Self-esteem is how we think and feel about ourselves. Although there are subtle differences between self-esteem and self-worth, this self esteem therapy self help article will focus primarily on an amalgamation of the two. Because how worthy we feel of love and happiness ties directly into how we think and feel about ourselves. And both concepts dovetail into how we experience interpersonal relationships of all kinds, including the relationship we have with ourselves. Both self-esteem and how inherently worthy we feel of love affect how we move and make choices in our lives. There are many ways to increase positive feelings towards ourselves, including practicing gratitude, evaluating and improving coping strategies in times of stress, and doing deeper family of origin work to understand what has influenced our sense of self. Increasing self-esteem also involves releasing the need to be perfect. It helps to have a therapist to guide you through these processes (Self Esteem Therapy).
What is the Self? We can’t talk about self-esteem without asking the existential question of, “what exactly is “the self” anyway?” And the answer is: “it depends on who you ask.” In eastern spirituality, the self is something that’s constantly shifting, changing and cannot be pinned down as one thing. However, we can acknowledge that we have traits and habits that tend to sustain themselves over time, in addition to our ever-changing emotional landscape. Perhaps “the self” can be understood as “your center.” According to self esteem therapy, it doesn’t have to be a rigid experience where you categorize every aspect of yourself to create a never-changing identity. But what keeps you centered? And what gets in the way? And, what does it feel like to be centered? We turn towards self esteem therapy to answer the above questions.
When you’re centered in high self-esteem you might feel at peace, calm, assured of your abilities and in loving understanding of your limitations. You are not beating yourself up for being you. And you are allowing yourself room to change and grow. Forming your “self” can be a lifelong endeavor, and you have choice in the matter of who you want to become. Increasing self-esteem is an empowering process that puts you in the driver’s seat of your life.
How to Stay Centered? In self esteem therapy, to stay “centered in ourselves”, we can start with understanding what’s most important to us- what we value. And how true are we being to what we value the most? Does our life look and feel like our own based on what’s most important to us? Or are we staying true to a societal ideal? Are we listening to what other people think over our own opinion of what life should look like? Are we standing up for what we believe in? Or are we letting people walk all over us? Are we advocating for ourselves to be treated properly and with respect by other people and institutions? Or are we staying in relationships that cause us harm? In a society that’s filled with constant noise, social media and images to “live up to”, it can be hard to hear yourself. Self esteem therapy can serve as a safe space to see yourself and your life more clearly. Self esteem therapy can help you to find yourself in a sea of noise and competing ideas about what you should do, and who you should be.
Knowing our values requires that we form an intimate relationship with ourselves, which some of us were never taught how to do. The truth is that the more we get to know ourselves, the more we can make peace with what’s inside of us. It takes a skilled self esteem therapist to walk you through this vulnerable process in a way that feels both safe and cathartic. The process of “finding yourself” and clarifying what is most important to you can be fun, informative and bring great relief to those suffering from low self-esteem. Self-knowledge is power and gives way to greater self-acceptance and ease in life. We know what to expect from ourselves and we grow to appreciate our unique energy.
Building a Strong Relationship with Self Some of us get into adulthood without a fully formed sense of self. We’re not sure who we are and what we need. We may struggle to spend quality time alone. We struggle to set boundaries, to recognize our communication style, and to understand our wants and needs in interpersonal relationships. We may be people-pleasers, unable to deal with the discomfort of others. We may put our needs second to others, creating codependent relationships where we over-give until we have very little left for ourselves. We become off-centered, living out of alignment with our values and our self-esteem plummets. Self-esteem increases when we protect ourselves through boundary-setting rooted in self-love and self-care. A question to ask is: what boundaries do I need to set in order to feel good about myself? And, what is the most loving action I can take for myself at this time? How do I stay with myself and my authentic needs, and not abandon myself for the needs of others?
Building a strong relationship with ourselves requires that we learn how to listen and tune in deeply to our feelings. When we honor our feelings, we become someone we can count on. We learn to listen to our “gut” or our intuition and to trust ourselves. Our feelings are messengers, but if we’re not used to this way of thinking, finding the right therapist can make this process feel safer and you will see results faster.
Self-Compassion It’s easier to understand self-esteem in the form of a verb, rather than as a noun. Having high self-esteem means we are self-compassionate and we believe in our capabilities. And we act from that place of self-confidence and self-worthiness. Self-compassion increases our ability to accurately appraise our strengths and weaknesses. We learn to acknowledge our faults without self-hate. Self-evaluation without kindness towards self is inner warfare.
We may have learned how to criticize ourselves as a means to survive, or to “keep ourselves in line.” Excessive self-criticism is often a sign of struggles in early childhood relationships, childhood emotional neglect by caregivers, and/or being forced to engage in dysfunctional family dynamics that make us confused about who we are. If you were the “fixer” in your family, you might have learned that you are only valuable when you are “problem solving” in adulthood. In cases like this, your value is based on something outside of yourself, a metric that you did not even consciously choose! The truth is that you are valuable outside of that assigned familial role, it’s just hard to ground into that without the help of a therapist to help you hold up the bigger picture for you.
Why Choose Self Esteem Therapy: The Benefits of Raising Self-Esteem Given all that we know about “the self”, increasing positive self-appraisal and feeling more confident is paramount. The benefits of raising self-esteem are countless. Here are some examples of those benefits.
- -You will feel more at ease with yourself, and you will trust yourself more. You will be kinder to yourself, and even extend that compassion to others, understanding that no one is perfect.
- -You will learn to take accountability without beating yourself up for common mistakes.
- -When you think and feel positively about yourself, you will be more likely to take risks, trusting that “failure” will not destroy you.
- -You will have an easier time picking partners and dating, being able to choose someone that aligns with your values and can meet your needs. You have to value the things you need in relationships in order to ask for them.
- -You will feel more comfortable in your own skin. With a trusted therapist, you can help increase the love you have for your body and mind. You can base your self-worth off of what matters most to you, and not what others think, or what society implies you should act, look or feel like.
- -You may go back to school, go for that job you’ve always wanted, ask the person out on the date or write the book you’ve put on the backburner. You feel worthy of going after the life that you want and less fearful of rejection.
- -You heal family of origin issues, you become separate from the roles that may have been assigned to you in your family, and you get to act from a place of newness, and authenticity.
- -You may feel sexier, be able to enjoy sexual connection, sex and intimacy. If you feel confident in your body and connected to your heart and mind, you can experience sex in a way that you never have before. You trust yourself and your voice, and you advocate for your needs in the sexual realm with confidence.
- -You set firm, but loving boundaries, protecting yourself from unwanted energy, unkind people and unnecessary drama. You find your own authentic voice. You choose yourself and prioritize your feelings first and foremost, without settling for just any type of connection.
How Raise Self-Esteem- An Overview of Self Esteem Therapy Working with a trusted self esteem therapist can speed up the process of increasing self-esteem and self-worth. Having a trusted person on your side that can help you stay centered in your values and authenticity is truly priceless. It’s like having a guide as you’re walking on an unknown trail. A therapist may guide you through a values assessment, helping you to highlight what’s important to you and why.
Self esteem therapists may also help you to highlight what you need, and how your ability to self-advocate has been disrupted by trauma, or dysfunction in your family of origin. A self esteem therapist may offer gratitude practices, mindfulness practices and spiritual exercises to help you feel connected to your life, and something greater than yourself. This does not have to be God-oriented, or religious-oriented. Your therapist may help you to become aware of the way you speak to yourself, and manage “negative self-talk.” They may suggest journaling exercises, and assistance in naming your feelings so you know where to stand.
Your self esteem therapist may also help you to increase self-care through routines and rest. Your self esteem therapist will encourage you to care for yourself in the ways you most need to. This dedication to self-care sends the message to yourself that you’re worthy of care and increases self-trust. Again, you become someone you can rely on. Staying true to yourself, living an authentic life and building a strong intimate relationship with self paves the way for fulfilling relationships with others and helps you to choose a life that’s aligned with your values.