SELF ESTEEM COUNSELING
Low self-esteem can become a vicious circle. For example, if you don’t feel good about yourself, you might withdraw from people and give out unfriendly vibes. You might not look people in the eye, smile or initiate conversations. This kind of behavior might make you appear cold and distant, and as a result, people might not make the effort to be friendly toward you.
You might then detect unfriendly vibes from people, and your belief that you’re not very likable would be reinforced. This is called a “self-fulfilling prophecy” because your low self-esteem affects your behavior towards others, which in turn causes people to be distant toward you and reinforce your original beliefs about yourself.
BUILDING HEALTHY SELF ESTEEM
There are many benefits associated with having healthy self-esteem—feeling good, taking up appropriate challenges, relating to people as equals and feeling relaxed in daily life situations. Good self-esteem isn’t something that you can achieve overnight. You need to work on it over time, and sometimes therapy can help. This is particularly important in situations where you’re faced with setbacks or difficulties. Here are a few reminders to help you build and maintain a healthy self-esteem.
Accept yourself. Every one of us has faults and weaknesses—this is part of being human. The key to health self-esteem is self-acceptance. This means accepting yourself as you are without condemning yourself for your perceived shortcomings.
Avoid labeling yourself. When you don’t reach a goal or perform as well as you hoped, it’s easy to label yourself as ”bad” in some way. For example, you might say things like I’m an idiot. This is a form of labeling. Labeling yourself is a negative way of thinking, because it relies on an over-generalization.
Recognize your strengths and weaknesses. Having healthy self-esteem means that you are able to feel good about yourself even though you’re not perfect..
Set goals. Although it’s important to practice self-acceptance, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t aim to improve some things about yourself or your life. Sometimes it’s helpful to set goals for things that you’d like to achieve, or to change things that you aren’t happy with.
Be objective about situations. When you personalize an event or situation, you take responsibility for things that aren’t your fault, or you blame yourself for negative outcomes without taking all factors into account.
Avoid comparisons. Some people are in the habit of comparing themselves to others. They judge themselves on things like their looks, their grades, their friends, their achievements and even their personality. There will always be people who seem to be doing better than you are, and if you compare yourself to them, you’ll end up always feeling unsatisfied with yourself.
Communicate assertively. The way you communicate to other people gives them information on how you feel about yourself.
Misti Luke, LCSW Private Practice offers individual psychotherapy focusing on self-esteem aimed at helping individuals discover, acknowledge and appreciate his/her internal human worth.