Overcoming low self-esteem

Throughout our lives, we all have moments where we lack confidence, or doubt ourselves, and this is completely normal and generally short-lived. But for some people, low-self esteem is a chronic and debilitating long-term problem that can have negative consequences for their mental health and day-to-day lives. 


Low self-esteem can present as a total lack of confidence in oneself, you may feel anxious, not good enough, and you begin to build a bubble of negativity around yourself and your life. Eventually you may become more withdrawn, pulling away from family and friends, desperately avoiding trying anything new, or that sits even a smidge outside your comfort zone.


However, it can also show up in other ways, too. Perfectionism is often directly linked to low self-esteem. Of course we all want to strive to be the best we can be, but for many perfectionists, the best will never be good enough. These people have a point to prove, but because they keep moving their own goalposts, they never quite reach the pinnacle they so desperately seek. 


Low self-esteem usually begins in childhood where we are bombarded with messages and information from our family, friends, teachers, and the wider world. And sometimes those messages stay with us as we grow into adults. Throw away comments like “you’re so dumb”, or “that wasn’t very clever, was it?” or even the seemingly innocuous “well, we got there in the end, didn’t we?” can have long and lasting effects on our self-confidence and belief in ourselves. 


It can be incredibly hard to overcome such deep-seated beliefs, especially those that manifested in our formative years, where we are the most trusting and malleable. Working towards a healthier self-esteem will be challenging and uncomfortable, but it’s important to know, and really believe that you are good enough. And when we have talked or thought poorly of ourselves for so long, it can be difficult to change the station and switch to a more positive and loving narrative. 


 Overcoming low self-esteem takes time and dedication, and a bit of bravery. Remember, you are going against everything you have believed and known about yourself since childhood.


The first step is confrontation. Grab a piece of paper or a notebook and write down every negative thing you think about yourself. Don’t think too much at this stage, just let those thoughts flow onto the page. Next, read them all. Out loud if possible. How does it make you feel? 


The next step is acceptance. Re-read these negative statements you’ve written about yourself and sit with your feelings for a little while. Reflect on the origin of those thoughts, or why you feel that way about yourself. This is the hardest and most uncomfortable part, and you may be tempted to stop or perhaps not dig as deep into your past as you could do. This is the point at which your comfort zone starts to beckon and your psyche will be screaming that it knows best, but stick with it! It gets much easier from here on out. 


Next, write a list of positive things about yourself, or statements that directly challenge your negative thoughts. You might have written that you’re really bad at something, but you could counter with something that you are good at. For example, “I’m rubbish at my job and I’m worried that people will find out” with “I did a really good job on that project and received lots of positive comments”. Sometimes it’s just a case of reframing and pausing to think of all the successes we have had that are so often forgotten about.


It’s also important to write down positive things that people have said to you, not just from your loved ones, but from strangers, too. Perhaps someone complimented your outfit, or your friend expressed their gratitude for something you helped them with. These little things all add up and can be a powerful tool in helping you to shift your perception of yourself. 

Now that you have your list of lovely comments, place it somewhere you can see it daily, and add to it often. Any time you feel low, or doubt yourself, read a few of the positive comments to remind yourself that you are good enough, and that you are loved. 


There is nothing more powerful than a strong sense of self-worth. Let’s work together to unblock your self esteem issues. If you have been struggling with your confidence then considering coaching can make a significant impact on your life. Working together in a supportive and empowering environment, I can help you to overcome self-doubt, build self-assurance, and radiate confidence in all aspects of your life. Whether you’re seeking to enhance your self-esteem, improve your communication skills, or step out of your comfort zone, I can empower you to achieve your goals and reach new heights in your life.

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