Self-esteem is the way we perceive and value. This can be influenced by lots of different things, from our childhoods to life events. When we have low self-esteem, we can see ourselves and the world around us negatively. We may feel unhappy and find it more challenging to cope with challenges when they come up. So how to overcome low self-esteem? In this excerpt, we will discuss treatment for low self-esteem and how a counselling psychologist can help.
Over time low self-esteem can hurt our mental health. You may also find having certain mental health conditions impacts your self-esteem. Here we will be looking into self-esteem more, discussing what can affect it, how it links to our mental health and how counselling can help.
What is self-esteem?
Our self-esteem is, essentially, the opinion we have of ourselves. This opinion is based on past experiences and beliefs we have about ourselves. While these beliefs can be misplaced, they can feel tough to change. Therefore, it becomes a task to overcome low self-esteem.
If you have low self-esteem, you may struggle to value yourself. This can affect your life in several ways. You may find it challenging to like who you are and work in relationships. Low self-esteem can make it challenging for you to believe in yourself, so you might struggle to try new things and take risks.
Causes of low self-esteem
Everyone will have different things in their life that affect self-esteem. For some people, self-esteem changes suddenly (for example, after a stressful life event), while for others, low self-esteem may be something they’ve lived with for a long time.
Often your opinion of yourself is built in your early years. You may have experienced authority figures who were disapproving. Being criticised a lot in childhood can lead you to form the opinion that you’re ‘not good enough’. Being bullied in childhood can also have a lasting impact on your sense of self-esteem long after the bullying stops. All these events make it all the tougher to overcome low self-esteem.
Other life events that can affect your self-esteem include:
- experiencing abuse (of any kind)
- experiencing discrimination or stigma
- having relationship problems
- ongoing stress
- difficulties at work/school
- body image worries
- problems with money or housing
- losing your job, of finding it hard to get a job
- physical health problems
- mental health problems
Treatment for Low Self Esteem?
If you have low self-esteem for a long time, you may find it affects your mental health. It can lead to conditions such as depression, anxiety, self-harm and eating disorders. Some of the signs of low self-esteem, like “feeling worthless and blaming yourself”, can also be symptoms of these conditions. There is a treatment to overcome low self-esteem, and a counselling psychologist can help in unfathomable ways.
Does Counselling Help?
Building self-esteem and navigating the mental health implications can be challenging to do alone. Working with a trained professional such as a counselling psychologist can help you understand where your opinion of yourself stems from and how to challenge limiting beliefs and overcome low self-esteem. Developing more awareness of your personal history and how this impacts who you are today can be eye-opening. Finding a counsellor with who you feel comfortable is vital; it helps to be as open and honest as possible.
Several different therapy types can help overcome low self-esteem, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which enables you to notice and change negative thinking patterns. Compassion-focused treatment can also be beneficial for those struggling with self-esteem, helping you to let go of the self-blame that often comes with negative thoughts.
Arts therapies may be an excellent approach to overcome low self-esteem. These therapies use mediums like art, music and drama to help you process feelings and express yourself. Counselling can help to explore all the parts of self and the triggered reactions. Growing self-awareness enables you to access the nurturing, validating details of yourself, boosting your self-esteem, and esteeming yourself.
How to Overcome Low Self Esteem?
As well as getting professional support, there are things you can do yourself to help improve self-esteem. What’s essential for you to remember here is trying and not putting too much pressure on yourself. Building up your self-esteem can be a long process, but small steps lead to significant changes.
Here are eight ways you can try to help overcome low self-esteem.
1. Reflect on your values and beliefs:
Try using a journal to get to know yourself a little better. Make a list of your values and beliefs; what do you value in others? What are your opinions?
2. Challenge your inner critic:
Another way to overcome low self-esteem is by challenging your inner critic. When that voice in your head tells you something negative, for example, ‘I can’t do X’, get into the habit of challenging it. Ask it ‘why not?’. Imagine what you would say to a friend who said this to themselves and try to treat yourself like a friend.
3. Use positive affirmations:
This can be not easy at first, but many people find it helpful. Once you’ve challenged your inner critic, try telling yourself something positive, for example, ‘I am perfectly capable of doing X and repeating it to yourself often.
4. Get out of the comparison trap:
It’s natural for us to compare ourselves to others, especially those we see on social media. When you notice this happening, say ‘stop’ out loud and remind yourself that you only see other people’s highlights. If it helps, try taking a break from social media and the online world from time to time.
5. Step up your self-care:
Another way to overcome low self-esteem is by taking care of yourself. Looking after yourself is something that can be pushed down the priority list when you struggle with self-esteem. Try to schedule self-care into your diary and challenge yourself to prioritise it. Taking care of yourself can help reinforce that you are worthy and deserving of respect, improving self-esteem.
6. Challenge yourself:
Taking small steps outside of your comfort zone can feel very hard, but once you see that you can do it, you gather evidence that will bolster your self-belief. Try something tiny at first, and remember to celebrate every single win. You may also find it helpful to reflect on past achievements and make a note of them somewhere.
7. Learn to accept compliments:
The following way to overcome low self-esteem is by learning to accept compliments. Instead of brushing off or dismissing compliments, get into the habit of smiling and saying thank you. This will make both you and the compliment giver feel better.
8. Lean on your support system:
When you’re feeling down about yourself, reach out to friends, family or your counsellor for support. You may even want to use a support group or talk to friends online. Know that you’re not alone, and you have people in your life who care about you.
The journey to re-building and improving self-esteem can feel challenging at times, but the opinions and beliefs we have about ourselves are learnt. This means, with the proper support and some self-work, we can un-learn them. Nothing is set in stone, and you always have the opportunity to change your story.
What should I be looking for in a counsellor?
Choosing a therapist or counselling psychologist can be daunting, but it is important to treat low self-esteem. Having some questions prepared for your initial consultation can help decide whether they are right for you. Ask yourself, “What do I want from counselling? Will this person help me to explore my individuality?”
There aren’t regulations regarding the level of training a counselling psychologist working with someone with low self-esteem needs; however, there are several accredited courses, qualifications and workshops available to counsellors to improve their knowledge of a particular area. When researching therapists and therapies, take your time and get to know their background. Don’t be afraid to ask for more information if you need it.
Counselling For Low Self Esteem with Praveen Saanker
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Mr Praveen, the founder of ‘Vedicology,’ is an internationally renowned scholar on Sanatana Dharma recognised for his knowledge and application of Indian Psychology and Spirituality. He is regarded as an expert on Indian and Western Psychology, Vedic Scriptures, Indian Rites, Rituals, Customs & Traditions, Astrology, Vastu Shastra & Numerology. Aiming to be of the utmost help, Mr Praveen Saanker looks to understand your motivations and aspirations and then provide a solution accordingly. Praveen successfully integrates the principles of Vedas with modern Psychology and Business Management. Mr Praveen Saanker works with family business entrepreneurs and next-generation leaders, advising them on the family constitution and finding a subtle balance between family and business priorities.
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