Self-esteem is the idea one has about themselves. When we have healthy self-esteem, we have more positive thoughts and feelings about ourselves. However, when our self-esteem is low, we tend to have more critical thoughts about ourselves and hence see ourselves in a more negative way.
Low self-esteem can result in low confidence which may cause you to isolate yourself from social situations, discourage you from trying new things and avoid things that you find challenging. However, these are all short-term solutions which can be detrimental in the long term as it reinforces your unhelpful thoughts and fears. The long-term effect of this is that you are stuck in a cycle of avoidance which can lead to other mental health problems or other negative coping strategies.
Low self-esteem usually develops at a young age. Throughout childhood and adulthood, we receive positive and negative messages from everyone around us from our parents and teachers to the media. Social Media has propelled us to compare ourselves in all areas of our life from the jobs we hold to the way we look, setting unrealistic expectations that leave us feeling insecure, and losing sight of our own qualities and uniqueness. These factors cause us to view ourselves negatively. You may have also experienced difficulty living up to your expectations of yourself or expectations set of you. Other issues like stress and difficult life events (e.g. serious illness or loss) can also negatively affect your self-esteem.
Treatment for low Self-Esteem
Therapy can help with improving your self-esteem. Specifically, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can be helpful. Through therapy, you can identify the negative beliefs you have about yourself and challenge them in a safe setting. Therapy will also help you with engaging in self-compassion and challenging your negative thoughts. It can also be helpful for you to recognise what you’re good at and build a positive relationship that makes you feel good about yourself. We have several clincians who can help you, including Lynne Atherton, Vicky Harris-Little, Anita Bartholomeusz and Sheyla Hardy