Self Esteem is a way of thinking, feeling and acting that implies that you accept, respect, trust, and believe in yourself. When you accept yourself, you can live comfortably with both your personal strengths and weaknesses without undue self criticism. When you respect yourself you acknowledge your own dignity and value as a unique human being. You treat yourself well in much the same way you would treat someone else you respect. Self-trust means that your behaviors and feelings are consistent enough to give you an inner sense of continuity and coherence despite changes and challenges in your external circumstances. To believe in yourself means that you feel you deserve to have the good things in life. It also means that you have confidence that you can fulfill your deepest personal needs, aspirations, and goals.
The truth about self esteem is that it needs to come from within. When self esteem is low, the deficiency creates a feeling of emptiness that you may try to fill by latching on – often compulsively - to something external that provides a temporary sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. When the quest to fill your inner emptiness by appropriating something from outside becomes desperate, repetitive, or automatic, you have what is called an addiction. Addiction is an attachment to something or someone outside yourself that you feel you need to provide a sense of inner satisfaction or relief. Frequently this attachment substitutes preoccupation with a substance or activity for healthy human relationships. It may also substitute a temporary feeling of control or power for a more lasting sense of inner confidence and strength.
A healthy alternative to addiction is to work on building your self esteem. Growing in self esteem means developing confidence and strength from within. While still enjoying life fully, you no longer need to appropriate or identify with something or someone outside yourself to feel okay. The basis for your self worth is internal. As such, it is much more lasting and stable.