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So many of us go through our lives feeling insecure and less than.
Do you have trouble making decisions, and then second guess them? Do you put yourself down when you're talking with your friends and coworkers? Do you constantly criticize yourself in your head?
Maybe you have difficulty starting new or challenging projects because you're afraid that you will fail yet again. You can't help but be frustrated with yourself because you just can't seem to ever meet any of your goals. And when someone gives you a compliment, you just know that they're wrong! How can they possibly believe anything good about you when you know that you are totally worthless.
All of That Negative Self-Talk
You tell yourself that you're not good enough, that others are better than you, thinner than you, smarter than you, or better looking. You notice a constant stream of negative thoughts running through your head telling you these things over and over again. You worry that you won't measure up and that everyone around you can see how inadequate you are. This negative self-talk serves to bring you down and to de-motivate you to make positive changes in your life!
Boundaries and Self-Esteem
Do you spend your life trying to make everyone else happy only to discover at the end of the day how drained and unhappy you feel? This is an issue of setting appropriate boundaries between yourself and others so you're not constantly feeling taken advantage of. You can learn how to do this without destroying your relationships, and you will find that the better you become at setting and reinforcing strong boundaries, the more people will treat you with respect. This will increase your sense of self-worth, and improve your self-esteem.
Self-Esteem and Work
Studies now prove that your low self-esteem is in fact negatively affecting you at work. People pick up on subtle signs that you are giving off and assume that you are less capable of doing the work. Because of this, you might be passed over for prime projects, promotions, and even raises. In fact, white-collar workers with low self-esteem make an average of $28,000 less per year than their counterparts with high self-esteem, costing them approximately $1.12 million in income over a 40-year career.
Imposter Syndrome is a way that low self-esteem might affect you in the workplace. It affects mostly high-achieving people, especially women, who have a difficult time seeing their skills and their accomplishments. You might think, "If only they knew how totally incompetent I really am! Then they wouldn't say those nice things about me! Hell, they'd probably fire me". You doubt your abilities, your skills, and ultimately your competence. You certainly can't believe any compliments given to you. And once you start doubting yourself, then comes the anxiety following close behind!
You Are Not Alone
You might be surprised to know that many, many people share your problem of low self-esteem. In fact, it is estimated that about 85% of adults and teens throughout the world have low self-esteem at some point in their life. That is an astounding number of people! And if low self-esteem wasn't bad enough, it is thought to be the root problem behind many other issues, or at least to contribute to them. This would include problems such as substance abuse, eating disorders, anxiety, and depression. It is present in almost all suicides.
Getting Your Life Back
Your self-esteem can and will fluctuate throughout your life. There will be times when you feel quite confident, then other times when you don't trust yourself at all. Low self-esteem will usually have its roots in your early childhood, but there are definitely things you can do now to make it better!
Some of the Treatments We
Might Use in Our Work Together...
Person-centered therapy uses the therapeutic relationship that develops between you and your therapist to help you reach your potential. Attention is paid to forming relationships built on empathy and "unconditional positive regard". You can learn to like yourself and trust yourself better within this relationship that you form with the therapist.
CBT or Cognitive Behavior Therapy helps you to become aware of any negative or irrational thoughts you are having that might be limiting you in some way. You are then taught different techniques to change these beliefs. This can help you to quiet that inner critic that is always nagging at you!
Mindfulness techniques can help you to better accept yourself without negative judgments. Mindfulness practices can work really well when combined with CBT because they can help you to become more aware of your thoughts and feelings. They also can help you to reduce stress and to increase your resiliency so you are better able to cope with life's ups and downs.
It is also important to address other issues such as anxiety, depression, or substance abuse that might be occurring along with the low-self-esteem and this can become an important part of therapy. I believe it's important to look at the person as a whole, and not just a list of symptoms. This is because the main purpose of therapy is to help you live a happier, healthier life, not to just meet some random goal.
Questions You Might Be
Will I need to be in therapy for a long time?
It's hard to predict how long any one person's therapy will be before even meeting the person. However, on average, people stay in therapy for about 8 sessions before they see the results they want. This is an average though, so your therapy may be shorter or longer depending on want you want to achieve, what your issues are, and how much effort you put into your therapy. Therapy with me is individualized to you and takes into account your personal goals, how you are coping with life stressors right now, your personal strengths, and your life history. Together we can decide how long you will remain in therapy.
Can therapy really help my low self-esteem?
Yes, therapy can help in lots of different ways. It can help you reduce any negative self-talk, it can help you become more effective at making and reaching goals, it can help you to set boundaries in your life, to be more assertive, or to build better relationships. What we work on in therapy will depend on what your goals for therapy are, as well as what your particular issues are. Therapy is a very individualized process and it works best when you work collaboratively with your therapist.
Will I be judged?
I try very hard in my work with folks to help them to feel comfortable. I will never judge you for anything you might say or feel and I truly hope that therapy will help you to quiet that inner critic that is talking in your head right now. Therapy is a place where you can share all your fears without worrying about being looked down on or thought less of. You also are able to keep what we say in therapy completely private if you want- I follow the confidentiality guidelines set forth by the ACA, and you can tell or not tell the people in your life however much you choose.
Check out my blog pages linked to the right for some tips to get started improving your self-esteem. But if you find that nothing you try on your own is helping to improve your self-esteem, then you might benefit from counseling with a skilled therapist. I have completed advanced training and have years of experience helping people to improve their self-esteem.
If you are ready to start addressing your issues of low self-esteem. Therapy can be very helpful with this. Please click on the contact button below to schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation so we can talk more about starting counseling soon.
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