Shirley A. Mietlicki
District Specialist, Communities, Families and Youth
Cooperative Extension
University of Massachusetts

Copyright/Access Information


– what self-esteem is.

– what influences your self-esteem.

– how to improve your self-esteem.

– why positive self-esteem is important.

Self-esteem affects how happy and successful you are in life.
When you feel good about yourself, you are willing to take chances,
try new things, and meet new people. You are happy with who you

A positive self-esteem helps during difficult times. When you
believe in yourself, you feel more confident. You enjoy life more
fully. You do those things that are important to you.

Self-esteem is made up of thoughts and feelings you have about
yourself. These may be:

POSITIVE: I'm okay. I'm smart. I can handle this!


NEGATIVE: I'm stupid. I'm afraid. I won't do it right. I'm boring.

Self-esteem is affected by people in your life. These may include:

– HOME: spouse, children, parents, brothers and sisters

– WORK: co-workers, boss

– SCHOOL: teacher, classmates

– COMMUNITY: neighbors, friends, clergy

Your experiences can have a positive (good) or negative (bad)
influence on your self-esteem. The important thing to remember
is that you can always improve your self-esteem. It can get better.
It is up to you!

Keep in mind that people with high self-esteem:

  • are confident.
  • believe in themselves.
  • accept challenges.
  • take risks.
  • are flexible.
  • do not mind changes.
  • perform well.
  • get what they want.
  • are fun to be around!

To improve your self-esteem:

  • set goals that you can achieve.
  • take pride in your successes – no matter how small they are.
  • learn to love yourself.
  • find people who are good role models.
  • encourage yourself. Say, “I can-do this!”
  • set aside time for yourself.
  • trust your thoughts and feelings.
  • explore who you are. Don't copy someone else
  • accept your strong and your weak points.
  • be your own best friend!

National Network for Child Care – NNCC. Part of CYFERNET, the
National Extension Service
Children Youth and Family Educational Research Network. Permission
is granted to reproduce
these materials in whole or in part for educational purposes only
(not for profit beyond the cost of
reproduction) provided that the author and Network receive acknowledgment
and this notice is

Reprinted with permission from the National Network for Child
Care –
NNCC. Mietlicki, S.A. (1991). *Building self-esteem*. (Family
Day Care
series). Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts.

Any additions or changes to these materials must be preapproved
by the author .

Gretchen May
Tillson House
University of Massachusetts
Box 37605
Amherst, MA 01003-7605
PHONE:: (413) 549-8800
FAX:: (413) 549-6337

FORMAT AVAILABLE:: Available only on the
Level 2 – Cooperative Extension Systems: Universities
of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut
DOCUMENT SIZE:: 8K or 3 pages
ENTRY DATE:: July 1995


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