We hear a great deal about self-esteem, I am one who talks about it a lot and taught about it in schools, but the phrase self-esteem is worth exploring a little.

Our young people in particular are growing up with little self-worth, social media plays a huge part in this, young people get depressed because they don’t have enough friends or likes on FB, SnapChat, Instagram and Twitter and all the others that I don’t know!

When I was working and supporting children, I would hear them saying, ‘ No one wants to hang out with me,’ ‘ I feel a failure, ‘ ‘I am ugly,’ ‘I am fat,’ ‘ Everyone else has more friends than I do,’ and that is just a few remarks made.

Report after report talks about the increase in our young peoples mental health, here in Bristol alone, there has been a huge increase in suicides at our University, we should all be concerned.

It seems they are surrounded by negative thoughts at home and at school/university.

We have to try and change this mindset.

To talk about low self-esteem feels like we are talking about our worth. ‘Am I good enough,’ ‘What have I achieved,’ ‘ Am I as good as my friends?’

People of all ages should stop judging themselves.

This is where self-compassion comes in, being kind to ourselves, being open and accepting who we are. Continually striving to keep up or be like everyone else is not helpful.

Young or older we should accept our flaws (we all have them) accept that at times we all struggle, make mistakes, but to think that we did the best we could do is enough.

If only we could start in schools, stop testing at such an early age, focus on individual achievements, and acknowledge small success. Cultivate individuals strengths.

Social media is not real, they are not real friends, the abuse that is dished out is frightening, the damage it causes is horrendous. One comment can plunge someone into depression and worse.

Those young people who have been alienated from a parent and extended family, have no roots, they have no stability they live in a state of confusion and sadness. Within their own home, which should be their safe place becomes a place of lies and distrust.

A family they once loved has stripped them of their self worth, years of alienation take its toll.

They feel they don’t belong anywhere.

Lost souls.

Their safe place can so easily become social media, where they can escape the reality of their lives.

But of course it isn’t real life.

Real life is being able to believe in yourself, to know you have tried your best, that you are a compassionate person, that you care for others.

This all has to start with self-compassion.

Today learn to be kind to yourself, and then you can be kind to someone else.

Jane