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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 any 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 may perceive you have .

Low self-esteem often begins in childhood.

Teachers, friends, siblings, parents and even the media give us lots of messages – both positive and negative. But for some reason, the message that you are not good enough often sticks.

You may have found it difficult to live up to other people’s expectations of you, or to your own expectations.

Stress and difficult life events, such as serious illness or a bereavement, can also have a negative effect on self-esteem.

Living with low self-esteem can harm your mental health, leading to problems such as depression and anxiety.

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