Self-esteem is an individual’s subjective sense of self-worth. These subjective beliefs can affect all aspects of one’s life.
Self-Esteem – Definition And Its Impact
Self-esteem refers to our perception of ourselves. Ideally, you should “esteem” and think highly of yourself. The value we place on ourselves has a direct impact on our life experiences. However, whether you have low or high self-esteem isn’t determined by how successful you are or whether you’ve encountered failures.
Your evaluation of your worth will not only affect how you think about yourself but also influence your relationship with others. For instance, if you’re confident in who you are, it will show. You’ll have a high level of self-esteem, and you’ll expect it from those around you.
That said, you should have a healthy self-esteem. This means being able to accept that you have strengths and weaknesses as opposed to being conceited. A person who has very high self-esteem that isn’t in line with reality doesn’t have a healthy sense of self-worth. This inflated sense of personal worth is common among individuals with narcissistic tendencies. Such people tend to brag and exhibit arrogant behavior.
That said, a person’s self-esteem isn’t always the same. It can fluctuate from high to low and vice versa, depending on what one’s going through. For instance, illness, grief, divorce, or unemployment can influence one’s self-esteem.
Nonetheless, if a person has healthy self-esteem, they’ll recognize the low seasons and bounce back from the situation. In contrast, people with low self-esteem have trouble facing life-challenges and may easily get into depression during hard times.
We must evaluate our own sense of self-worth because self-esteem informs:
- Our self-care practices;
- What we allow in relationships;
- Whether or not we speak up for ourselves;
- Our ability to uphold personal integrity;
- Whether or we go after our dreams and pursue our goals;
- Our well-being;
- Our success in our careers;
- How satisfied we are in relationships;
- What kind of parents we become;
- How long our marriages last.
Can You Improve Your Self-Esteem?
Yes. You can learn how to perceive yourself through different interactions with people from childhood to adulthood. Most people develop healthy self-esteem during their early stages of development through positive reinforcement.
In the early years of development, our interactions with our loved ones and people we hold in high esteem greatly impact our sense of self-worth. However, although a child learns how to perceive themselves through different experiences, including school, the greatest impact is through their interactions with those closest to them.
Suppose a child doesn’t feel unconditionally loved by a parent, sibling, or friend. In that case, they may develop low self-esteem, which in most cases, leads to more serious issues like anxiety and depression.
How Do You Know You Have Low Self-Esteem?
There are tell-tale signs of low self-esteem. For starters, when you have negative self-perception, you tend to put yourself in the back banner. Everyone’s needs, opinions, and ideas seem far more important than ours. We also have the tendency to deny our strengths and only on our weaknesses and areas we fall short.
Not to mention, we tend to critically compare ourselves to people we consider more attractive and successful than us. Often times, low self-esteem is accompanied by risk aversion. We avoid risky ventures due to the fear of failing.
A therapist looks for the following signs and symptoms during self-esteem therapy sessions:
- A feeling of worthlessness;
- Feeling inferior to others;
- Feeling like no one loves or wants you around;
- Always needing people’s approval;
- Criticizing oneself and others;
- Doubting oneself;
- Fear of intimacy;
- Staying in abusive or relationships where love is one-sided;
- Difficulty accepting compliments;
- Difficulty setting boundaries and speaking up;
- Envy and jealousy of others;
- Starting and never finishing projects;
- Denying your beauty and strengths.
Should You See A Therapist To Improve My Self-Esteem?
Absolutely! Therapy can help you change your opinion about you, your behavior and the beliefs you hold about different things. Counseling is crucial because we develop negative beliefs about ourselves overtime from childhood. Therefore, you need the guidance of a licensed therapist to guide you because it’s not an on and off switch. It takes time to develop positive self-image and opinions.
Leaving low self-esteem untreated isn’t an option. If you don’t seek professional help, it may lead to severe mental issues. Individuals with negative self-perception may end up having depression or anxiety. Even worse, it may increase their risk of self-harm. If you notice that your perception of self-worth isn’t healthy, and it’s affecting your relationships, it may help to see a therapist. In most cases, even if only one person gets counseling, it can increase the overall relationship satisfaction for both parties.
Therapy that aims at treating low self-esteem is dubbed “person-centric,” which means the therapist will help you work out your condition from the inside out. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a crucial part of the treatment process. You’ll also learn how to do away with feelings of pain and begin taking constructive actions.
Therapy also allows you to identify your low self-esteem triggers. For instance, if you’re self-conscious about going to the beach because you don’t like how you look in a bathing suit, you may realize that this is a self-imposed limitation. You’ll also learn to view the person in the mirror more objectively, which is a powerful way of overcoming negative self-perception.
Seeking Reliable Help For Low Self-Esteem
Finding a professional psychotherapist or joining a cognitive-behavioral group will prove invaluable for treating your low self-esteem. However, there are certain steps you can take to change how you see yourself. These include:
- Monitoring how you talk to yourself;
- Taking an assertiveness class;
- Engaging in mindfulness meditation practices to improve your mental health;
- Taking risks and trying things you believe you can’t;
- Keeping a gratitude journal;
- Challenge your negative beliefs;
- Take a break;
- Exercise and work on improving your health;
- Learn how to stand up for yourself;
- Say no to staying in abusive relationships.
Get professional help now. If you’re ready to improve your self-value, self-love and life, professional help is the way to go. An expert opinion will help you identify the areas you struggle with. Take time to compare different specialists. Find out their patients’ opinions and evaluate how you feel about the therapist. Find one that works for you. It’s your life, after all. Therefore, you should seek the best service.