“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” – Oscar Wilde
Self-esteem refers to how significant, capable and worthy we feel as individuals. Sometimes it can be described as the gap between how we actually feel and think about ourselves, and how we would ideally like to be. It can range from low through average to good. Individuals vary in their level of self-esteem. Some have a very healthy sense of themselves while others may feel as though they hardly have a right to be in the world.
Our level of self-esteem is thought to be established in childhood and/or adolescence. Low self-esteem can be caused by childhood experiences of physical, emotional and sexual abuse, and neglect.
However, low self-esteem can also be caused later in life, by ill-health, disability and disfigurement, anxiety and depression, loss, how others treat us, prejudice, and being part of a minority group in society.
If you have low self-esteem you may:
- judge yourself harshly and criticise yourself a lot
- feel indecisive a lot of the time for fear of making the wrong decision
- feel and think of yourself as bad, inferior or worthless
- worry excessively about what others think of you
- have a strong desire to please other people at all costs
- find it hard to say “No” to others or to be assertive
- have difficulty accepting praise or compliments
- find yourself feeling irritable, angry and defensive a lot of the time
- feel very sensitive to criticism
- suffer from perfectionism
- carry a lot of shame about yourself
- feel unnecessarily guilty about things you have said or done
It almost goes without saying that low self-esteem can have quite an impact on your capacity to enjoy life and be happy.
So working towards developing healthy self-esteem is well worth it!
How could self-esteem counselling help you?
- understand and explore the roots of your low self-esteem
- gain an awareness of what thoughts, feelings and behaviour contribute to your low self-esteem
- move towards loving and accepting yourself, as you are
- work on your communication and assertiveness skills
- learn to be more self-compassionate and less self-critical
- start to see things from a different perspective
- improve your self-image
- learn to live in the present moment instead of worry about the past or the future