Self-Esteem: Healing the Self
Self-esteem is general term used to described a person's evaluation of his or her own worth – how we feel about who we are. This includes how valuable we think that we are to other people, and to the world. Self-esteem is a common area of struggle for many people, male and female, young and old.
Global self-esteem dictatates how we feel about who we are, while situational self-esteem dictates how we feel about what we do (i.e., the many roles that we play in our lives; as workers, romantic partners, family members, parents etc.). Global self-esteem remains fairly consistent unless we work specifically on improving it, while situation self-esteem changes as we change roles (i.e., we may have very good self-esteem about our role at work, but when we arrive home, we start feeling poorly about ourselves in our role as parents).
Signs of healthy positive self-esteem can include confidence, assertiveness, optimism, healthy boundaries and the ability to say no, the ability to forgive ourselves and move on after making mistakes, and good self-care, among others. Signs of low self-esteem can include perfectionism, dependency on others, a negative world view, trouble trusting others, feelings of being unlovable or worthless, a belief that you are incompetent or incapable, and fears of taking risks or being ridiculed.
Having poor self-esteem and negative beliefs and attitudes about one's own value can impact many areas of a person's life, and contribute to other mental health concerns like anxiety, depression, and stress.
Negative thoughts and feelings about the self tend to be very deeply ingrained in people, but with a little bit of hard work, these thoughts and beliefs can be turned around. My treatment protocol for self-esteem struggles includes a variety of approaches and interventions including:
- addressing and changing negative thought patterns and beliefs
- working on positive affirmations
- improving communication
- increasing assertiveness skills
- working to improve relationships
- setting behavioural goals to improve confidence and a sense of mastery