Self-esteem is a general feeling of self-worth, self-respect, and self-confidence, or simply a belief in one's own value. It is not an inflated expression of undue pride or entitlement. A healthy feeling of self-esteem allows people to weather difficult events or circumstances without becoming unable to cope due to anxiety or depression, and usually accompanies other positive feelings the person has about her- or himself, or about life in general.
When self-esteem is hurt or wounded, however, a person may have difficulty handling ordinary work, school, or relationship situations. Over a prolonged period such difficulty can lead to feelings of intense stress, despair, or both. Although there are many ways to escape or stave off these feelings, ranging from overwork and avoiding work to using alcohol and other drugs, wounded self-esteem usually has some basis in unresolved emotional trauma, and is commonly addressed in psychotherapy.