What is Self-Esteem?
Self-esteem refers to the way in which we view ourselves. It encompasses both how we think, and how we feel about ourselves.
When we have healthy levels of self-esteem, we tend to view ourselves positively (e.g. ‘I have many good qualities’) and feel good about ourselves.
However, when we have low levels of self-esteem, we tend to view ourselves negatively (e.g. ‘I am no good at all’, ‘I feel useless all the time’) and feel ashamed, despair and even hatred towards ourselves.
Many individuals struggle with issues of low self-esteem. It is often a heavy emotional burden, as one tends to feel depressed, ashamed, disappointed or hopeless because of the way they think about themselves. They may also experience anxiety frequently, because of constant doubts of whether they are capable of performing at work, in school, or in their relationships.
Signs of Low Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence
Individuals with low self-esteem tend to:
- Make self-critical remarks (e.g. ‘I am no good at all’)
- Believe that they are unattractive, worthless, incapable, unimportant or a burden
- Be unable to accept compliments
- Assume blame easily (e.g. ‘This happened because I was just too stupid to be able to do it right’)
- Fear rejection from others, assumes that others do not like him or her
- Have difficulties in saying no to others
- Set inappropriately low goals for self
- Be unable to identify positive things about self
- Be uncomfortable in social situations
Seeking Help for Self-Esteem Issues
Since self-esteem refers to the way in which we think and feel about ourselves, it is something that can be changed. We can improve our self-confidence by paying attention to and changing the negative thoughts that we have about ourselves. Other ways are through achieving small successes, forming positive relationships, and building resilience in the face of everyday challenges.
Here are some ways in which you can seek help for self-esteem issues:
01 | Counselling
Counselling, or psychotherapy, is a process that allows individuals to gain insight into their issues through having structured conversations. Through the process of counselling, the individual is able to identify and change the negative thoughts and beliefs of self that he or she has. The individual can also work with the counsellor on other goals, such as gaining small successes, forming positive relationships, and building resilience in the face of everyday challenges to increase their confidence in themselves.
02 | Self-Help Resources
Ten Days to Self-Esteem! by Dr. David Burns is a step by step guide to identifying your negative thoughts, with clear, actionable strategies to changing them. The book is based on the principles of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
The Six Pillars of Self Esteem is written by Nathaniel Branden, the leading pioneer in the field of self-esteem. In this book, he shares about what self-esteem is, and the six pillars that provide for the foundation of self-esteem. The book also provides concrete guidelines to building confidence in ourselves.
What to Say When You Talk to Yourself focuses on reversing the effects of negative self-talk. The book teaches us ways of talking to ourselves that allows us to enjoy a successful, fulfilling life.
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