Self- esteem is defined, as the belief and confidence we each have in our own ability and value.
Our level of self- esteem can influence our lives in many different ways; and is not fixed but malleable and measurable. Which means that if we begin to experience low self esteem we can take control and improve this for ourselves. After all we deserve to believe in ourselves and feel confident and happy.
So what causes low self- esteem?
The answer; lots of things! Our childhoods, experiences throughout life, our family, friends or relationships. We are also exposed to a constant flow of media; magazines, adverts, tv, social media and online interactions, that can leave us questioning if we are enough. Sometimes it can feel like an ongoing battle to simply not be left feeling inadequate in some way.
Our self- esteem can be closely linked with;
-Self- worth, our internal state of being that comes from our self- love, acceptance and understanding.
-Self- image, the mental picture of our individuality or physical body.
-Self- concept, how we think about or perceive ourselves.
-Self- confidence, do we trust in ourselves, our skills and abilities?
-Self- compassion, our ability to be warm and kind to ourselves.
So how can we improve our self- esteem?
The first step is to try and recognise what is impacting our self- esteem. Once we have done this we can try to take steps towards improving it. If we discover that our self- esteem is impacted by one particular person, we may need to assess and change this relationship. Where as if we find it is affected by the accounts we follow on social media, maybe it’s time to unfollow these accounts and search for ones that uplift us.
Create healthy foundations for your overall well being
Be Kind to yourself, treat yourself how you would treat your best friend.
Establish a healthy sleep routine.
Exercise, find an activity that you enjoy that will get your body moving.
Relax, make time to just chill out and enjoy the moment.
Eat well, regularly, healthily, add colour, drink water, treat yourself.
Connect with others, stay in touch with family and friends and enjoy them.
Build on these foundations
There are exercises that we can engage with, in order to improve our self- esteem.
Self- esteem journals; each day choose to answer a few positive questions about yourself. What do I feel proud of today? Today I achieved…? Today was fun because…? I felt happy today when…?
Positive attributes. Jump onto google and find a list of positive attributes/ traits, and enjoy a cup of tea whilst circling all of the ones that you feel resonate with you.
Challenge your negative thoughts. When you find you’re being hard on yourself, challenge this. Ask yourself some questions; what evidence do I have to be thinking this? What would my best friend think about this thought? Will I still think this way in a year from now? Will it even matter by then?
Make a positive list; things you’re good at, things you value most about you, compliments you’ve received, times you’ve made others happy.
You may be surprised by the resources you can find with just a quick search on the internet. Exercises or fun ideas for improving self- esteem for all ages.
Counselling for self- esteem
Building self- esteem and navigating the impacts it can have on our mental wellbeing can sometimes feel a difficult task to face alone, therefore therapy can be very beneficial. Counselling can be a fantastic tool to help us to explore how we feel and view ourselves and others, giving us space to consider changes we feel would help or benefit us. Counselling offers a genuine, warm and safe space to explore without fear of judgement. Working with a counsellor we can trust and feel comfortable with can help further our self- esteem. Helping to develop self- awareness and awareness of our personal history. Helping us to process our feelings and express ourselves and to work towards changing negative thought patterns and letting go of self- blame, boosting our self- esteem and over all mental wellbeing.