What is self-esteem?
Self-esteem is the way people think about themselves and how worthwhile they feel. Psychologists use the word self-esteem to describe whether someone likes them self or not. … Someone with low self-esteem might think that they are bad at things and are worthless.
Having a good self-esteem is often associated with feeling happy with few, if any, insecurities. Although, self-esteem can’t really be based on any single feeling because it’s always changing. However, a secure, positive self-esteem can be rooted in accepting all our feelings – whether pleasant or painful.
We all aspire to be happy. However, when we give favour to positive feelings over the negative, we do in fact, damage our self-esteem. That’s because, avoiding more difficult feelings means we are subconsciously telling ourselves that they are not okay to have, and we are unable to tolerate them.
Telling ourselves that what we are feeling is not okay is the same as telling ourselves that we are not okay.
For example; Sally likes to think of herself as a positive, happy person. One morning, she saw her friend across the road, and she shouted hello, but and her friend didn’t answer or look over. Thinking that her friend just ignored her, Sally starts to feel bad about herself. By privileging her happy-self, she not only suffers the hurt of what she reads into her friends’ behaviour, but she also experiences a blow to her self-esteem for not being able to maintain her happy demeanour.
Steps to improve a low self-esteem
Accept your Feelings
The one thing we can do to ensure our self-esteem remains stable is to accept all our feelings as they arise – no matter what they are. This doesn’t mean that we must act upon them, feelings can inform our actions, but we don’t have to let them dictate what we do.
Accepting feelings means we acknowledge what they are and how they feel in our body. And then just accept them as just another aspect of being human. Although, sharing our feelings with friends, family or a therapist can be a useful way of assuring that we are giving them the attention they deserve.
When we base our self-esteem on positive emotions only, we are subjecting our self-esteem to the fluctuations of feelings that we don’t really have any control over.
Accepting all our feelings without judgment is something we can practice and improve over time. Acceptance is within our control. We may not be successful straight away, but we can work at it and will value the effort we are making.
Aspirations are important because they give direction and meaning to our lives. However, when we aspire towards something unrealistic or unattainable, we set ourselves up to fail. And although failure is an important part of trying something new, consistently failing to achieve our goals can be damaging to our self-esteem. Therefore, it’s important we set stretching but achievable goals.
Professional help for a low self-esteem
Counselling, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy CBT for low self-esteem can help you understand how unhelpful or irrational thinking habits you may have adopted could be contributing to a low self-esteem.
If you would like to make an appointment to see one of our therapists to talk through ways to improve a low self-esteem, then please contact us at CBT and Counselling Kent today. https://www.cbtandcounsellingkent.co.uk/contact-us/