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It is normal to occasionally question or doubt yourself, for example – you may have struggled in an interview and wonder if you could have been better prepared, or you may go on a date and feel nervous that your date did not go well. When you have low self-esteem, you question and doubt yourself frequently and more intensely, often being very self-critical and harsh in your expectations.
What are the signs and symptoms of low Self-esteem?
- Viewing yourself as flawed in some way. You may find you criticise your work or study performance, or feel you are not smart enough or good enough. You may criticise how you behave in relationships, and even question why romantic partners have picked you. Some people fear that if others see their “true selves” that they will not like them anymore, While, other’s feel people don’t even notice them, feeling invisible, ignored or unimportant.
- Perfectionism. Working excessively hard while doubting your abilities and chastising yourself for “under achievement”. Successes are briefly acknowledged, dismissed completely or justified in some way – e.g. “I achieved that result, because I worked so hard, not because I’m smart”.
- Withdrawing and avoiding performance-based activities due to fear of failing.
- Working really hard in your relationships. Trying to be really kind and giving, while struggling to ask or accept help and support from others.
- Withdrawing from relationships or self-sabotaging relationships.
How does low Self-esteem affect me?
- Low self-esteem affects your confidence. You may avoid putting yourself out there in life – in your relationships, work, study, and life choices. For example, you may avoid going for a job, asking someone you like on a date, contributing your opinion to a conversation or asking for help and support.
- Low self-esteem affects your decision-making. You are more prone to making decisions based on other’s expectations, rather than your true values. You are also less likely to take small risks in life, and tend to tolerate poor behaviour in your relationships.
- Anxiety and low mood. Naturally when you feel bad about yourself, you are more likely to suffer changes in mood. For example, if you blame yourself excessively for arguments with your romantic partner, you may start to feel hopeless and helpless, which will cause feelings of anxiety and depression.
How can I improve my Self-esteem?
There are several well-researched therapies that are effective in treating low self-esteem, including: Cognitive-behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Schema Therapy and Narrative Therapy.
How can Peaceful Mind Psychology help?
We are experienced and trained in treating psychological difficulties like low self-esteem. If you would like some professional assistance contact us at Peaceful Mind Psychology.