What is self-esteem and why does it matter?

Self-esteem means the way that we see and value ourselves, which is based on our beliefs and opinions of ourselves. It can influence whether we like ourselves, our decision making, feeling able to try new things, our ability to be kind to ourselves, believing that you are good enough as you are, and whether you feel like you deserve to be happy. It can also affect your work and relationships with friends and family.

Healthy self-esteem means we usually feel positive about ourselves and life generally, and feel able to take on challenges and try new things.  

When our self-esteem is low, we see ourselves and our lives in a much more negative way, and may feel less able to take on challenges that happen in life. We might feel less confident, more anxious, very critical of ourselves, and compare ourselves to others. 

Why might I have low self-esteem?

Self-esteem is a result of the experiences we have in our lives. It can change suddenly, or it can have been around since childhood. Low self-esteem often happens when we feel like we’re not good enough in some way.  This can be triggered by things like being bullied, losing your job, health problems, and relationship issues. It can come from feeling like the odd one out, unable to live up to expectations, or a lack of affection or encouragement from our loved ones. At the heart of self-esteem are the beliefs or opinions we have about ourselves.

How can counselling help with low self-esteem?

Therapy can help with low self-esteem by helping you to explore how you feel and change the view you have of yourself and other people. With your counsellor, you can look at events which have happened in your life to understand them more, and you can start to identify negative beliefs you hold about yourself. We can look at negative thoughts you have about yourself, like “I’m stupid” or “nobody likes me”, and start to challenge these, as well as find and boost the positive things about yourself.

©2020 by Hayley Snelling Counsellor.

Anxiety therapist, Hove

England, United Kingdom