Your experiences are unique
Self esteem is a personal issue: your experiences are unique. If you’re struggling with low self esteem, there’s a chance that you’ve always suffered with similar feelings. Equally, it could be that your self esteem has taken a knock from a challenging period at work or in your personal life.
What is low self esteem?
Low self esteem can show up in many different ways. If you feel stressed or overwhelmed at work, you may have lost confidence in your professional abilities.
If you’re in an abusive relationship, then you may start to suffer from feelings of low self-worth or feelings of being unlovable. Sometimes it’s your nearest and dearest, such as parents or family members, who undermine feelings of self worth.
It’s entirely possible to feel strong self esteem in one area of life, but completely lacking in another area. However, over time, low self-esteem in one area of your life may bleed into other areas if you don’t address the underlying cause.
Turn the focus inwards
Relying on external validation for self esteem, makes you vulnerable to the approval of the people around you. A fault-finding boss, a critical friend or an abusive partner can completely undermine your sense of self worth.
Learning new skills
Therapy teaches skills that silence the inner critic and establish strong foundations for a much more powerful sense of self worth. Thoughts and thinking patterns are habitual. Whether you are aware of them or not, core beliefs underpin your conscious thoughts. The work of therapy is to identify negative underlying beliefs and to change the ones that are creating our negative thoughts and behaviour. In theory it’s a simple process. In practice it may take a little longer.
With a therapist you identify negative beliefs and the negative thoughts they generate. Then through a process of practical exercises we work together to undermine your self-defeating beliefs. There are around 50 cognitive techniques that I use in my practice.
Homework for self esteem
The cognitive work in the therapy room is reinforced by homework. The subconscious mind can miraculously change through ‘witnessing’ new behaviour. So, as well as working at a rational, conscious level, new behaviour (which needs to be in line with your new beliefs) strengthens the new, positive self beliefs at a subconscious level.
One at a time
During therapy it’s essential to work on one issue at a time. Working in partnership with a therapist can be transformational, but it’s essential to focus on one challenge at a time.