Self-esteem refers to the way you feel about yourself — how worthy you feel and how competent you feel to deal with life in healthy ways. It’s about how well you like and accept yourself. Self-esteem is important, because it’s associated with happiness, the ability to persist and succeed at goals important to you, the courage to take risks and try new things, and the confidence to live in a way that’s true to yourself and your values. People who have low self-esteem are limited by various fears and are at risk for depression and poor relationship choices.

High self-esteem is built and maintained by living with an active orientation to life. It’s crucial to take responsibility for the choices, behaviors, and attitudes that influence the quality of your life. This starts with knowing what your needs and values are, then setting goals to correspond with them. Take steps to meet your goals in a realistic way. Seek help to learn skills that will help you meet your goals. For example, learning assertiveness skills, public speaking, and good study habits might help you academically and socially. Learning a sport could help you feel confident about your physical fitness. Nurture positive attitudes that keep you involved in life and resilient to blocks in the road.

It’s also very important to learn to love and accept yourself unconditionally. Celebrate your strengths and accomplishments and accept occasional mistakes or failures—that’s how people learn! Be compassionate towards yourself and practice self-care. Surround yourself with people who accept you and support your healthy choices.

Sometimes it can be challenging to make significant changes on your own, especially when your low self-esteem arises from painful early life experiences. Listed below are some self-help books that can guide you in your growth. If you want more personal help and support as you work on your self-esteem, you might want to talk with a counselor at The Counseling Center.


Book Recommendations

  • Self-Esteem – Matthew McKay and Patrick Fanning
  • The Self-Esteem Workbook – Glenn Schiraldi