Self-esteem or “amour-propre” is the degree to which one feels confident, valuable and worthy of respect. It is a notion that is woven through our social, familial, professional and personal life. Confidence is an appreciation that we have of ourselves, a dynamic representation of us linked to our emotional memory of success and failure. The level of self-esteem depends on how we have learnt to love, accept and trust ourselves and should be viewed as a continuum and can be high, medium or low.
Low self-esteem ranks among the strongest predictor of emotional and behavioural problems. People who operate at a high level of self-esteem often feel good about themselves and their life, while people with low self-esteem often feel shame and self-doubt.
Compared to people with high self-esteem, people with low self-esteem tend to be more anxious, depressed, lonely, jealous, shy and generally unhappy. They are also less assertive, less likely to enjoy close friendships and more likely to drop out of school. Furthermore, they are more inclined to behave in ways that pose a danger to themselves or others.
EDUCATION AND SELF-ESTEEM
An authoritarian, permissive or neglectful parenting style is characterised by high responsiveness and high demands. This style is responsive to the emotional needs of the child while having high standards. The parents set limits and are very consistent in enforcing boundaries.
Negative early experience that leads to low self-esteem
Harsh parental standards
Lack of praise, warmth and affection
Staying in a family or group where other members are prejudiced towards them
Being on the receiving end of someone else’s stress or despair
Parenting should be founded on a principal of communication and negotiation with the child as long as the distinction between the parent and child role does not disappear.
The main purpose is to build a basis where the child can discover and explore with a sense of belonging. She or he will develop without the feelings of fear linked to a lack of boundaries or to feel abandoned. So, self-esteem is instilled first in the family environment.
The different domains of self-esteem are physique, educational success, behavioural standards, athletic skill and popularity. These domains developed during infancy will be crucial as a foundation for self-esteem in adulthood.
CAUSE OF LOW SELF-ESTEEM
The lack of self-esteem is a problem that affects a large number of people. Research shows that the majority are not aware of it. In most cases when an individual seeks medical advice regarding anxiety or depression, lack of self-esteem is underlying these conditions. Then from this awareness, he or she can realise how low self-esteem can impact on mental health.
People with low self-esteem are always self-critical. Their suspicion of other’s intentions makes them unable to accept compliments.
Unable to trust own opinion
Hard on oneself but lenient with others
Frequent anxiety and emotional turmoil
Afraid to take challenges, being worried of failure
Less common symptoms
There is no direct way to improve self-esteem and there are benefits from improving it. When an individual pursues higher self-esteem, life becomes simpler and lighter, it is easier to reduce or eliminate self-sabotage and develop more inner stability. One can discover authentic happiness.
Create time for self-appreciation
Behaving with integrity
Create a daily list of positive reflections
Reduce or eliminate the negative critical inner voice
Be kind to others
See mistakes and failures in a positive light
Create healthy motivation habits
Spend time with positive people
Engage in new activities
Be less judgmental
Avoid unrealistic and/or unattainable goals
Remember benefits of high self-esteem
The belief behind the improvement of self-esteem is similar to the desire of happiness. People do not feel immediately happier as healthy self-esteem emerges subtly.
Behaviour modification is a therapeutic approach designed to change a particular undesirable negative behaviour. This concept has been found to be successful in treating conditions like low self-esteem.
Get the help and support you need by contacting Plaisance Counselling if improving low self-esteem is important to you. My service offers highly effective cognitive behavioural therapy combined with a supportive and welcoming environment where you can talk through your concern openly.
To boost your self-esteem and bring your confidence back, make an appointment with Plaisance Counselling and discover how to improve your self-worth.