What is low self-esteem?
Self-esteem reflects your evaluation of your own worth; the positive and negative feelings you have about yourself.
You may base your self-esteem on being successful. You might feel defective, inferior or believe there's something innately wrong with you. It's hard not to compare ourselves with others and feel like we're falling short.
You may also base your sense of worth on being loved and cared for by others. You may worry a lot about what other people think and believe you are inadequate, unloveable or will be "found out". You might think others will reject you and watch for signs this is happening.
Low self-esteem can rob you of full self-expression and ease in relationships. It might be hard to express yourself or ask for what you want for fear of upsetting the people in your life.
It's hard to feel good when that self-critical voice keeps getting in the way.
What is unconditional self-esteem?
David Burns, M.D. from the Feeling Good Institute writes:
"[Unconditional self-esteem is when] you decide you are worthwhile and lovable just because you are human. It is simply a decision you have made to love and accept yourself, just as you might decide to love your child–as a gift, or because your child is hurting and needs your love and comforting, and not because your child has “earned” your love through some accomplishment, like getting A’s in school."
How do I develop unconditional self-esteem?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the most researched treatment proven to be effective in helping build self-esteem.
Your thoughts create your moods.
"Cognitive restructuring" means recognizing unhelpful thinking patterns and replacing them with more positive and productive thinking patterns. The focus for self-esteem is identifying negative thoughts about yourself and identifying distorted thinking, such as "all-or-nothing thinking" or "labeling".
People with poor self-esteem often struggle to ask for what they want, say no to requests, or share their true feelings. Compassionate Communication skills-building is a method of helping people learn to identify and skillfully express their feelings and needs and get what they need through powerful requests.
Changing negative thinking patterns is not easy but absolutely possible. You can learn to think about yourself and your life in a new way.
You can experience greater self-esteem and improve your mood.
When you're ready to do the work to make those shifts, you can book a free 15-minute phone consult to see if therapy can help you right now.