Low self-esteem is not discussed for adults as much as it is for children and teens. But unless those issues were resolved during childhood, they follow us into adulthood. So, what exactly is low self-esteem? Well, self-esteem is defined as “a feeling of having respect for yourself and your abilities”. So, if you are struggling with self-esteem, that can mean not believing in yourself or treating yourself in a way that goes against your best and highest interest.
Many people can relate to doing things that go against what is best for them at any given moment. However, if you are struggling with low self-esteem you usually feel bad about these choices. Many times there will be some form of negative self-talk that continues for hours, days or more. It can lead to symptoms of anxiety, obsessive thoughts, avoidance behaviours, and loss of trust in your self.
Can you say that low self-esteem is impacting your life? If so, it is possible to work through it. Increasing self-esteem is about listening to and trusting yourself again. Although it will take some time and effort (as breaking any habit does), it is well worth the healthy relationship you will have with yourself.
Are you ready to start increasing your self-esteem? Here are some steps to take to learn more about your process:
1. Recognize the negative self-talk
- When does it happen?
- What does it say?
- How do you feel?
2. Start breaking it down:
- How is it serving you to think and talk to yourself in this way?
- Is it true?
- Is it possible that you are being hard on yourself?
- Is there a gentler way to say that to your self?
- Is there something you would rather hear?
- Can it be okay?
Working with these three steps is a great start to becoming more self-compassionate and self-aware while challenging the negative self-talk that increases stress during an already stressful time. You can try carrying a journal (or use a notes app even) to track what you notice and any reframes you do. It will help you recognize that you are becoming more aware of your process and making progress towards positive changes.