Page written and resources collated by Fiona Eccleston, Senior Wellbeing Practitioner
Self esteem is how valuable or worthwhile you see yourself. If you have healthy self esteem you are likely to feel liked and accepted, proud of what you have achieved and believe in yourself. If you have low self-esteem you are likely to have a very low opinion of yourself, not attach much value to yourself, you may be quite tough on yourself and think you are not good enough.
The way we view ourselves can have a profound effect on how we live our lives and low self esteem can cause great unhappiness. Self esteem can feel conditional and linked to our achievements, and or acceptance of others and so it can go up and down depending what is going on in your life and according to your mood. If you have low self-esteem you are more likely to focus on your setbacks than your achievements.
Self-compassion is treating yourself to the same kindness and concerns that you would show to a good friend in need when things go wrong in life. We often do the reverse and beat ourselves up with self-criticism and harsh words. Being kind to yourself helps to improves your sense of self-worth and enables you to develop a more positive self-image
In fact practising Self-Compassion is key to accepting yourself as a whole, 'warts and all', and improving the relationship you have with yourself.
Note: we hope that the resources below are useful, but we do not endorse the opinions expressed by other parties.
Podcasts and audio resources
Addressing self criticism
Talking through ways to notice and manage self-criticismListen to the audio
Self compassion break
a five minute introduction to self-compassionListen to the audio
a range of self-compassion meditationsBrowse some guided meditations
Reading for Wellbeing
Overcoming Low Self Esteem by Melanie Fennell
Low self-esteem can make life difficult in all sorts of ways. It can make you anxious and unhappy, tormented by doubts and self-critical thoughts. It can get in the way of feeling at ease with other people and stop you from leading the life you want to lead. It makes it hard to value and appreciate yourself in the same way you would another person you care about.Read the book
Creating Self Esteem by Lynda Field
Creating Self-Esteem, from the bestselling author of 60 Ways to Feel Amazing, is a practical and inspirational approach to developing self-awareness and confidence. Expert counselor Lynda Field shows with warmth and humour how to balance the self at every level - the spiritual, mental, emotional and physical.Buy the book
Self Esteem by Gael Lindenfield
Lindenfield helps us to recover from a deep-seated hurt and cope with knocks to our pride. The beginnings of poor self-esteem usually lie far back in our childhood, but our confidence can easily be knocked in our adult life by criticism and trauma. A practical program that can make us feel more energized and self-reliant than ever before; and ultimately, overcome our doubts and fears to achieve self-fulfilment.Read the book
The Confidence Gap by Russ Harris
Is a lack of confidence holding you back? We all know what it's like to get stuck in the 'confidence gap'. Whether it prevents us from embarking on new relationships, forging ahead in our career or pursuing other goals we hold dear, it can often stop us in our tracks. This book will help you to build your self-confidence and in so doing, pursue your dreams. Using scientifically proven Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) techniques, Dr Russ Harris will help you to gain long-lasting confidence, identify your passions and create a life that is truly fulfilling.Buy the book
The Compassionate Mind by Paul Gilbert
Professor Paul Gilbert explores how our minds have developed to be highly sensitive and quick to react to perceived threats and how this fast-acting threat-response system can be a source of anxiety, depression and aggression. He describes how studies have also shown that developing kindness and compassion for self and others can hep in calming down the threat system: as a mother's care and love can soothe a baby's distress, so we can learn how to soothe ourselves.Buy the book
Self compassion by Kirsten Neff
Self-Compassion recognises that we all have weaknesses and limitations, but in accepting this we can discover new ways to achieve improved self-confidence, contentment and reach our highest potential. Simply, easily and compassionately. Kristin Neff's expert and practical advice offers a completely new set of personal development tools that will benefit everyone.Buy the book
Self-help materials you can print, or download and save.
|Looking after your self esteem workbook||A range of downloadable worksheets and books to help with your self-esteem.|
|Self-esteem self-help handout||Easy to read handout explaining self-esteem and offering some tips to change things.|
|Addressing self-criticism (podcast)||Talking you through exercises to reduce and manage self-critical thoughts.|
|Self-compassion exercises||Provides information, exercises, and downloadable guided meditations to help you build self-compassion.|
Places to get help
|Self esteem (Mind Website)||Information on self-esteem, tips on how to manage it, links to blogs and videos|
Blogs and articles
|Self esteem and male body image||Information on self esteem and male body image, links to eating disorder organisations.|
|The impact of social media and self esteem||Short article looking at the impact of social media on self esteem.|
|Building self esteem||Article suggesting use of the 5 ways to wellbeing as a way of building self-esteem.|