Experiences of low self-esteem and low self-worth are not uncommon. We all struggle with how we feel about ourselves from time-to-time. Some of us may even struggle with our self-worth on a regular basis.

Issues of self-esteem are central to overall mental health. When we experience a stable sense of self-esteem we are less likely to struggle with problems related to personality, addiction, or other unhealthy behaviors. A realistic and reliable sense of self-esteem is also an overarching treatment goal for most psychotherapy approaches, even if it is not explicitly identified as such.

Developing realistic self-esteem or self-esteem that is neither perfectionistic nor falsely inflated is important when considering personal growth and efforts to support the development of greater self-confidence. 

How do you experience your self-esteem? Are you overly concerned or need to achieve perfection to experience a sense of worth? How realistic are your goals and self-evaluations?

Developing reliable self-esteem is likewise an important part of psychological wellness. Self-esteem is reliable when it protects us from feeling devastated by criticism or manipulated by excessive praise. It provides us with a basis for evaluating negative feedback without feeling a sense of shame or excessive self-doubt.   

How do you feel when faced with criticism? How do you react or behave? How do you feel when faced with praise? How do you react or behave? How stable or consistent is your sense of self-worth and what causes you to doubt yourself?

Tips for Building Self-esteem

Identify your strengths.

Stop comparing yourself to others.

Follow through on commitments you make to yourself.

Remain open to change and remind yourself that meaningful change can take time. 

Look for opportunities to practice taking initiative and experience a sense of agency.

Connect with positive and supportive people. 

Learn to accept compliments.

Allow yourself to feel proud.

Take small steps to face your fears.

Observe your self-talk; if you are overly critical, shift to more positive self-talk.

Practice self-compassion and affirm your inherent worth.

Overall, individuals with healthy self-esteem are able to remain levelheaded about personal limitations, while also acknowledging and trusting in their strengths. As we grow our self-esteem we will be more able to embrace our inevitable faults and needs, while also apologizing for any hurt we cause and expressing gratitude when others reach out to help us. Realistic and reliable self-esteem allows us to make our needs known, accept responsibility for our actions, and ultimately experience more genuine emotional intimacy in our relationships.  

Dr. Thomas Lindquist, Psy.D.

Licensed Psychologist

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Published by tlindquistpsyd


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