Each person learns about who they are and how they are thought of by others through what they see, experience and what they are told. When a toddler puts a toy in the basket and Mom says, "What a big boy!", the child laughs and smiles at the praise. When a sixth grader helps a friend with a new computer game, she feels confident and is happy about knowing something helpful. As adults, when a couple donates time and money to a non-profit that helps feed the homeless, they feel a healthy pride in doing the right thing.
Developing high regard for one's self (self-esteem) requires both thought and action. Acting in a way that matches your values can only happen when you know what is right and wrong. People learn right and wrong from what people around them do and from the consequences of their decisions. This happens within the person, in the family, the church, the school and the community. Each person then makes a decision about what he takes in and what he rejects from that information. When someone is often told she is bad or wrong, especially at an early age, it is very hard to believe she has value. Hopefully, those negative messages change through the other places to learn about herself.
Behavior and value rules may be different from one family or community than another. When someone feels "different", it is hard to believe he has value. It is helpful to find other like-minded people or people who are open to differentness. It is possible to learn how to see your own value even when those around you don't but it may require help from someone who believes in you. Try noticing each day what you do that you believe has value.
Live consciously. Speak kindly to yourself and others. Learn as you go.