What is self-esteem?
Self-esteem is the opinion or view you have of yourself. 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. They may 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. We have a 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, whatever that looks like for you. Having good self-esteem is important in having a healthy romantic relationship also. 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 and often just accept it as who they are. Clients will tell me they assume it can’t be changed. Many don’t even realise that is why they struggle in life. Generally people have developed coping mechanisms that may not be healthy for them, in order to cope with the low self-esteem.
People with low self-esteem may:
- 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
- Need to be ‘perfect’
- Exhibit self harming behaviours such as drinking/drug abuse or eating disorders
- Lack in self confidence
- Struggle to maintain a long-term healthy relationship
- Prefer to avoid social events and maybe even not like leaving the home
- Not have a voice in their relationships.
Can this view be changed?
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, you can change how you see yourself. It’s not a quick 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 it can be a slow adjustment out of it.
Change your self-esteem, change your life!
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