What is self-esteem?
Self-esteem is the opinion or view you have of yourself and while it may be something we don’t pay a lot of attention to, how we view ourselves can have an incredible impact on our lives. Those who have low self-esteem tend to have a very critical view of themselves and do not really like who they are or parts of who they are.
The thoughts and feelings you have about yourself can be negative or positive. When they are positive (or neutral) we feel capable and accepted in our lives and can face problems with confidence and the belief that we can work through them. When the thoughts about ourselves are negative, we may feel worthless and less capable of facing things in our life. This is low self-esteem and can have a dramatic impact on how happy we are and how we deal with life’s issues.
Learning to accept yourself as a good and valuable person is a really important part of having a happy and successful life. Accepting you as being good enough can be a big step at times.
What are the signs of low self-esteem
People with low self-esteem probably never talk about this aspect of themselves but just accept it as who they are. Often, people with low self-esteem will:
- Be very critical of themselves
- Pay no attention to the positive achievements they have made
- Use negative words to describe themselves (fat, ugly, stupid, a failure)
- Have trouble accepting compliments
- Allow others to treat them in a manner which is not acceptable
- Have difficulty saying no
- Avoid activities so as not to be judged by others
- Become an overachiever to try and cover up or compensate
- Exhibit self harming behaviours such as drinking/drug abuse or eating disorders
- Lack in self confidence
Helping people with low self-esteem is one of the most rewarding parts of my role as a counsellor. If you relate to any of the signs of low self-esteem above, and would like to change how you feel about yourself, then it can be done. It’s not a fast fix but it is definitely possible.
These days I am seeing a huge increase in teens with low self-esteem. It is critical that this is addressed as early as possible so that your child can succeed in life in being who they are meant to be.
Often improving your self-esteem can have an impact on all areas of life. From career, family, intimate relationships and friendships. All of these parts of who we are can be improved through learning to love yourself and be accepting of you as a worthwhile individual.
Many individuals with poor self-esteem don’t believe it can be changed. It can but it takes work and help. For most people it was a slow decline to their poor view of themselves and there is no quick fix either.
When I am working with teens, often they find it easier to talk openly if they are busy so at times, with parental permission, we will walk for the session (weather permitting!). Great for talking and the exercise is good for mental health too!
Change your self-esteem, change your life!
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