Low self esteem and counselling
What is Low Self Esteem?
Low self-esteem sets you up to notice anything that is consistent with your negative ideas about yourself. You are swift to spot anything about yourself that you are unhappy about or do not like. This may mean aspects of your physical appearance (eg your eyes are too small), your character (eg you are not outgoing enough) or simply mistakes that you make (not again. How could I be so stupid) or ways in which you fall short of some standard or idea (eg not performing 110 per cent on an assignment). All of your shortcomings, flaws and weaknesses jump out and hit you in the face.
In contrast you automatically screen out anything that is not consistent with your prevailing view of yourself. It is difficult for you to get a clear view of your strengths, qualities, assets and skills. The end result is that your main focus as you move through life is on what you do wrong, not what you do right.
Low self-esteem not only skews your perception of your self, but also distorts the meanings you attach to what you see. If something does not go well, you are likely to use this as the basis for a global, overgeneralised judgement of your self – eg. typical you always get it wrong etc.
So even quite trivial mistakes and failings may seem to you to reflect your worth as a person and so have (in your eyes) major implications for the future. Neutral or even positive experiences may be distorted to fit the prevailing view of yourself. If for example someone compliments you on looking well, you may privately conclude that you have been looking pretty bad up till now or discount the compliment altogether (the exception proves the rule – they were only being kind etc), Your thinking is consistently biased in favour of self-criticism, rather than encouragement, appreciation, acceptance or praise.
Counselling can help you explore why you may be feeling the way you do, and can look at helping you develop healthier ways to increase yourself esteem and give you tools to do this. Get in touch to find out more.
Think over the last week, were there any moments when you felt anxious or ill at ease, uncomfortable with yourself, or doubtful about your ability to handle what was going on?
Were there any times when you suspected that you were not coming over as you might wish, felt a bit useless or attracted worrying reactions from other people?
Did you at any point feel that things were starting to get on top of you, or as if you were not operating at the level you expect of yourself?
Make a note of these situations, do you notice any patterns?
Were you aware of using any complimentary words to describe yourself? What were they?
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