Although it isn’t a mental health condition in itself, low self esteem feeds into a wide range of conditions such as depression and social anxiety. Self esteem is a bit like a shield which protects you from the everyday stresses of life. If you lose a job, go through a tough break-up, perform poorly at an important event or go through any sort of rough patch, self esteem helps you dust yourself off, count it as a minor setback and get going again. Low self esteem leaves you exposed, and any criticism, stress or perceived failure strikes to your core and can lead to more serious problems. Anybody struggling with low self esteem can try self-help techniques or talk to a counsellor.
The Cycle of Low Self Esteem
Low self esteem can be so damaging because it is a self-perpetuating cycle. Imagine somebody has to give a speech at a family member’s wedding. An individual with low self esteem will assume the worst because of their intrinsic beliefs that they aren’t interesting and nobody will care what they have to say. As he or she stands up to speak, these niggling doubts and negative thoughts take hold, and as a result the speech is delivered uncomfortably and uneasily. It doesn’t go well, which entrenches the negative thought patterns more deeply and means that the next time the individual is asked to speak in public, he or she will say no. As the negative stimulus is avoided, the underlying thoughts are allowed to run rampant. It’s these thought patterns and avoiding behaviours that a therapist has to identify and break down to improve their self esteem.
What Causes Low Self Esteem?
There are many different potential causes to low self esteem, and it’s hard to pin the issue down to any specific event or trauma. However, as is often the case with psychological conditions, experiences in childhood are usually extremely significant. As a child, you haven’t built up much protective self-esteem, so any negative experiences have a much greater effect. If your physical and emotional needs aren’t met in childhood or you are emotionally or physically abused, this can lead you to think that you aren’t worthy of love and are unimportant. Experiences as an adult can also cause low self esteem, such as being unemployed, the death of a loved one or a period of debilitating illness. A counsellor will help you identify the root causes of the issue and address them in a healthier way.
What Can I Do About Low Self Esteem?
Self-help is often suitable to address self esteem issues. Many people experience the problem in a mild to moderate form, and taking simple steps like identifying the underlying beliefs which contribute to your low self esteem and tackling them one by one can help immensely. By finding contrary examples to your underlying beliefs, you show that your opinion of yourself isn’t actually accurate. Then by setting yourself new challenges, focusing on the things you like about yourself and being more assertive you can break out of the cycle of low self esteem. However, these measures aren’t always effective, and in these cases psychotherapy or counselling can be extremely beneficial.
If you or your loved one is struggling with low self esteem, we’re here to help. Most people will have their self esteem rocked at some points during life, but anybody who can’t break out of the negative cycle should consider talking to a therapist. You’ll work through your issues together, in a supportive, open environment, and learn to believe in yourself again. If you’re interested in finding help for low self esteem, we’ll have a chat with you to discuss your options, and can conduct assessments to determine your requirements. Getting help from a counsellor can give you that boost you need to take control of your life and start moving towards your goals. Stop by our Luton offices or get in touch over the phone today and see how we can help you!
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