Believe in yourself
It’s common to suffer from low self-esteem at some point in your life, but you can do things to make it better. Help boost your wellbeing by trying these seven steps.
Self-esteem is how we see and feel about ourselves. Many people will have low self-esteem at some point in their lives.
It can be caused by a number of things - comparing yourself to your friends, problems with family, problems at school, or problems with your health. Sometimes it passes on its own, but you can take steps to help yourself feel better.
Step 1: Understand why you focus on negatives
- What negative things do you think about yourself?
- When did you start thinking these things?
- What happened to make you think this way?
Step 2: Challenge the negative feelings
Ask yourself: Is there another way of looking at things? What advice would you give to a friend who was having similar negative feelings? Remind yourself of things that have happened which prove that these negative thoughts aren’t true. Maybe the thing that caused those feelings has stopped.
Try writing down a list of these things to keep and bring out next time you feel low.
Step 3: Focus on the positives
Write down your best feature, the last time you received a compliment, the last time you did something for someone that made you feel good. These might seem like small things, but it is important to recognise all the good things about you, and the reasons why people appreciate you for being who you are.
Talking to your 'inner child' can help you recognise the good things about yourself. Watch the video below to understand how this works:
For another way to practise being kind to yourself, have a look t our #5YearOldSelfie campaign.
Step 4: Find the right people
How do the people around you make you feel?
Spend more time with the ones who make you feel good, and less with the ones who don't make you feel confident about yourself, or spend a lot of time criticising others.
Step 5: Get active
Think about doing something you enjoy – or trying something new. If you already have a hobby, do it more often. But remember, you don’t have to keep plugging away at a hobby you don’t enjoy, just because you think you have to.
Step 6: Set yourself some goals
Choose something you know you can already do and challenge yourself - but keep your goals realistic. Achievements can give you a positive feeling and remind you just how much you are capable of.
Step 7: Tell someone
If you’re really struggling with negative feelings about yourself, talk to someone you trust, like a family member, teacher or school nurse.
You can also talk to your GP who will be able to tell you what sort of support might be available to you in your area.
Tips from our Activists
Our Activists and other young people share their tips on what has helped them feel better about themselves:
"When I am struggling with my self-esteem, I will do something that I love and know that I’m good at. It might be painting or drawing - anything that allows me to express myself without fear of judgement from anyone."
"Listening to uplifting music and songs about self-love helps me when I’m feeling low." Abbey
"When I am struggling with low self-esteem, I look back at letters, cards or messages from friends and family to remind myself of the positive characteristics that they see in me." Eleanor
"I write down my worries and put them into a jar. I then go through them with someone every so often to see if they are still bothering me." Hannah
"Talking to friends and family. You don’t have to tell them how you’re feeling, but they can help you feel better about yourself. There are certain people that cheer me up just seeing them."Jaik
It’s not always easy talking to someone you know, or talking face to face. Below are some helplines and services you might find useful.
YoungMinds Crisis Messenger
Provides free, 24/7 text support for young people across the UK experiencing a mental health crisis.
All texts are answered by trained volunteers, with support from experienced clinical supervisors.
Texts are free from EE, O2, Vodafone, 3, Virgin Mobile, BT Mobile, GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile and Telecom Plus.
Texts can be anonymous, but if the volunteer believes you are at immediate risk of harm, they may share your details with people who can provide support.
Text: YM to 85258
Opening times: 24/7
If you’re under 19 you can confidentially call, chat online or email about any problem big or small.
Can provide a BSL interpreter if you are deaf or hearing-impaired.
Hosts online message boards where you can share your experiences, have fun and get support from other young people in similar situations.
Phone: 0800 1111
Opening times: 9am - midnight, 365 days a year