SELF ESTEEM COUNSELLING
Self-esteem refers to a person's overall evaluation of their worth and value as a human being. Simply put, our self-esteem is how we feel about ourself or our attitude towards ourself which can either be favourable or unfavorable.
Everyone lacks confidence occasionally but people with low self-esteem are intrinsically unhappy or unsatisfied with themselves while as people with high self-esteem tend to have a positive self-image, feel confident in their abilities, and are more resilient in the face of setbacks and challenges.
Self-esteem is considered to be an essential component of mental wellbeing because it plays a significant role in shaping how individuals view and experience themselves and the world around them. Self-esteem is often shaped by a person's experiences, relationships, and social environment, and it can be influenced by a variety of factors, such as personal achievements, feedback from others, and comparisons with others. People with healthy self-esteem tend to feel more confident, capable, and in control of their lives, whereas those with low self-esteem may experience feelings of worthlessness, inadequacy, and low self-worth.
Having low self-esteem is frequently linked with experiencing negative emotions commonly associated with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. In contrast, individuals with high self-esteem are more likely to experience positive emotions such as happiness, confidence and contentment.
There are a number of related constructs in psychology that together constitute our ‘sense of self’ or our ‘self-concept’ including self-esteem, self-worth and self-efficacy. Self-efficacy refers to an individual's belief in their ability to do what it takes and is a critical building block for self-esteem because it helps individuals feel competent and capable, and gives them a sense of control over their lives.
There are a variety of factors that can contribute to low self-esteem, including:
Negative experiences in childhood: Experiences such as being bullied, neglected, or criticized by parents, teachers, or peers can lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-worth.
Unrealistic expectations: Setting unrealistic expectations for oneself, or comparing oneself to others who seem to have achieved more, can create a sense of failure and low self-esteem.
Perfectionism: Holding oneself to impossibly high standards and feeling like a failure when those standards aren't met can contribute to low self-esteem.
Body image issues: Feeling unhappy or self-conscious about one's physical appearance can lead to a negative self-image and low self-esteem.
Traumatic experiences: Traumatic events, such as abuse or a significant loss, can impact one's sense of self-worth and lead to low self-esteem.
Chronic stress: Dealing with chronic stress, such as from work, relationships, or financial issues, can wear down one's confidence and contribute to low self-esteem.
Mental health issues: Depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions can impact one's self-esteem and sense of self-worth.
Psychologists can work with individuals to help them develop a positive self-concept by addressing underlying issues that may be contributing to negative self-perceptions and encouraging positive self-evaluations, which can lead to improved mental health and emotional wellbeing. Self-esteem counselling is a type of therapy that focuses on helping individuals develop and maintain healthy levels of self-esteem by focusing on it’s building blocks which include self-awareness, self-worth, self-respect, and self-acceptance.
The goal of self-esteem counselling is to help individuals improve their self-perception, increase self-confidence, and develop adaptive coping mechanisms. An important focus of self-esteem counselling is to challenge negative self-talk and encourage positive self-talk as our self-talk plays a huge role in how we feel about ourselves. Negative self-talk stems from ‘negativity bias’, a psychological trait that refers to the tendency of human beings to give more weightage and attention to negative experiences, emotions, and information than to positive ones, by default. This means that negative feedback such as criticism tends to have a stronger impact on our thoughts, feelings, and behavior than positive feedback - for example, people are more likely to remember negative feedback from their boss than positive feedback. This happens subconsciously and can lead to negative self-talk which is detrimental to our self-esteem and can erode our self-worth. The ultimate goal of self-esteem counselling is to help individuals develop a healthy sense of self-worth and improve their overall mental health and wellbeing.