Often it’s easier to see your weaknesses than your strengths. It’s easy to get depressed if you see yourself badly.  And that makes you feel even worse about yourself, so you can get more depressed.  It’s a vicious cycle that’s really hard to break out of.

In fact, low self-esteem can be at the core of many mental health problems. If you’re depressed, common thoughts are things like “I’m unloveable”, “I’m inadequate” or
“I’m damaged or defective”. Common worry thoughts are “this situation is much harder than I can cope with” or “this is dangerous”

There are heaps of reasons why you might have low self-esteem. Maybe you’re being bullied, or have been sick or you’ve experienced some sort of traumatic event. Or perhaps your parents are placing unrealistic pressure on you.

Whatever the reason, with practice you can turn this around.

Here’s some ideas to give your self-esteem a boost:

  • Try and understand what might have caused your negative thoughts
  • See if you can come up with some positives to balance those negative thoughts
  • Spend more time with people that make you feel good
  • Take up some kind of hobby or project that’ll give you a sense of achievement
  • Set yourself a doable goal that’ll make you feel good about yourself when you achieve it
  • Finally, write down the things you like about yourself. That can be hard when you’re feeling shit but everyone has some of these qualities. Which ones do you have even a little of? Think of someone who likes you. Your favourite teacher, your Mum or Dad. What would they say about you?
Creativity
Curiosity
Love of learning
Wisdom
Bravery
Persistence
Kindness
Love/aroha
Appreciation of beauty
Leadership
Forgiveness
Modesty
Self-control
Fairness
Hope/optimism
Humour
Open mindedness
Honesty
Social intelligence
Zest
Teamwork
Prudence
Gratitude
Spirituality

If you know your strengths, you’re halfway there. Keep reminding yourself that you have strengths and you’ll feel better and up for whatever challenges come your way.