What is self-esteem?
Self-esteem is the belief we have of ourselves.
A healthy self-esteem makes us feel positive about ourselves and life in general. This helps to cope better with life’s ups and downs.
When our self-esteem is low, we see ourselves and life in a critical and negative light. Coping with life’s challenges is difficult because we don’t believe in ourselves.
What causes low self-esteem?
Low self-esteem begins in childhood. Teachers, friends, siblings, parents send us messages about ourselves, both positive and negative. Even the media affects how we feel about ourselves.
Repeated negative messages that you aren’t good enough stay with you. This is because our beliefs are formed from emotions – not thoughts.
How does low self-esteem affect us?
- We hide ourselves away from social situations
- We stop trying new things
- We avoid things we find challenging.
- We are perfectionists
Short term this will make you feel safe. Longer term it reinforces your doubts and fears and the belief that the only way to cope is by avoiding things.
Living with low self-esteem can harm your mental health. It can lead to problems like depression and anxiety.
You may also develop unhelpful habits such as smoking and drinking too much as a way of coping.
How to have a healthy self-esteem
We have low self-esteem now because of what happened when we were growing up. Our beliefs, what we think and feel about ourselves thus are a nasty unconscious habit. We need to bring those old beliefs into consciousnesses so that we can develop new ways of seeing ourselves and grow.
Mindfulness practices help us to be more conscious of ourselves. Read “Full Catastrophe Living” by Jon Kabat-Zin and hear what he says about it here
- Note negative thoughts and write them down
- Ask yourself when you first started to think these thoughts
- Write down evidence that challenges these beliefs. You may tell yourself that you are “too stupid” to enrol for a course or that “nobody cares about you”. Then you could write “I am really good at quizzes” or “I have a really good friend that keeps in touch”.
- Write down positive things about yourself such as “I am a great cook” or “I am trustworthy”
- Write down positive things that other people say about you.
- Add to your list regularly and put it somewhere you can see it. That way you can keep reminding yourself that you’re OK.
- Change occurs by consistently committing to noticing and challenging negative beliefs.
Other ways to improve low self-esteem
- Do things that you enjoy. Whether it’s cooking, singing or doing crossword puzzles we tend to enjoy doing the things we’re good at. This helps to boost your mood.
- Surround yourself with people who are positive and appreciate you.
- Start saying “no”. People with low self-esteem have a tendency to please others. You can become overburdened, resentful and angry.
- Give yourself a challenge. Set yourself a goal to try new things. Achieving your goals will help to increase your self-esteem.
Professional help to overcome low self-esteem
Hypnosis is a powerful tool to change beliefs. It gives us access to the subconscious emotional mind where beliefs are created. We can reframe those out of date negative messages and rehearse new behaviours.
I am a Master Hypnotherapist and have helped many people change how they think, feel and behave. I offer online sessions and face-to-face consultations in Swindon, Wiltshire.
Book a no obligation 30-minute remote consultation here
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