“I don’t know why other people can do things and I can’t. It’s always been this way. People just don’t seem to like me. I don’t have any friends. Sometimes people ask me to do stuff but they’re just being polite. No one actually wants me to show up. I’m short and ugly. No wonder no one finds me attractive. I don’t like feeling this way but it’s only cos its true…”
Self-esteem issues are increasingly common in our society. If this kind of thinking seems familiar, speaking to a qualified therapist might help.
What is Self-Esteem?
Self-esteem is the opinion we have of ourselves.
We all have times when we lack confidence and don't feel good about ourselves.
But when low self-esteem becomes a long-term problem, it can have a harmful effect on our mental health and our lives.
When we have healthy self-esteem, we tend to feel positive about ourselves and about life in general. It makes us better able to deal with life's ups and downs.
When our self-esteem is low, we tend to see ourselves and our life in a more negative and critical light.
We also feel less able to take on the challenges life throws at us.
If you have low self-esteem or confidence, you may hide yourself away from social situations, stop trying new things, and avoid things you find challenging.
You may also develop unhelpful habits, such as smoking and drinking too much, as a way of coping.
What causes low self-esteem?
Low self-esteem often begins in childhood.
Teachers, friends, siblings, parents, and even the media send us messages about ourselves, both positive and negative.
Often, the message that you aren't good enough is the one that stays with you.
This can also happen within families.
Low self-esteem can develop as the result of not being treated as valuable and worthy by others, such as one’s parents as a child.
Strong self-esteem and confidence can be a natural result of having been fully supported and appreciated as a child.
If this doesn't happen, or if we get repeated criticism or harsh treatment as children, it can be very difficult to believe in ourselves and feel that we are capable, good and deserve good things in our lives.
Perhaps you found it difficult to live up to other people's expectations of you, or to your own expectations..
Stress and difficult life events, such as serious illness, a bereavement, or those we see as a as failure, can also have a negative effect on self-esteem at any age.
Personality can also play a part. Some people are just more prone to negative thinking, while others set impossibly high standards for themselves.
If you have low self-esteem or confidence, you may hide yourself away from social situations, stop trying new things, and avoid things you find challenging. Living with low self-esteem can harm your mental health, leading to problems like loneliness, depression and anxiety. You may also develop unhelpful habits, such as smoking and drinking too much, as a way of coping.
How can we treat Low Self-Esteem?
Working together on low self-esteem starts with exploring the causes.
We also look carefully and discover your strengths and real value.
Once we understand why you feel so badly about yourself we work on challenging those thoughts, using the strengths as a basis.
Over time, you will build new thoughts and habits, changing your opinion of yourself.
You will be left with greater resilience to feelings of inadequacy and able to take more responsibility for your opinion of yourself in the world today.
I offer all clients a free initial consultation. It gives you a chance to see if this will work for you without charge.