It is important to get an understanding of what self-esteem is as it is often confused with confidence. We can be high in confidence and low is self-esteem.
Self-esteem is a judgement about our own personal value – the degree to which we believe ourselves to be worthwhile. It has a major impact on our feelings and behaviours. Although self-esteem can change from day to day it usually stays within a narrow range, however sometimes a significant event causes us to re-evaluate our worth
At the heart of low self-esteem lies negative beliefs these are reflected in many aspects of how we operate daily and can have a considerable impact on all areas of our lives. The role of self-esteem varies. It can be an aspect or a consequence of current problems, or vulnerability factor for a whole range of difficulties. Whichever role it occupies the extent to which it disrupts daily life varies from person to person.
Low self-esteem is a common issue for most people however, some people have also had trauma, anxiety, neglect, bullying, or lacked nurturing and praise. By acknowledging, recognising the small steps taken each day, the journey you have travelled on your own path as an individual and not comparing yourself to others will indeed begin to raise your value of self.
Working with young people who have low self-esteem and anxiety. I have seen an increase of both. I put this down to the pandemic and the impact of social isolation increased fears, phobias, pressure to perform, and negative thoughts.
It is hard for teenagers today as they are often questioning themselves on whether they are good enough not seeing their value in society and sometimes within their family of origin. Valuing our young people and affirming them for their progress is so important as well as recognising the challenges they face day to day. There appears to be a lot of pressure on teenagers to perform even in the most difficult of circumstances with having to do schoolwork online including lessons, finding the motivation to work at home alone without the support of their peers and the classroom.
I work with teenagers using mindfulness techniques, for anxiety, supporting them with worksheets on self-esteem (see below) and building their worth which has shown a considerable improvement on the outcomes of their therapy. In fact, some of the young people I have worked with over the past year have only had 10-12 sessions stating that they feel they have the tools to practice and support their ongoing development.
Using CBT techniques/worksheets, encouraging daily mindfulness, I am informed has improved not only their wellbeing but their value increasing their self-esteem. Within these practices, I also work creatively, introduce structure, healthy eating, exercise, and relaxation which all has a part to play in building self-esteem.
Self-esteem is a subject I feel passionate about and in some of the clients I have worked with have not only reduced their anxiety but also increased their confidence as well as they state giving them choices in feeling more able/capable to make their own decisions.
Valuing ourselves allows us to not only achieve our goals but have the relationships/friendships we deserve to have. Appreciating ourselves for who we are and how we are, connecting with ourselves on a spiritual level can enhance our own value and belief of self.
Everything is taken at a step-by-step basis going at the pace that is right for the individual for them choosing what is useful and what is not. Identifying their path and the steps that they chose to take to improve and acknowledge the importance of self-esteem in their lives.
I am at present writing a book on the subject sharing my experiences and client stories which include worksheets for people to use to gain an understanding of their own self-esteem as well as its impact on their lives. The title is "Shine your Light" I will be advertising it on my website and facebook page.
Complete the following exercise to get an idea of how your self-esteem is currently.
When answering the questions below please answer either Yes, No or sometimes.
1. My experience in life has taught me to value and appreciate myself?
2. I have a good opinion of myself.
3. I treat myself well and look after myself properly?
4. I like myself.
5. I give as much weight to my qualities, skills, assets and strengths as I do my weaknesses and flaws?
6. I feel good about myself.
7. I feel I am entitled to other people’s attention and time?
8. I believe I am entitled to the good things in life.
9. My expectations of myself are no more rigid or exacting than my expectations of others?
10. I am kind and encouraging towards myself, rather than self-critical?
Draw a circle around the number of statements that are true to you
1. I have specific goals that I want to achieve
2. I enjoy doing things for myself without encouragement or praise
3. I feel free to express my true emotions
4. I enjoy doing my own thinking and making my own decisions
5. I can admit to mistakes or defeats without feeling put down
6. I can take differences of opinion without feeling put down
7. I can accept a gift or compliment without fumbling around and feeling I have to explain or give something in return
8. I can laugh at myself without feeling degraded
9. I feel free to express my options and convictions even when they differ from others
10. I can be alone and not feel isolated
11. I can let others be right or wrong without feeling I must correct them
12. I can appreciate and enjoy the achievements of others
13. I can tell a story about myself without tending to brag or build myself up
14. It is important that I connect with others
15. I welcome new challenges and face them with confidence
16. I take responsibility for my own actions without blaming the circumstances or other people
17. I make friends easily and naturally
18. I tend to trust other people
19. I can identify several strengths that I have
20. It does not bother me to ask for assistance when I need help
21. I tend not to worry or fret about what the further holds
Negative or positive self-image creates self-fulfilling prophecy
To grow in esteem and develop a positive self-image you need to begin to
To help you feel better about yourself you will need to begin to let go of:
The key to transforming low self-esteem has 2 parts. The first part is through initially acknowledging that self-esteem is eroded the second part is to sufficiently rebuild self-esteem. To enable this, you need to make use of the fundamental tools identified below.
The second part is concerned with the dialogue we have with ourselves; High self-esteem is maintained if you feel yourself to be an effective and relevant human being.
If your inner dialogue with yourself is constantly telling yourself” you are stupid…. That was a horrible thing to say “nobody wants to know a person like me” I cannot do anything well…… Then poor self-esteem is guaranteed.
If you want to have good self-esteem you will need to work hard to ensure the dialogue you have with yourself is constantly of a positive nature. No longer using put downs! You may find it hard or uncomfortable to start with change always is! Unless you are prepared to change your habits and consciously give yourself positive messages you will find it difficult to gain good self-esteem.
Negative message Positive message