It’s many things. Here are some of them. (Based on a generously endowed curvaceous woman's experience!)
Self-esteem is learning:
* to like yourself, as you are!
* to see yourself as a friend would see you, as a person worthy of respect
* that it is not being selfish if you want things - perhaps you’d like to go to university; you’d like to have a top flight career; and you’d like to dress well
* that people from all sorts of walks of life should treat you with respect and courtesy
* that your health and fitness should be seen as being of the same worth as any other person, especially younger and slimmer
* that your health and fitness is YOUR business
* that your opinions should be respected
* that your intelligence should not be questioned
* that how you dress is your choice (and your business) and you shouldn’t be expected to accept derision or contempt
* that you have rights. Rights that may include being able to choose for yourself those things that will make you happy. Choosing for yourself those things that you agree o disagree with. Choosing for yourself your own circle of friends. Choosing for yourself what you may eat and what you may choose not to eat.
* that no one has the right to push you into doing things that you don’t want to do, such as dieting, or undergoing surgical manipulations, including cosmetic
* that you can do what you want if you really want to
* that you can wish for anything you want and then go out and make your wishes come true
* that you have a right to be loved. By others and by yourself
* that no one has a right to belittle you, to put you down or to walk over you
* that you have the right to pursue a career, and that promotions are part and parcel of that career
* that you have the right to look for a partner and the right to be loved and respected by that person.
* that you should never be used, or abused (in an form, including verbally, physically, emotionally or any other sort)
* that you are a unique and a one-off person with your own personality and individuality
* that your opinions are valuable assets and are yours alone
* that you have a special place in this universe, and no one has the right to tell you otherwise.