Self-esteem is the value you place on yourself. It is the image you have of yourself, measured against what you think you should be (with regard to your talents, skills, intellect, social skills, physical abilities, and appearance). It is normal for self-esteem to fluctuate throughout life, with adolescence being one of the most fragile times. Thoughts and actions can reinforce or undermine self-esteem. By taking the focus away from appearance, students may achieve a more rounded self-concept where appearance is only one of many attributes.
Body image is a part of self-esteem and is a person’s perception of his or her body size, shape, and attractiveness. Body image also includes a person’s attitudes and feelings about his or her body and how they think others see them. A healthy body image means knowing how to take care of yourself and feeling good in your body. Instead of striving for a “perfect body,” you find other ways to feel good about yourself. Positive body image is linked to good self-esteem, and these two qualities build a student’s confidence and resilience.
Students with positive self-esteem and a healthy body image are more likely to:
To support the development of healthy children and youth, it is important to focus on positive strategies that promote healthy self-esteem and positive body image, such as: