Not many people think about their self-esteem on a daily basis. That said, having high self-esteem is important to your overall happiness and can even impact your success. Being confident in yourself can help you nail an interview and land your dream job, for example. On the other hand, being hesitant and unsure can be what prevents you from moving forward. Online counseling is a tool growing in popularity for rebuilding self-esteem and helping you embrace all that you have to offer the world.

Defining self-esteem

Having a comprehensive understanding of what self-esteem actually is will be important when determining if yours is low. Psychologists define it as how you view your own worth and value. It is how confident you feel in yourself, no matter what life throws at you. Self-esteem can be broken down into how you view a few different aspects of yourself, including:

  • Overall competence
  • Sense of belonging
  • Feeling secure
  • Feeling Confident
  • Having a clear identity

Having self-esteem is critical to developing and maintaining relationships. It helps you understand what you need in life and can help you feel confident enough to go out and get it. Perhaps most importantly, it allows you to set realistic standards for yourself.

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Where does low self-esteem develop

Where does low self-esteem develop?

How does one get self-esteem? A variety of factors contribute. Self-esteem levels can also change as you get older. Many professionals agree that self-esteem levels come from three main areas of life.

Events during childhood

Our opinions of ourselves are largely formed during adolescence. Being bullied by peers can be a major contributor to confidence issues later on in life. Suffering from abuse or neglect from caregivers can also make a person feel that they are unworthy or that they are fundamentally wrong. Abuse does not always have to be physical, either. Some children grow up feeling they can never live up to their parents’ standards or are the target for their parents’ stress and unhappiness. These experiences can also lead to low self-esteem.

“Fitting in” is also important to the development of self-esteem. If a child’s interests do not line up with their peer group or family, they may feel that their likes are wrong. Not wanting to or being unable to dress a certain way or have certain belongings can also lead to a feeling of being left out.

Traumatic events

Some people manage to make it through childhood with relatively high self-esteem, only to have it snatched away later on. Suffering through traumatic events, such as an abusive relationship, can damage self-esteem at any point in life. Once again, the abuse does not have to be physical. Mental and emotional abuse can be very damaging to confidence and sense of worth as well.

Illnesses that impact our ability to do the things we love or even take care of ourselves are another common cause of low self-esteem. Financial hardship, especially if it is long-lasting, can take away a person’s feeling of value. Simply having a long string of stressful life events can erode self-esteem over time.

Inherited personality traits

There are certain personality traits that have been linked with self-esteem levels. Extraversion, or being outgoing, is associated with higher self-esteem. So is emotional stability, which can also be thought of as having the ability to react calmly to stress and frustration.

The final personality trait linked with self-esteem is a high level of conscientiousness. Conscientious people take pride in their work. They also do the right thing simply because it is the right thing. Of course, sometimes other factors, such as depression, can negatively impact a person’s level of conscientiousness.

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Recognizing the symptoms of low self-esteem

Recognizing the symptoms of low self-esteem

Are you wondering if you or someone close to you is dealing with low self-esteem? There are a few symptoms that are more common than others, including:

  • Social Withdrawal: Not wanting to be around others, even loved ones, can be a sign of low self-esteem. Regularly canceling plans at the last minute and avoiding social situations are warning signs. People with low self-esteem can be afraid of embarrassing themselves or having their negative opinion of themselves reinforced.
  • Sensitivity to Criticism: Very few people actually enjoy being criticized. Some people can look at it objectively, however, while others simply see it as confirmation that they are not a person of value. If minor criticism ruins your day, it may be a sign of low self-esteem.
  • Physical Problems: Issues with self-esteem can manifest physically. It can contribute to both anxiety and depression, and can even lead to medical conditions like anorexia. To help with self-esteem, some people turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms like alcohol and drug use.
  • Preoccupation with Negativity: Those with low self-esteem often cannot see the good in a situation. If you view everything as confirmation that you are not a worthwhile person, the issue could be with your self-worth. On the flip side, being able to see the “silver lining” in an otherwise negative situation is associated with higher self-esteem.
  • Being Self-Absorbed: Constant obsessing over your own personal problems can be a sign that you are struggling in this area. It can also impact your ability to empathize with others, which can make social isolation worse.

How therapy helps rebuild self esteem

Luckily, there are steps that people can take if they feel they are struggling with their confidence and feeling of worth. Therapy can help you change the way you think about yourself. Practicing a more positive way of thinking, especially about your own value and competence, can raise your natural self-esteem level over time. Counseling is a good tool for learning where your negative thoughts are coming from, as well as how you can reframe them in a more positive light. It is also a good way to become more aware of the negative thinking that you may not even be aware that you are doing.

Low self-esteem is a challenging issue to deal with. That is why working with a trained counselor is so important. They will have the ability to look at you and your life more objectively and help you learn how to do so yourself.

Another strategy a therapist can help you develop is self-compassion. Essentially, it is learning about how no human can be expected to be perfect. Being able to forgive yourself for any shortcomings and then move on is essential when building self-esteem levels. A counselor can help you acknowledge negative thoughts without letting them consume your entire thought process.

Finding an online psychologist to help with self esteem

Now more than ever, having an online psychologist is a convenient way to get the help you need. You can find an online therapist that specializes in self-esteem. Many people struggling with this issue find it easier to start a relationship with a therapist online rather than in person due to the social withdrawal that often accompanies low self-esteem. If you are concerned about your feelings of self-worth, begin the process of finding a therapist today.

https://www.verywellmind.com/ask-a-therapist-how-can-i-improve-my-self-esteem-5095001

https://www.insider.com/low-self-esteem

 

About the Author

Laure

Editor

2004- MS, psychology- Walden University, Minneapolis, MN