Updated: Oct 27, 2021
We all experience a lack of confidence and times when we may not feel good about ourselves. But, when low self-esteem lingers and becomes a long-term issue, it can have a detrimental effect on our mental health and day-to-day lives.
Importance of the Health of Our Self-Esteem
Self-esteem is the way we feel about ourselves. It's the confidence we have with our own worth and our abilities, our level of self-respect.
When we have healthy self-esteem, we feel good about ourselves and life in general. These feelings enable us to handle life's ups and downs with resilience. However, when we have low self-esteem, we tend to see our life and ourselves in a more critical, negative way. This can make us feel less able to take on the challenges that life throws at us.
Causes of Low Self-Esteem
The health of our self-esteem usually begins in childhood. From infancy up to 9 years old, we are in a state of being highly receptive to the positive and negative messages about ourselves sent to us by our parents, siblings, friends, teachers and the media.
These messages become our beliefs that take up residence in our subconscious mind and frame the perception we have of ourselves. While the supportive beliefs enhance our lives, the unsupportive ones can limit our life experience and our well-being.
Perhaps a belief that you are not good enough stayed with you, resulting in finding it difficult to live up to other people's expectation or to your own expectations.
Stress and difficult life events, such as serious illness or grief over the loss of a loved one can also have a negative effect on self-esteem.
Effects of Low Self-Esteem
Low self-esteem can limit how you experience life. You avoid social situations, stop trying new things, and avoid activities you find challenging.
Avoiding challenging and uncomfortable situations might make you feel safe in the moment. In the long term, however, it reinforces your underlying doubts and fears. It teaches you the debilitating behavior that the only way to cope is by avoiding things. This perpetuating cycle can lead to other issues such as anxiety and depression.
Ways to Recover Your Self-Esteem
You may have low self-esteem now because of what happened to you when you were growing up, but you can develop new ways of seeing yourself at any age.
Here are some techniques to detox low self-esteem and help you feel better about yourself:
Be Supportive of Yourself: Be kind when you feel like negatively judging yourself. When you catch yourself being self-critical, stop and think what you'd say to a friend in a similar situation. Then, say it out loud to yourself.
Acknowledge What You're Good At: We're all good at something. Whether it's drawing, organizing, cooking, being a friend or good with animals. We tend to enjoy doing what we're good at, so making a list of things that you enjoy can help you identify your talents (big or small). Acknowledge these talents and your ability.
Identify Unsupportive Beliefs About Yourself: Identify limiting beliefs you have about yourself, then challenge or change them.
You may tell yourself you're "not smart enough" to apply for a new job, for instance, or that "nobody cares" about you. Start becoming aware of these unsupportive thoughts and write them down.
Next, write some evidence that challenges these limiting beliefs, such as, "I'm good at solving brain teaser puzzles." or "My friend texts me every week." You can also write down positive aspects of yourself or good things that other people say about you. It's helpful to write 3-5 positive aspects every day.
You can also replace limiting beliefs with supportive and self-enhancing beliefs in your subconscious through energy psychology modalities like EFT or PSYCH-K®. The processes in these methods are simple, safe and effective in creating a new belief in the subconscious so that you can authentically look at yourself in a different way; feel differently about yourself.
Build Positive Relationships: You may notice that certain people negatively affect your self-esteem. Try spending less time with them or let them know how you feel about their words or actions. Fostering relationships with people who are positive and appreciate you helps tremendously in boosting your self-esteem.
Give Yourself a Challenge: Start small and simple. We all feel afraid or anxious to do things at times. People with healthy self-esteem do not allow these feelings to prevent them from trying new things or taking on challenges. Set yourself a goal, such as joining an exercise class, going to a social event or even seeing a movie on your own. Achieving simple, small goals will help to increase your self-esteem.
Remember, you can develop new ways of seeing yourself and re-discover your self-esteem. Small steps. Know that you don't have to do this on your own. If you feel you need support, contact me or any of the links below.