Low Self-Esteem – Do you like yourself?
If asked the question – do you like yourself? What might your answer be?
If asked to name some positive things about yourself how easy would this be for you? In normal day-to-day life we don’t often talk about how good we are or what we like about ourselves – as this can seem immodest or ‘blowing our own trumpet.’ It’s only maybe in a job interview when questions such as ‘what qualities would you bring to the role?’ are asked that require talking about our good points and strengths. However, how we see ourselves and how much we consider we’re worth is very important.
Self-esteem is mainly forged through life experiences, especially in childhood – relationships with family and friends or experiences at school. How we are spoken to and treated shapes our perception of who we are – too much criticism, bullying or abuse can cause us to have a very low opinion of our worth. Even as adults stressful life experiences or abusive relationships can easily take a toll on our self-esteem – causing us to develop a very critical attitude towards ourselves.
Low self-esteem can have a significant impact on your ability to live life well – if you’re regularly criticising yourself and beating yourself up over small mistakes it can cause shame, anxiety, low mood or depression. The truth is that we can’t escape ourselves – we have to live in our minds and bodies and if we don’t like what we see then life can be very hard. Those critical thoughts can mean we talk ourselves out of things that might enhance our lives ….’why should I apply for this great job? – I’m not good enough’….’I couldn’t ever ask that person for a date – why would they like me?’.
Low self-esteem can prevent us from being assertive – expressing our opinions or standing up for ourselves – keeping us feeling trapped in difficult or painful situations – thinking that you have to tolerate it because you think you don’t deserve any better. It can also cause us to neglect our own wellbeing – not taking care of ourselves well and looking after our own needs.
The good news is that you don’t have to stay this way – there are many ways in which you can build up your self-esteem and learn to like yourself and become more confident. Counselling can help you to do this well. Firstly, because it’s important to identify some of the causes of your low self-esteem – those experiences that have shaped your self-perception. Talking about these in a safe, confidential environment can help you to understand how they’ve impacted your life, create a greater self-awareness and heal from the pain it’s caused. Counselling can help you to uncover the underlying beliefs about yourself that feed your inner bully – those negative trains of thought that keep you in that vicious cycle of self-criticism. Once these beliefs are uncovered then you can learn how to be kinder to yourself – to challenge the negative thinking and create a fairer and more realistic picture of who you are, your worth and your positive qualities.
One thing I’ve learnt about self-esteem is the immeasurable value of each person. We are all unique – we have our own individual personalities, character and strengths. There is no one else who has lived or ever will live that is exactly like us. If you think about the value of precious gems such as diamonds, sapphires and rubies – they are indeed expensive and the rarer the gem the more valuable it is. If we owned any of these then it makes sense to protect and look after them. Yet each person is far more rare and unique than any precious gem – there will only ever be one of us and we cannot be replaced, so recognising our value and looking after ourselves is important.
So, if you’re reading this and would like to learn to recognise your value and build your self-esteem then please feel free to get in touch. It would be a privilege to help you uncover your inestimable worth.