Psychosocial Health

Self Esteem and Self Confidence


Building up a good sense of self-esteem is helpful for adolescents to enhance their psycho-social health. Self-esteem is a person’s subjective evaluation of his or her own worth; it serves as an important index of a person’s psychological health and will affect a person’s behaviors. People with higher self-esteem are more able to recognize their values and strengths and accept their weaknesses at the same time. In general, people with higher self-esteem are more confident across different aspects.

Where does self-esteem come from?

Many factors can affect the development of an adolescent’s self-esteem. For example, one’s genetic makeup, personality, family, school and peers are all important elements. Evaluations from parents, teachers, schoolmates and friends can affect the ways how we perceive ourselves, which then gradually build up our self-esteem.

Self-esteem: high or low?

  1. Do you like yourself?
  2. Do you satisfy with yourself?
  3. Are you willing to improve your weakness?
  4. Do you think you are useless?
  5. Do you think you are unlikable?
  6. Do you often think you are inferior to others?
  7. Do you have confidence to achieve your goal?
  8. Do you refuse to try due to fear of failure?

The above questions help us to evaluate our self-esteem. Our self-esteem would be higher if the answers of the above tends to be positive.

Ways to cultivate better self-esteem

  1. Appreciate yourselves
    You can write a list of your strengths and achievements. (e.g. you are honest, sincere to others, or good at sport, etc.) You may then put the list in some conspicuous place, ascertain your own strengths and keep it up.

  2. Recognize your value
    All things in their being are good for something. We are sure to say: "I am a valuable person". Everyone is unique and we should live with self-respect. Equip ourselves and contribute to our family, school and community.

  3. Accept ourselves and build up positive self-images
    Adolescents need to accept their appearance and personal background, and recognize the values of one’s inner strengths and virtues. We can learn from others’ good behaviors and build up better self-images.

  4. Develop and make good use of our potential
    Explore our potential by joining various kinds of extra-curricular activities. For example, scout association, outward bound training, various interest groups, and community voluntary services are good ways to explore and develop our potential interests and abilities.

  5. Improve our weaknesses
    No one is perfect and we should not look down upon ourselves due to weakness in some aspect. We should have reasonable expectation and set achievable goal according to our abilities. We should keep improving our weakness by persistently adhering to our plans.

  6. Do not compare with others
    There is always someone better than you. Comparing with others is endless and this can hurt your self-esteem. Setting attainable goal and putting persistent effort to improve ourselves are more under our own control.

  7. Do not give up and shape up
    Do not see yourselves as losers even when you fail. We can learn from mistakes, evaluate both external and internal factors, improve those we can change, and strive to get better results for the coming challenges.

  8. Correct mistakes, rebuild self-esteem
    Everyone makes mistakes. It is more important to learn from mistakes and keep improving. Admitting our mistakes and accepting our weakness, and preventing them from happening again can help to improve our self-esteem.

  9. Love ourselves
    Take good care of ourselves and live healthily. Live our lives to the fullest and avoid harmful behaviors such as smoking, taking drugs, or committing offences, etc.

  10. Build up social network and make appropriate use of it
    Build up mutual respect and trust with your parents, other family members, teachers and friends in our daily lives. We can share our difficulties to them and obtain their advices and support.


Persons with higher self-esteem can recognize their own values and strengths better; they will not be afraid to expose their weaknesses nor be constantly mindful of others’ comments. Instead, they will be firm towards their goals and more able to accept challenges and overcome difficulties. They can also build up better relationships with family members, teachers, and friends and make appropriate use of their support.

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