Self-esteem might sound pretty complicated, but not if you break it into two words. Let's take a look at the word esteem first. Esteem (say: ehs-teem) is a fancy word for valuing someone or something or thinking that someone or something is important.

For example, if you really admire your friend's dad because of all his great work at the volunteer fire department, it means you hold him in high esteem. Or the special trophy for the MVP of a team is often called "an esteemed trophy." This means the trophy is an important accomplishment.

And self means, well, yourself! So when you put the two words together to make the term self-esteem, it's easier to see what self-esteem is. It's how much you value yourself and how important you think you are. It's how you see yourself and how you feel about your accomplishments.

Why self-esteem is so important?

Self-esteem isn't like a cool pair of sneakers, where it would be really awesome to have them, but you don't have to have them. A Teen Has To Have Self-Esteem! PERIOD!

Good self-esteem is important because it helps you to hold your head high and feel proud of your accomplishments and abilities. It gives you the courage to try new challenges and the power to believe in yourself. It allows you to respect yourself - even when you make mistakes. And when you respect yourself, adults and other teens usually respect you, too.

Having good self-esteem is also the ticket to making good choices about Your Mind and Body! Especially if you are overweight! If you think you're important, you'll be less likely to follow the crowd if your friends are doing something dumb or dangerous. If you have good self-esteem, you know that you're smart enough to make your own decisions.

How to get self-esteem!

When a baby is born, he doesn't see himself in a good way or a bad way. He doesn't think, "I'm great!" when he lets out a big, burb or "Oh, no, this diaper makes my legs look weird!" when he sees himself in a mirror. Instead, people around the baby help him develop his self-esteem as he grows.

At first, only a baby's family members might help him develop good self-esteem. They might encourage the baby when he tries to walk or praise him when he eats his cereal. These positive words and actions teach him to see himself as important and feel good about himself.

As a kid gets older (and perhaps starts to get pimples…), many other people come into his life who can help him develop his self-esteem, such as teachers, coaches, friends, teammates, and classmates. They can help him learn things and cheer him on. They can help him figure out how to do things for himself and take notice of his good qualities.

They can believe in him and encourage him try again when he doesn't do something right. These types of people and activities help kids develop good self-esteem - and become teens who see themselves in a positive way, and they feel proud of themselves and what they are able to do.

A little on low self-esteem!

Maybe you know a teen who has low self-esteem and doesn't think very highly of himself or seems to criticize himself too much. Or maybe you have low self-esteem and you don't always feel very good about yourself or don't think you're very important.

Of course it's OK to have ups and downs, but having low self-esteem isn't OK. Feeling like you're not important can make you sad and can keep you from trying new things. It can keep you from making friends or hurt your school performance.

Having self-esteem is also a very big part of growing up; as you get older and face tough decisions - especially under peer pressure - the more self-esteem you have, the better. So go ahead and to the bookstore and read some great stuff that will definitively help your self-esteem.


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