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Healthy Self-Esteem

Smiling young woman

Of all the people in your life about whom you will have an opinion, the person who it’s most essential for you to like is yourself. Likewise, nobody else’s opinion of you will ever matter as much as your opinion of yourself. Research has shown self-esteem to be predictive of overall well-being, occupational and relationship success, and perseverance in the face of challenges. It’s no wonder so many self-help books are written on the topic, and parents are so concerned about helping their children develop self-esteem. But what exactly is self-esteem, and what do we do if we have low self-esteem?

What Is Self-Esteem?

While the construct of self-esteem is not always defined the same way, researchers largely agree that self-esteem encompasses self-acceptance, self-respect, and satisfaction with oneself. This should be without perceptions of being superior or perfect. In other words, a positive but balanced and authentic view of oneself. Some have distinguished between the quest for high self-esteem which can be fragile, defensive, or contingent on outside events, and optimal self-esteem, which is based on a stable view of one’s authentic, core self. Therefore, the goal is not to view oneself with pure positivity, or to think of oneself as “the best” or “perfect”, but to nurture a stable perception of oneself as an individual with inherent worth. This is a healthy self-esteem that recognizes and appreciates one’s positive qualities and capabilities while accepting and forgiving weaknesses and imperfections.

Strategies To Develop Positive Self-Esteem

If you have struggled with finding this kind of optimal self-esteem, the good news is that it is never too late to develop it.  There are several steps that you can take to change this. These can be grouped into three categories namely, behavior, people, and thoughts.


Feelings of empowerment contribute towards healthy self-esteem. Learning something new, building skills in an area of interest or expertise, and putting yourself in situations where you are set up for success will positively impact your self-esteem. Helping others and contributing to the world around you can also give you a self-esteem boost. This category also includes behaviors such as practicing mindfulness, gratitude, and exercise. Other positive behaviors that can help include forms of self-care such as good nutrition and adequate sleep. 


Surrounding yourself with people who appreciate you for who you are, can make a big difference when it comes to self-esteem. When possible, choose work environments where positive results are recognized and you feel empowered. Additionally, be sure to not neglect your social life; positive interpersonal connections and healthy relationships are important for healthy self-esteem. 


If you struggle with self-esteem, it is likely due to negative self-beliefs that you have developed through experiences and the way you have interpreted those experiences. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) looks at cognitive distortions, or faulty, unhealthy thinking patterns. These may include all-or-nothing thinking, overgeneralization, minimizing positives and focusing on negatives, mistaking feelings for facts, and negative self-talk. All these contribute to negative self-views. You should work on establishing more adaptive ways of looking at situations. Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) focuses on making choices that align with your values while utilizing mindfulness and acceptance. A therapist can help you examine the negative beliefs that are weighing down your self-esteem, and find the roots of those beliefs. Over time, they can help you learn to think of situations and yourself in ways that promote an appreciation and acceptance of yourself.

At The Hellenic Therapy Center, 567 Park Avenue, Scotch Plains, NJ, we have a team of licensed professionals with day, evening, and weekend hours available to help you improve your self-esteem. Hellenic Therapy Center is well-respected for its comprehensive therapy services, addressing a diverse range of needs. Our offerings include couples therapy, marriage counseling, support for individuals navigating anxiety, panic, and depression, along with various other services. With a holistic approach and compassionate guidance, we help you start the healing process from within. Our goal is to hold your hand through the journey of self-discovery and personal development.

For more information about our treatment for low self-esteem, do not hesitate to fill out our contact form, and we will get in touch with you shortly.


Blitzer, R. J., et al.(1993). "How to build self-esteem." Training & Development, 47 (2), pp. 58+. 

Kernis, M. (2003)  Toward a Conceptualization of Optimal Self-Esteem, Psychological Inquiry, 14:1, 1-26, DOI: 10.1207/S15327965PLI1401_01

Niveau,N.,  New, B., & Beaudoin, M. (2021). Self-esteem Interventions in Adults – A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis, Journal of Research in Personality, 94.

Orth, U., & Robins, R. W. (2014). The Development of Self-Esteem. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 23(5), 381-387.


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