Building Self-Esteem in Psychotherapy
Do you long for more confidence, self-worth and more self-acceptance? Many of us want to build self-esteem but don’t know how. Low self-esteem can affect the ability to be successful at work and can impair relationships with family and friends. Lack of self-esteem can also diminish the enjoyment and pleasure we have in our life. It is a key issue to be worked on in psychotherapy.
How does low self-esteem affect us?
Symptoms of low self-esteem include a lack of confidence in yourself that can make it more difficult to take risks. For instance, insecurity may make it almost impossible at your job to ask for a more challenging responsibilities or ask for the raise you think you deserve. Fear of failure and insecurity can be paralyzing and lead to more symptoms of anxiety and depression. Without good self-esteem, it can be hard to express emotions – either negative ones like anger and hurt, or positive ones like loving feelings because of a fear of rejection. These are the kind of issues that are addressed in psychotherapy. It is common to focus on faults and failures without recognizing and appreciating your value and positive characteristics. With guidance, it is possible to build appreciation for your strengths and become more open to seeing the positive in yourself.
How does psychotherapy help build self-esteem?
With the help of a compassionate therapist, psychotherapy addresses the roots of low self-esteem, often originated in our family. What messages about yourself did you get as a child? Were you given encouragement and support when you tried new things? Did you get negative comments or no feedback about yourself? Studies have shown that when children don’t receive positive mirroring and encouragement, they tend to feel negatively about themselves. Even when kids get no feedback, rather than feeling neutral, there is a tendency to be self-critical and unhappy with oneself. Children absolutely need the positive to develop healthy self-esteem and be self-confident.
If you also have suffered from trauma, neglect or abuse in your family, then that can lead to negative self- image and low self-esteem. Children have a tendency to blame themselves for the bad things that happened to them either because they were told it was their fault or because no one is there to support their own view. Feelings of shame and loneliness can lead to painful and distorted beliefs about ourselves like ” I’m bad” or “It’s always my fault.”
In psychotherapy, you can learn what you didn’t learn as a child- positive and healthy self-parenting skills. In the process you can recognize the inner critic and replace that voice with kind, compassionate and nurturing self-talk, one of the building blocks of better self esteem. Low self- esteem can be healed. Just as negative comments are internalized, so when we get positive, nurturing reflections from others, that is also internalized and new habits are learned. So we can begin to do it for ourselves. Psychotherapy helps with teaching the skills for building healthy self-esteem, more confidence and inner security.
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