Develop a healthy self-esteem

Have you ever stopped to think what you really think about yourself? Have you ever had to describe yourself to a stranger? Do you only see your weaknesses and tend to ignore your strength or achievement? If you feel you can be objective about yourself and accept your failings as well as your strong points, you are displaying a healthy self-esteem. If you find that you mostly focus on your flaws, then your self-esteem could do with a boost. Where do our basic beliefs about ourselves come from?

In general, our basic opinions about ourselves tend to be formed during our childhood and are often coloured by our relationship with significant others. So, if our parents were encouraging and supporting, we are likely to have a balanced opinion of ourselves and to be accepting of our weaknesses as well as recognising our strengths. In addition, other situations are likely to affect how we feel about ourselves. For example, bullying at a young age can do a lot of damage to a child's growing sense of self and many difficulties in later life can be traced back to events in childhood. Our self-image is the result of all the messages we heard about ourselves while we were growing up, such as “you're not too clever” or “you are a sissy”. Most of us have self doubt at times, but this becomes a problem and can really hold us back when we don't believe in ourselves most of the time and we end up worrying about what other people think of us most of the time: Do they find us clever, attractive or funny? Of course, other people's opinion may not be very accurate or reliable.

There are a number of things we can do to improve our self-esteem:

  • It is healthier for us to spend more time with people who respect us and care for us, rather than the ones who put us down all the time.

  • Spending time doing things we love is good for us. Some people enjoy going to the gym, while others relish spending time with a good book. Try to fit an activity you like in your day or at least two to three times a week.

  • Is there anything in our life that makes us feel bad about ourselves? Are there any activities which lower the way we feel about ourselves? If at all possible, avoid them or at least, reduce their frequency.

  • Often we can resolve our problems successfully by ourselves. However, working with a skilled counsellor can help speed the process.

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Morpeth NE61 & Newcastle Upon Tyne NE3
Written by Anna Dallavalle, MBACP (Accred)
Morpeth NE61 & Newcastle Upon Tyne NE3

Anna Dallavalle is a counsellor with a private practice in the North East of England. She works with individuals and couples on issues such as self-confidence, anxiety, depression, relationship issues and the emotional and physical impact of the menopause of women and their relationships.

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