Everyone suffers from a lack of confidence on occasion, life can present us with challenging and tough situations. However, when low self-esteem becomes a long-term problem, it can be damaging to our mental health and our lives.
Self-esteem is the opinion we have of ourselves. Healthy self-esteem generally leads us to feel positive about ourselves and life. We’re better able to handle life's ups and downs.
Low self-esteem tends to lead us to see ourselves and our life in a more negative and critical light. Life’s challenges become daunting and harder to handle.
There are so many factors which can lead us to having low self-esteem. Childhood criticism, failing to meet expectations, stress and anxiety can all contribute. Personality can also play a part - some people are more prone to negative thinking, while others set impossibly high standards for themselves.
If you have low self-esteem or confidence, you may hide yourself away from social situations, stop trying new things, and avoid things you find challenging. This may help initially but, longer-term, it just reinforces your doubts and fears.
This can lead to anxiety, even depression for some people. Others may develop unhelpful habits, such as smoking and drinking too much, as a way of coping. There are some techniques you can try to help boost your self-esteem though.
1. Recognise your strengths, including the small details, we’re all good at something! Be it cooking, doing puzzles or simply being a good friend. Try doing things you enjoy, it helps boost your mood.
2. Build positive relationships. Spend time with people who make you feel good about yourself, especially those who tend to be positive. Avoid overly-critical people.
3. It can be hard but, be kind to yourself. Maybe think about what you’d say to a friend going through a similar situation to the one you’re facing. We’re often gentler with a friend than with yourself.
4. Learn to be assertive while still respecting other people's opinions and needs. Try copying other people who act assertively.
5.Learn to say 'no'. People with low self-esteem often feel they have to say yes to other people, even when they don't really want to. You can end up becoming overburdened, resentful, angry and depressed.
6. Challenge yourself! Don’t let nerves or fear stop you from doing things. Set yourself a goal, such as joining an exercise class or going to a social occasion. Achieving your goals will help to increase your self-esteem.
If you’re becoming overwhelmed with your feelings of low self-esteem, it’s recommended to speak to someone trusted, a professional even, such as your GP.
Our monthly residential retreat, ‘Get Your Life Back’, is another option. You’ll learn how your mind works and how to take back control of your life.------
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