Self esteem is a term that describes how we feel about ourselves. It affects every aspect of our lives--how we think, act, feel, and how we relate to others. People aren't born with self-esteem. It comes from a lifetime of experiences and relationships. Family, home, school, work, and social life all contribute to our self worth. There are several steps you can take to retrieve your self-esteem and continue on with a productive happy lifestyle. First, look at your strengths. By making a list of all the things you do well, you can reinforce the positive aspects of your personality. If you've trouble listing them, have a friend help you. Also, make a list of your weaknesses. It forces you to take an honest look at the things you don't like about yourself, thereby creating a great starting point for improvement. Making changes is a difficult step, so try to picture yourself at your best and keep that image in mind when tackling a difficult day. Being with people who help you feel good about yourself is an excellent way to strengthen those relationships and enjoy yourself more. Most importantly, take pride in what you do. Encourage and praise yourself. This, along with eating right and exercising, will help you to develop both good mental and physical self-esteem. For more information on support groups and individual counseling, contact your local hospital or community center.