Module 13: Self Esteem and Assertiveness


This module aims to help you explore and gain an understanding of the following:

  • What self-esteem is and how to increase it
  • How to become more assertive

Download module as a PDF.


Self-esteem is how we value ourselves; it is how we perceive our value to the world and how valuable we think we are to other people.

Self-esteem affects our trust in others, our relationships, our work – nearly every part of our lives. If you have low self-esteem, your beliefs about yourself will often be negative. You are likely to focus on your weaknesses and on mistakes that you have made, and may find it hard to recognise the positive parts of your personality.

Positive thinking and behaviour can contribute to higher levels of self-esteem.


Exercise 1: What can I do to build my self-esteem?

To increase your self-esteem, you need to challenge and change the negative beliefs you have about yourself. This might feel like a difficult task, but there are a lot of different techniques you can try to help you. Below are some of the things that might help and some questions to get you started:


1. Do something you enjoy

Doing something that you enjoy and are good at, can help build your confidence and increase your self-esteem. This could be anything from paid work, volunteering, caring for someone or something or a hobby.

Identify three things you currently do that you enjoy.

Now think of three things you would like to do.


2. Build positive relationships

Try to associate with people who will not put you down and whom you feel able to talk to about your feelings. If you spend time around positive and supportive people, you are more likely to have a better self-image and feel more confident.

Name three positive people in your life. 

If you have low self-esteem, there might be people close to you who encourage the negative beliefs and opinions that you have about yourself. It is important to identify these people and take action to stop them from doing this, perhaps by becoming more assertive (see above) or by limiting how much time you spend with them.

Identify anyone who may be negative in your life.

List three things you can do to reduce the effect they have on you.


3. Set yourself a challenge 

If you set yourself goals and work towards achieving them, you will feel satisfied and proud of yourself when you achieve your goal, and feel more positive about yourself as a consequence.

However, it is important to make sure the challenge you set yourself is one that you can realistically achieve. It doesn’t have to be anything particularly large but should have meaning for you. For example, you might decide to start going to a regular exercise class or give up smoking.

Think of three challenges:

  1. In the next week
  2. In the next month 
  3. In the next 3 months





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