BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The path to feeling good about yourself is not in pursuing self-esteem, Dr. Lora Park told us on Wake Up Thursday morning.

“In order to improve our self-esteem, ironically, the answer is to not pursue self-esteem,” Dr. Park, an associate professor of psychology at UB, says. “Research actually shows that the more you try to boost your self-esteem, it can have counterproductive effects.”

Instead, Dr. Park said people should focus on three key ideas:

  1. Competence – What are you doing daily that makes you feel competent?
  2. Autonomy – Doing things you choose to do
  3. Quality time with close relationships

When it comes to kids, they need to hear praise from their parents regarding their effort and hard work, Dr. Park said. Providing messages that suggest you love them no matter what will build resilience in a child.

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Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award, JANY Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.