, and others, and the amount of praise and encouragement you received from them will have had a big effect.
Any type of abusive relationship, whether it is physical or psychological abuse, will invariably have an impact on a person's self esteem.
- Don't be so hard on yourself
Try not to focus on things that have happened or that you might have done wrong in the past. Holding onto guilt and regret over long periods doesn't achieve anything. Try to let go of these feelings, rather than criticising yourself and being negative about yourself.
- Be positive
Try to focus as much as possible on your achievements, and your talents, even if they're small. If you're good at something, keep doing it, and try to forgot about what you perceive are your weaknesses. Also try to stretch yourself by giving yourself new challenges and goals, so that you can feel a sense of achievement when you reach them.
It can also be helpful to have a positive role model, someone whose qualities you admire. Surround yourself with positive people, and try to enjoy a social life with people who make you feel good about yourself.
- Reward yourself
A good way to feel better about yourself is to set achievable goals, and then reward yourself when you reach them.
Treat yourself to things you really enjoy and make you feel good, like a massage or a nice meal. Acknowledge that you deserve to be good to yourself.
- Your health
Your body and mind are very closely linked and so one will affect the other. So if you're sick or run-down you are less likely to feel good about yourself.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet, but don't beat yourself up if you don't always stick to it. Also, try to exercise regularly, and take up activities that help you relax - yoga, pilates and meditation are good for this.
Remember, high self esteem doesn't just happen automatically. But by staying positive, and nurturing yourself, you can end up feeling great about who you are. Good luck!