When you accept your obligation to be both happy and satisfied with yourself, you will increase your self-esteem and arrive at self-love.

Gene Barry

Self Esteem ©

Self-esteem is learned in childhood and it refers to our appraisal of the value of ourselves and it greatly affects our well-being. A well-developed self-esteem can be challenged in adulthood by unexpected life changes or perceived failures. These include, the ending an intimate relationship, financial or legal problems, a trauma, losing your job, being bullied, addiction or substance abuse, health concerns, having problems with your children, or many other events that can cause us to question our self-worth.


Self-esteem is the relationship between one’s real self and one’s ideal self. The level of our self-esteem is the level at which we self-evaluate and it plays a key role in our psychological functioning. It is an internal monitor of the degree to which we value, or devalue ourselves and the level at which we consider and respect ourselves.


The word confidence derives from the Latin word fidere, ‘to trust’ and when we have a healthy self-esteem, our self-confidence is healthy and we can trust and have faith in ourselves. In turn we can accept responsibilities when things go wrong, accept criticisms, control tricky situations, take on new challenges and be at peace.


Most often, our self-esteem has been lowered by criticism, rejection, failures and other events that have had negative implications. With a low self-esteem, we are likely to be self-critical, to have self-doubt, to socially isolate, to suppressed anger and to feel shame. Some people with low self-esteem will continue to feel bad about themselves despite having had successes. This in turn can lead to anxiety and depression.

Low self-esteem is closely associated with the following:

  • Anxiety

  • Co-dependency

  • Confusion

  • Depression

  • Excessive worrying

  • Fatigue

  • Feelings of guilt

  • Inadequacy

  • Low energy

  • Mood changes

  • Perfectionism

  • Poor concentration

  • Powerlessness

  • Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse

  • Sadness

  • Shame

  • Sleeping problems

  • Social anxiety

  • Tiredness

  • Withdrawal


Therapy

By addressing low self-esteem in therapy, the client will understand the particular distortions of their perspective and gain a stronger sense of the self. They will become self-aware, confident and assertive. The client will learn self-compassion and the ability to treat themselves with the same approval, kindness and encouragement they treat others with.

 

Gene Barry Psychotherapist

© Gene Barry