Body image relates to how we think and feel about our appearance, and the relationship we have with our bodies. It’s the perception of how we see ourselves, despite what the reality may be. Most people at some point lack confidence especially when the media and online platforms create the myth of the ‘perfect’ body. A positive body image means that we accept, appreciate and are grateful for the body that we have and are not trying to change our appearance to fit how we think, or anyone else thinks, we should look.
Self-esteem refers to a person’s overall sense of his or her value or worth. It can be considered a sort of measure of how much a person “values, approves of, appreciates, prizes, or likes him or herself” (Adler & Stewart, 2004). In other words, self-esteem is how we feel about ourselves inside and out.
Good self-esteem means that we have a positive view of ourselves; affording ourselves and expecting to be treated with love, value and respect. It also means believing that our ideas, feelings and opinions are important. So that even when we face difficulties, we still recognise that we are good enough and don’t put ourselves down.
Is low self-esteem a mental health condition?
Low self-esteem isn’t a mental health condition in itself, but the two can be closely linked. Some of the signs of low self-esteem can also be signs of or lead to a mental health difficulty. For example:
- Feeling hopeless or worthless
- Blaming yourself unfairly
- Hating yourself
- Worrying about being unable to do things
If these feelings are ongoing or are affecting your daily life, then seeking support is important.
Having a mental health difficulty could also cause you to have low self-esteem. It might feel harder to cope or to take steps to improve your self-esteem if you struggle with your mental health. You can find additional information on this at: What is self-esteem? – Mind
When our self-esteem is low, we tend to see ourselves and our life in a more negative and critical light. We also feel less able to take on the challenges that life throws at us Source: Raising low self-esteem – NHS (www.nhs.uk)