One of the key components of confidence is self-esteem. Although it is normal for self-esteem levels to vary throughout a person’s life, experiencing frequent and prolonged periods of low self-esteem can be an issue that affects mental health.
WHAT IS LOW SELF-ESTEEM?
Self-esteem is the opinion you have of yourself. It is also commonly referred to as self-worth or self-respect.
When your self-esteem is healthy, you tend to feel confident, optimistic, and positive. On the other hand, when your self-esteem levels run low, you experience negative feelings like awkwardness, unworthiness, and incompetency.
You might also feel hypersensitive and view life more negatively. Low self-esteem can sometimes feel like it handicaps your ability to take on the challenges that life throws your way.
THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF LOW SELF-ESTEEM
There are a few signs of low self-esteem that you can keep an eye out for.
- Difficulty prioritising your own needs
When you’re experiencing low self-esteem, you might struggle with expressing yourself, especially when it comes to your needs. Those who go through low self-esteem might feel as if they need to put other people’s feelings and wants above their own.
- Sensitivity to criticism
Low self-esteem often brings hypersensitivity along with it. This usually includes sensitivity to critique. When an individual with low self-esteem is criticised, they might perceive the criticism as being a reiteration of the negative beliefs they hold for themselves.
Those with low self-esteem might lash out at the people in their lives as a defence mechanism. Showing aggression towards someone who criticises you, or even if you just feel like you are about to be criticised, can be considered a sign of low self-esteem.
- Feelings of unworthiness
Since self-esteem and self-worth are so closely connected – the two usually affect each other. Individuals with low self-esteem might believe they are not deserving of good or positive things. This might lead to an acceptance of an overall low standard on many important fronts.
- Abusive inner dialogue
When you grappling with feelings of low self-esteem, you might engage in critical and harmful self-talk.
- Physical signs
Low self-esteem can further lead to a range of mental and physical issues. Low self-esteem can exacerbate feelings of anxiety and depression. It might also physically manifest in addictive behaviour and substance abuse. Low levels of self-esteem also tend to be present in eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia.
COUNSELLING OPTIONS FOR LOW SELF-ESTEEM
While low self-esteem might seem daunting to deal with, there is a range of counselling and therapeutic options available for support.
There are various therapeutic approaches that can help you on your journey to healthy self-esteem. Existential and humanistic therapies are based on understanding human experience and the individual rather than the symptoms. Techniques used in these therapies will help you recognise the origins of the problem and explore alternative solutions through increasing awareness and self-understanding.
A successful therapy for treatment is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), a mindfulness based therapy combined with coaching. ACT increases psychological flexibility to be able to sit in the present moment more fully, or to explore alternative options to change or persist with situations or issues, in accordance with your values. ACT also helps to reduce general psychological distress, depression, anxiety and stress through identifying and altering negative thought patterns.
Humanistic therapies such as Person-Centered Therapy recognise that we are shaped through biology, culture and life experiences. Art therapies can help you process emotions that you might otherwise struggle to express. Therapies can be used in stand-alone approach or integrated as a useful tool for catharsis. If you are looking for a counsellor in the Cronulla area, you can contact us anytime.
HOW COUNSELLING HELPS US OVERCOME LOW SELF-ESTEEM
Counselling has proven to be helpful in changing negative, unhelpful beliefs and improving your sense of self. Since self-esteem often presents itself in childhood, it is important to address it with a trained professional.
Engaging a counsellor can help you understand where the issue stems from and how to tackle it in the healthiest way possible. A supportive counsellor can help you navigate your self-esteem out of a pit and onto a more positive path.
WHEN TO SEEK COUNSELLING FOR LOW SELF-ESTEEM
Low self-esteem is often mischaracterised as humility or categorised as a personality trait, making it difficult to understand when to seek help. However, there are a few ways to identify when you need to get low self-esteem counselling.
Your self-esteem getting in the way of your interpersonal relationships, your responsibilities, and your interactions might signal that you need counselling. Some more internal signs include feeling overwhelmed or angry, experiencing mood swings, and dealing with emotions of hypersensitivity, amongst others.
HOW COUNSELLORS CAN HELP WITH A LACK OF SELF-CONFIDENCE
Trained counsellors and therapists possess the knowledge to help guide you towards improved levels of self-confidence.
Counsellors know how to treat low-self confidence and related issues by using person-centric approaches that work from the inside out.
It is important to find a counsellor with whom you are comfortable. Being open and honest in your communication with them is essential to the success of your treatment.
Inner Voice Counselling Cronulla is located in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire, New South Wales. Consultations are available in person, via Zoom, or by telephone.