Low self-esteem - faith in yourself?
We are all born originals – why is it so many of us die copies?
We all have a picture of the sort of person that we are, and this image is at the very heart of how we judge ourselves. When this is a negative view, this can give us low self-esteem. Often this low self-esteem is skewed not by our own judgement of what is right and wrong, but what we perceive others thing is right and wrong. These values might come from many places. They may be values that your parents gave you, or that society gave you, or they may even be unspoken standards that no one has said but we all know that well brought up people don’t …
For those who don’t have low self-esteem there is a more positive outlook. Yet for those with low self-esteem the bias swings the other way, we tend to hear the critical voices of the past comparing ourselves to some perfect norm created by the rules set forth by other people rather than our own opinion. Here in lies the problem.
We may like to see our self as someone who speaks out, who says what they thinks, who goes and just tries to enjoy life full on. But we worry. What will our spouse think, will people like us if we are honest with them? Will people judge us as not a good mother / father / daughter / parent / son / worker because we are putting ourselves first rather than others? You can’t compare an apple to an orange. It will cause a lot of self-esteem issues.
Your view of life (the apple) is what you want to be, why beat yourself up because everyone else is annoyed you are not an orange. It is important to realise that it is their opinion that you should be an orange, only you can truly know what will make you happy.
Now, I am not suggesting for one moment that you can be completely selfish and be happy. Most of would wish family and friends in our lives to be happy and have a good relationship with us, but that should be about a relationship with the real you with the you that is confident not the person who hates themselves and has low self-esteem.
If you find that you are always trying to please others, if you find it hard to accept compliments, if you find it hard to say complimentary things about yourself then it is likely that you need to do some work on your self-esteem. This can be hard to do on your own because you may already have a strong bias to be negative toward yourself. Yet simple things like taking time for yourself remembering that you are doing the best that you can and even saying “thank you” whenever you are given a compliment (even if you think that they are wrong), and noticing how it feels to look after yourself, and judge yourself by the same standards as you judge others, can all bring about change.
You may wish to go a step further and work with a counsellor on your low self-esteem and they can help you to build confidence and see yourself in a more positive light so that you can begin to enjoy life more.
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About Graeme Orr
I am an Accredited Member of BACP offering counselling for both individuals and couples on the Southside of Glasgow.
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