Low Self-Esteem


Unhappy depressed teenager with face in hands sitting outdoor

Self-esteem refers to your own personal opinion of yourself and your perception of how others see you. When you have healthy self-esteem, you will feel good about yourself, your abilities and about life in general.

Low self-esteem can impact on every aspect of one’s life and have a harmful effect on your health and relationships. Low self-esteem often begins in childhood with attachment, communication, expectations and feedback on one’s behaviour and performance.

If your self-esteem is low, you may believe that you are not ‘good enough’ and are likely to underestimate your own capacities and skills.

Common beliefs associated with low self-esteem include:

    • ‘‘I’m not worthy’’
    • ‘‘I’m not good enough’’
    • ‘‘I’m not interesting’’
    • ‘‘I am boring’’
    • ‘‘I am a failure’’
    • ‘‘I don’t deserve’’.

Comparing yourself to others, finding fault in yourself and worrying about how people will perceive you will generate anxiety.For some people low self-esteem can be subtle and only triggered in certain areas of their life for example only in group situations or public speaking. However, for others, it can be long term, constant and have harmful effects on your health, intimate relationships and career.

The way you cope with low self-esteem is important. Often when people think they are not good enough they start to behave as if it were true which often reinforces the belief of not being good enough. Often people will avoid social situations, change of career, walking away from an unhealthy relationship or stop trying new and challenging things. Similarly, avoiding conflict and rejection by overcompensating and doing too much to please others. However, forgetting about your own needs or engaging in avoidance will only serve to maintain and reinforce unhealthy beliefs and stops people from feeling happy and content.

Treatment for low self-esteem

In order to work towards a healthy self-esteem, you will need to identify and challenge the negative belief you have about yourself. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) takes the view that these core beliefs are opinions, and not facts, that are maintained by unhelpful thinking or behaviours.

Therapy for low self esteem usually includes:

    • Cognitive restructuring
    • Increasing awareness
    • Developing a new and healthy relationship with yourself
    • Assertiveness training
    • Mindfulness training
    • Developing Self Compassion

10 Tips to boost Self-Esteem

  1. Move away from autopilot and increase your awareness of how often you are self-critical and begin to make a conscious and healthy choice in how to respond to self-criticism.
  2. Become your own best friend. Instead of beating yourself up, ask yourself what advice would you give to a friend or how would you talk to a friend if they were go through something similar – show the same compassion towards yourself.
  3. When you notice your inner critic and dialogue of ‘‘I don’t deserve’’, stand back from this thought and see it as a thought rather than a fact. Ask yourself what advice would you say to a friend and is this thought unhelpful and taking you away from happiness.
  4. Step falling into the comparison trap – everyone is different, therefore it is very hard to compare oneself to another and only leads to anxiety, low mood and maintaining of low self-esteem. Theodore Roosevelt said ‘’Comparison is the thief of joy’’.
  5. Build positive relationships. Spend time with supportive people and less with destructive people
  6. Connect with your values. Ask yourself ‘what is truly important to me in my life? This will give you direction and connect you with your core values.
  7. Replace ‘‘I am not good enough’’ with: ‘‘I am enough, I do enough, I am good enough’’. Try say this everyday to yourself.
  8. Keep a Positive Data Log and write down everyday positive experiences i.e. a compliment, when something went well etc this will reinforce positive beliefs and build towards a healthy self-esteem
  9. Learn to be assertive. Increase awareness of how often you avoid saying ‘no’ to people and begin to take a step towards assertiveness and healthy boundaries. You have a right to say no.
  10. If you make mistakes, become your own best friend and show compassion. Don’t forget that you are human and fallible.

If you would like to talk to someone about therapy for low self-esteem, please get in touch with The Consulting Clinic Ltd.

© The Consulting Clinic 2016