What Is Self-Esteem? Everyone has one person who knows exactly how they feel. That person is always there for you, no matter what. You can’t escape the feelings and opinions of this person because this person, who knows you better than anyone else, is you. Self-esteem is how you view yourself. Having high self-esteem means feeling good about yourself without being arrogant. Healthy self-esteem comes from having a balanced perspective. To find this balance, start by judging yourself less harshly. At the same time, try not to feel superior to others. The goal is to be comfortable with who you are right now, while also being open to improving yourself. The path to better self-esteem starts with liking yourself. Imagine you are the kindest possible person. You do not harm others. You are forgiving and compassionate. You also take a stand when you see something happening that is wrong, like another teen being bullied. Take your vision of that imagined super-kind person, and apply it to yourself. Do your best to become that person, and treat yourself the way that person would treat you. Practical Tip: Do you look in the mirror and judge yourself? Almost every person does this. To improve your self-esteem, put sticky notes on the side of the mirror, with positive affirmations, such as “You look terrific!” “You feel great!” “Don’t worry, be happy!” Force yourself to smile at yourself each time you look in the mirror. At first, this may feel silly. Do it anyway, and soon you will feel the power of positive thinking. Am I the Only One Who Feels This Way? Growing up and dealing with the world can be confusing and frustrating. It is quite common for feelings of self-doubt to come up. Our minds can turn very negative when we least expect it. Thoughts arise that make us feel like we are the only ones in the world who can possibly feel the way we are feeling.

14 Love Makes a Family • Friends, Family, and Significant Others

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