What is Self Esteem?

As far back as early childhood, we begin to form an opinion of ourselves which our parents or early caregivers can influence. Someone who had encouraging caregivers, who had their achievements recognised and were not severely punished for their mistakes would likely have a high sense of self worth in adulthood. Someone who had one or more caregiver who was emotionally absent, overly critical and dismissive of achievements would likely have grown up with low self esteem.

Those with low self esteem tend to be unnecessarily critical of themselves. They believe they are not good enough, not worthy of love and affection from others and lack confidence. They find it difficult to deal with highs and lows of life and can be susceptible to depression or anxiety.

Although the roots of our sense of self worth lay in our early experiences, there can be events in our lives that change the way we view ourselves; a bereavement, a relationship breakdown or a job redundancy for example. Our sense of self worth can also fluctuate. We can have days where we feel confident and positive and days where it is hard to keep going.

Low self esteem is a problem when it affects our every day living. Below are some of the signs that you could have low self esteem. This is not an exhaustive list but these seem to be the most common signs amongst the clients I have worked with:

  • Avoiding social situations

  • Difficulty making decisions

  • Developing symptoms of depression or anxiety

  • Intrusive negative thoughts

  • Being overly critical of yourself

  • Lacking confidence

Talking to a qualified mental health professional can help you find the possible reason for your low self esteem and can help you work through your thoughts and feelings about your early childhood experiences so you can make sense of them. As a result you can see that those negative thoughts you have about yourself are simply not true. Once you let go of those beliefs, you can start to like yourself and become more confident with who you really are.

This is the first of a series of posts around the theme of low self esteem. If this post resonates with you and you think I might be able to help, please feel free to contact me via email, through one of my social media pages or using the contact form here.

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