Everyone, including you, has opinions and ideas - about movies, music, clothing, food, and about other people.  You may not be aware of it often , but you also always have an opinion about yourself.

One term psychologists use to describe your opinion of yourself is self-esteem.  Self-esteem refers to how much you respect yourself and like yourself.  As with so many other fundamentals and concepts about our mental health, you can think of self-esteem as an ever-changing continuum, ranging from high self-esteem to low self-esteem.  Many psychologists think that high self-esteem tends to have a positive effect on health, while low self-esteem tends to have an adverse and  negative effect on health.

Benefits of High Self-Esteem:  People with high self-esteem always accept themselves for who they are even if they have flaws that they would like to change about themself.  They always have a realistic view of their own strengths and weaknesses and consistently maintain a positive attitude even when they fail at a certain task.  They often form close relationships with people who respect and value them because they know how to value and respect themselves. 

If you feel good about yourself, you will be more likely to eat well, to exercise regularly, and to avoid risky behaviors that my put your life on the line.  You will be more likely to set good, promising goals for yourself, ask for help when you need it, and bounce back from setbacks and disappointments very quickly.

Risks of Low Self-Esteem:  People with low self-esteem don't seem to have much respect for themselves.  They often judge themselves too harshly and worry too much about what other people think of them rather than what they think of themselves.  They may put on an act in public to impress others and also to hide their own insecurities.  Their fear of failure and looking bad, in both public and private places, may prevent them from trying new and interesting things.  Their regular negative thoughts make it very hard for them to be successful in life. 

Some studies show that teens with low self-esteem are more likely than their peers to end up using drugs, drop out of school (high school and college), get abused in a partnership or relationship, and suffer from various different eating disorders like binge eating, etc.  They also tend to engage in more violent or self-destructive behaviors that further affect their bad health.