Self Esteem Therapy: What Is It & How Does It Help?
“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” – Lucille Ball
Self-esteem is the reflection of ourselves and how we value ourselves. Esteem means the respect and admiration that we have for others. Self-esteem is the confidence and respect we have in and of ourselves. To have high self-esteem means to have a strong, positive opinion of self. This measure of self-worth is what impacts most. High and low self-esteem, however, isn’t dependent on our successes and failures.
When we feel positive about ourselves, our worth, our intelligence, our personality – we exude self-respect and confidence through our actions, thoughts, and behavior.
However, self-esteem can shift. When a person goes through a difficult time, they can feel discouraged and disappointed in themselves and their ability to handle a certain situation. Where people with high and healthy self-esteem are resilient in the face of failures, people with low and unhealthy self-esteem may face difficulties to cope with problems and can be prone to depression.
Self-esteem affects almost every aspect of our daily lives. Self-care, compassion, and how we communicate with others are all factors that influence our self-esteem.
Signs & Symptoms Of Low Self-Esteem
People with a low level of self-esteem often feel discomfort and lack confidence in themselves. They often hold negative emotions and criticize themselves. Low self-esteem can be a symptom of depression and other mental health disorders.
Here are some signs of low self-esteem that you need to look out for:
- Feeling of worthlessness towards self
- Feelings of inferiority
- Feeling that you’re unloved
- Constantly in need of approval from others
- Irrational thoughts and feeling guilt unnecessarily
- Criticizing self over small things
- Doubting yourself over your actions
- Feeling disconnected from self
Self-esteem pulls on beliefs and faith a person has in themselves. People with low self-esteem are more likely to have a negative opinion about themselves and judge themselves on small things, frequently.
Low self-esteem may also present itself through:
- False confidence
- Actions that defy authority
Low self-esteem can harm a person’s daily routine, job, and personal life. It can make them withdraw from social situations and retreat into a shell to avoid judgment, rejection, and criticism from others.
Raising a person’s self-esteem can be difficult but not impossible. A trained psychologist or counselor can help a person with low self-esteem understand and explore the reasons and causes from which their opinion of themselves stems.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one therapy technique that focuses on helping a person change or reframe their negative thinking pattern to a positive one. Compassion focused therapy (CFT) can also help as it focuses on helping a person gain compassion and learn to be gentle and caring toward self. This strategy helps create a positive emotional response regarding self-worth. Art therapy or expressive arts therapy can help those who have trouble putting their feelings and thoughts in words. This approach can help them understand how a person is feeling through the medium of dance, music, and drama.
This therapy model is often person-centered and helps a person with low self-esteem to recognize their negative thoughts and feelings and learn healthier thoughts and coping strategies to overcome the negative emotions.
Apart from seeking professional help, here are some things you can do yourself to improve your self-esteem:
- Keep a note of your negative thoughts either by keeping a journal or voice memos.
- Learn to practice mindfulness meditation or loving-kindness meditation to learn to be in the moment and stay positive.
- Learn to be more assertive when it comes to self-confidence, self-worth, and self-respect.
- Develop and learn new skills to improve your performance where you think you’re lacking.
- Practice being grateful for what you have.
- Practice regular self-care techniques.
- Learn to accept compliments from self and others and learn to ask for support and knowing you are not alone.
It is recommended that if you are facing low self-esteem issues and depression because of that, consult a professional psychologist to help you guide towards a better understanding of your mental wellness.
How Does Self-Esteem Therapy Help?
Self-esteem therapy helps you:
1. Identify and understand the source and cause of your negative emotions.
2. Process and deal with your negative emotions in a safe, non-judgmental space.
3. Learn to separate yourself from criticism and replace it with compassion toward self.
4. Notice your triggers and stressors and manage them as they appear.
Having high self-esteem can help us stay confident in ourselves and others, compassionate toward ourselves and others, and respect ourselves as well as others. It helps us stay connected to ourselves and recognize our self-worth. But low self-esteem can have a negative influence on our thoughts, behaviors, and actions.
Low self-esteem can make us criticize our actions, thoughts, and feelings. It can make us feel worthless and unloving. This can result in poor job performance, poor life satisfaction, and poor relationships with others and ourselves.
Self-esteem therapy uses CBT, art therapy, and psychodynamic therapy models to help recognize, understand, and change our thinking and behavior patterns. If you or your loved one displays signs and symptoms of low self-esteem, consult a therapist to help provide guidance and support.
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Stay positive, be gentle with yourself, and most importantly – keep loving yourself.