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self-esteem
noun
1. confidence in one’s own worth or abilities; self-respect.

The most excruciating exercise in the CBT course I did was to write down things I liked about myself. I couldn’t think of a single one.  If I had to do it now, the list wouldn’t be very long but at least it’d be a list.

chickeneggDoes depression lead to low self-esteem, or is it the other way round?  Or are depression and low self-esteem simply different manifestations of the same thing? Research seems to suggest that the effect of self-esteem on depression is significantly stronger than the effect of depression on self-esteem, and that depression could perhaps be prevented, or reduced, by interventions that improve self-esteem.

In other words you can be depressed without having low self-esteem. But if your self-esteem is low, depression may follow.

According to Mind, if you have healthy self-esteem, your beliefs about yourself will generally be positive. You may experience difficult times in your life, but you will generally be able to deal with these without them having too much of a long-term negative impact on you.

If you have low self-esteem, your beliefs about yourself will often be negative. You will tend to focus on your weaknesses or mistakes that you have made, and may find it hard to recognise the positive parts of your personality. You may also blame yourself for any difficulties or failures that you have.

NHS Choices suggests the following for raising self-esteem (details here):

  • Identify and challenge the negative beliefs you have about yourself
  • Recognise what you are good at
  • Build positive relationships
  • Be kind to yourself
  • Learn to be assertive
  • Start saying ‘no’
  • Give yourself a challenge

This isn’t perhaps the world’s best video on low self-esteem, but it is Ruby Wax and that’s good enough for me:

low self-esteem

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