However, this is not what having "high self-esteem" is all about: Self-esteem has to do with self-acceptance and self-love. It is a long-lasting, positive relationship with myself, that exists despite knowing that I'm not perfect. Despite acknowledging that there might be room for growth in many areas of my life (my appearance, my behavior, my performance in certain skills etc).
Self-acceptance is the notion that my worth as an individual does not depend on my talents, my skills, the color of my hair, the size of my nose, the number of degrees I have, etc. My worth is an absolute, constant factor and is the foundation onto which I build my efforts to improve. Many clients wonder "does self-acceptance mean I accept things I dislike about myself without trying to improve?" No. Self-esteem that is based on self-acceptance leads me to want to improve BECAUSE I love myself, not IN ORDER to love myself. However, when it's the other way around and when my self-love depends on how good I am at something, I will always find myself seeking to perfect something even though perfection is unattainable.
Once I've developed a strong sense of self-worth, that is solid and constant, I will find myself wanting to become better, to take care of my appearance, to learn more things, BECAUSE I love myself and want what's best.
Therefore, when working on improving self-esteem, the most important thing is to start by working with the idea of self-acceptance, self-love and self-worth.