The Self Esteem Workout | Counseling | Therapy

The Self Esteem Workout

Alex Robboy , CAS, MSW, ACSW, LCSW — Founder & executive director


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Center for Growth / Self Esteem Therapy in Philadelphia, Providence, Ocean City, Mechanicsville, Santa Fe: Increasing confidence and self esteem.

Self esteem is a measure of how favorable you rate your abilities and value as a person. People with high self-esteem have confidence in their abilities and feel like they deserve to reach their goals. People who have low self-esteem find it hard to go after their goals because they don’t feel like they deserve to achieve anything. Low self-esteem is connected with having a negative image of oneself. This negative image is developed by years and years of negative thoughts, self-criticism, and putting yourself and your needs last. Having low self-esteem can lead to anxiety, depression, lack of confidence in your abilities, and sometimes self-harming behaviors. People who have low self-esteem often feel unworthy of achievement and rate their abilities as lower than they actually are. Negative thoughts and core beliefs are also linked to the development of low self-esteem. Raising self-esteem can act as a buffer to anxiety, depression, and stress as well as raising motivation, achievement, and quality of interpersonal relationships. This Increasing Confidence and Self Esteem Exercise is often used at the Center for Growth / Self Esteem Therapy in Philadelphia and is designed to help you “work out” and remove the negative junk that’s been weighing you down so you are able to raise self-esteem and increase confidence.

  • Accept yourself as you are: Develop a kind inner voice. To do this, first figure out what the critical voice says. Pay attention to when you hear yourself saying negative things in your head. Then picture a large STOP sign. Use this as a cue to stop saying negative criticisms. Next, state out loud or in your head, a positive affirmation to counteract the negative criticism. Remind yourself of all the things you’re good at. Be specific. Challenge negative criticisms with a positive affirmation such as “I’m a good friend, or “I am ok just as I am and they are ok just as they are.” Show yourself the love and kindness you would show your best friend. Accepting yourself and others will increase confidence.
  • Celebrate your uniqueness: There is no need to compare yourself to others. Self esteem does not reside in your accomplishments; it resides in where you decide your value is placed. Stop comparing and start putting value into accepting yourself. To start appreciating your uniqueness, make a list of everything that you’re good at. Maybe it’s telling jokes, playing sports, or singing in the shower. Remember to validate the skills YOU value, not what everyone else says you should be good at.
  • Appreciate your body: Love and accept your body regardless of size, shape or color. Make a list of things your body can do. Can you walk up stairs, run, swim, jump, dance, dress yourself, feed yourself, crawl with your baby, or take a zumba class? These are all wonderful things your body can do for you. Additionally, simply living with the absence of physical pain, or the need to think about your body is something huge. Do not focus on the physical appearances society says you should have, most of these qualities, while nice are not critical to being self sufficient and doing the things you really want to be able to do. Remember, your body is yours, and worrying about having curly hair versus straight hair is a luxury. Better to embrace what your body does enable you to do. Remember, over time the body does age, and most people at certain points will live with episodes of chronic pain, or dependence on others as you are recovering from cancer, broken bones etc.
  • Practice healthy habits: Taking good care of your body is a great way to boost self-esteem. Make sure you get enough sleep (7-9 hours per night), eat enough fruits and vegetables (5-7 servings per day), exercise (30 minutes of moderate activity per day), rest, and take medication when needed. Go to the doctor, get a check-up, see your dentist, floss regularly, wear sunscreen, and take the time to make small daily steps that support your health. Your body wont work the way it’s supposed to if you don’t treat it the way you’re supposed to. Making HEALTH the priority will reduce the internal critic because the only standard you will have to live up to is your own, and your body will tell you what it needs.
  • Treat yourself well emotionally: Check in with your feelings and needs. Are they being met? Take care of yourself based on your feelings. Keep a feelings chart handy so you can identify your feelings. Listen to your body when you ask “how do I feel?” Is that headache a sign of stress? Is the upset stomach actually anxiety? Then, make it a priority to know what you need to feel better. Do you need a quiet space, a nap, some food, or time to confront a friend about a problem? Addressing emotional as well as physical health will help you put your needs as number one.
  • Set appropriate personal boundaries: Boundaries define who you are and tell others what is and what isn’t ok to do and say around you. It’s ok to want something different than someone else. People with low self-esteem will often act in a more passive manner to please others before asserting for them self. This can be detrimental to your emotional health and breed resentment. Remember you are free to say no when you’re not ok with something. In the end, you’re not responsible for other people’s feelings, they are. Start small: Ask your roommate to turn the music down, turn down an invitation, as a server to fix a wrong order.
  • Practice the two for one rule: Tell yourself two compliments every day. In between the two compliments sandwich a statement of an area you’d like to grow in. For example: “I’m a good baker. I’d like to increase my running endurance. I did better on my review that I expected.” We all need to keep pushing ourselves to grow. But sandwiching a constructive criticism in between two affirmations will soften the blow and increase motivation to achieve your goals.
  • Do what you love: Learn what lights you up. Give yourself permission to do what feels good then make those things a priority. People with low self-esteem often have a long can’t-do list. To challenge this, make a list of things you want to do and keep it close so you do it. Put your list on the fridge, add a copy to your planner, and stick one on your bathroom mirror. Hold yourself accountable to continue pursuing pleasurable activities. Doing things that matter to you increases confidence in those skills. Look for work that feels meaningful rather than a job that makes you feel miserable but pays a high salary.
  • Create the life you want: No one can live your life but you. Make choices that really fit you. To do this you need to find out who you are. What do you value in life? What matters to you? If you want to be a vegetarian but your friends eat meat, suggest a salad bar with options for lunch. Take one of your dreams and make it a concrete goal. Give it a time frame. Break it into smaller steps. Keep working on each step one at a time. For example: exercise more becomes run a 5k in 6 months. Then find a training schedule online or from a trainer and stick to the routine.
  • Honor your progress: just like starting a workout routine at the gym, going through a self-esteem workout is a challenge. You will be better able to stick with it if you enjoy the process. Once a month or so, reflect back and look at the changes you have gone through. Congratulate yourself for surviving challenge. Take yourself out for a treat to celebrate. Go for ice cream, ask a friend to dinner, buy a new dress, get a mani/pedi, take a nap, go on vacation. The bigger the change, the bigger the reward.

Using these simple steps from the Self Esteem / Increasing Confidence Exercise Developed at Center for Growth / Self Esteem Therapy in Philadelphia, Providence, Mechanicsville, Ocean City, one at a time or all together (just like a full body workout) will help you learn to appreciate yourself and your body, redefine your worth and value, assert needs and boundaries, and increase overall confidence and self-esteem. Keep adapting and changing the strategies as needed to keep progress moving and be sure to reward yourself sporadically!

If you are struggling and need help. Call Center for Growth / Self Esteem Therapy

At TCFG you can schedule directly online with a self esteem therapist. If you prefer talking to a self esteem therapist first, you may call (215) 922-LOVE (5683) ext 100 to be connected with our intake department. Lastly, you can call our Director, “Alex” Caroline Robboy, CAS, MSW, LCSW at (267) 324–9564 to discuss your particular situation. For your convenience, we have six physical therapy offices and can also provide counseling and therapy virtually.

    OUR GUARANTEE: you deserve the best self esteem therapist possible. If you don't feel like the self esteem therapist that you met with was the right fit, then free of charge you can try out a different therapist. Being in a group practices allows for flexibility.

    The Center for Growth has offices in multiple states. We offer both self esteem therapy inperson as well as virtual appointments.

    The Center for Growth Therapy Offices in PA, NJ, VA, RI, NM, CT

Therapy Services Offered in Philadelphia, Ocean City, Mechanicsville, Providence, Santa Fe:

The concept of self-esteem, as it is understood today, evolved over time through the works of various philosophers, psychologists, and thinkers. While it's challenging to identify a single philosopher who first discussed self-esteem, the idea has roots in philosophical and psychological discussions about the self, identity, and human nature. Here are a few philosophers who contributed to the development of ideas related to self-esteem:

  1. Aristotle: In ancient Greece, Aristotle discussed the concept of "eudaimonia," often translated as "happiness" or "flourishing." Aristotle's writings emphasized the importance of living a virtuous life and achieving one's potential, which could be linked to a sense of self-worth and esteem.
  2. Ralph Waldo Emerson: In the 19th century, American transcendentalist philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote about self-reliance, individualism, and the importance of valuing oneself. His essay "Self-Reliance" encourages readers to trust their own instincts and be true to themselves.
  3. William James: Often considered the father of American psychology, William James explored concepts of self and self-esteem. He discussed the idea of "self-esteem" as a component of self-consciousness and self-concept in his psychological writings.
  4. Carl Rogers: In the mid-20th century, psychologist Carl Rogers played a significant role in shaping modern discussions about self-esteem. He emphasized the importance of self-acceptance, congruence, and positive regard in personal growth and psychological well-being.
  5. Nathaniel Branden: A psychologist and philosopher, Nathaniel Branden is often associated with the modern concept of self-esteem. He wrote extensively about self-esteem's role in mental health, emphasizing the importance of self-acceptance and self-responsibility.

It's worth noting that discussions about self-esteem have evolved in both philosophical and psychological contexts over time. While these philosophers and thinkers contributed to the understanding of self-esteem, the concept developed gradually through a combination of philosophical inquiry and psychological research.

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