Low Self Esteem: A Common but Treatable Problem

Low self esteem is such a common problem in our society, that, if it were a mental health diagnosis, I believe that it would be far and away the most common diagnosis around. Think about what is connected to it: depression, anxiety, insecurity, self-doubt, body image issues, and so on.
Please hear this: If you are living with low self-image, there is something you can do about it. This page contains tools and resources that are effective in overcoming this condition.

A commonly co-occurring issue with low self-esteem is guilt. If you have major issues with guilt, and you think that this is a major reason for some of your low self-esteem, read more here

What are the Components of High Self-Esteem?

As an alternative to all of the negatives that are associated with poor self-esteem, consider these personal qualities:

  • Confidence
  • Courage
  • Happiness
  • Serenity

Sounds much better, right? Too good to be true? Well, my experience tells me it's possible for most people to raise their self-image considerably if they apply themselves to genuine self-improvement for a sustained period of time. 

I look at self-esteem as being on a continuum. Let’s say from 1-100. No matter where you currently are at on the continuum, It IS possible for you to move along the scale to a higher level of self-esteem. By examining your thoughts and feelings, as well as becoming clear on the types of thought patterns you’d like instead, you can lift your self-image. Other related tools like systematic relaxation, visualization, and goal setting can also help tremendously in this effort.

In addition, self-care is very important in being a healthy, balanced individual. Obviously, this type of balance will help someone in their quest to address low self-esteem. More on self-care here.

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Practical Tools to Address Low Self Esteem

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based, time-tested model that effectively helps many individuals overcome low self image. Originally developed by Dr. Aaron Beck and associates, this powerful model, and related models such as the “TEAM Therapy” approach by Dr. David Burns (author of the famous self-help book “Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy”) have been very helpful to thousands of individuals in overcoming self-image problems. These approaches are available to you online and in books (such as Feeling Good). Furthermore, many practitioners--including myself--are very adept at utilizing CBT to help their clients. If you are persistent and focused, you can make headway with your self-image! 

This link contains hands-on techniques (from the well-known and resourceful Dr. David Burns) that you can begin using right now in order to address maladaptive thinking patterns and integrate healthy ones. 

If you struggle with social anxiety in particular, check out this page for ideas and tools. 

What Do You Believe About Yourself?

In order to successfully address low self esteem, one must become aware of the thoughts and beliefs we currently have about ourselves. Therefore, it is a great idea to engage in one or more of the following to increase your self-awareness:

  • Counseling. An experienced professional counselor can help you to maximize the impact of your change efforts, as well as consider any other issues that may need addressing. More on what to expect from counseling on this page.
  • Journaling. In particular, write about the types of things that you have strong emotions about. Getting them onto paper can give you a different perspective
  • Meditation or Yoga. Once considered the realm of gurus, these are now recognized as effective techniques for balanced everyday living. YouTube alone has hundreds of guided meditation sessions that you can try out. Some last a few minutes, others last hours. 10-20 minutes of consistent daily practice can reap huge benefits. More here
  • Visualization. Once again, this is not rocket science. Consider this simple yet powerful visualization. There is abundant evidence supporting the use of consistent visualization, affirmation, and specific goals to positively influence our self image. THE KEY: These must be done consistently, over time, in order to achieve lasting results.

Unresolved anger can also be a major issue behind low self-esteem (and even depression). Many persons with low self-esteem also struggle with how to express their anger. Click here for tips and tools on coping with unexpressed or unresolved anger. 

These tools, coupled with persistence, can take you a long, long way in your quest for erasing low self esteem and engaging in a process of empowerment that can lead you down a very fulfilling path!

If you feel stuck, see a counselor. Feel free to contact me for a consultation at any point in your efforts.

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