Do You Focus on Your Weaknesses Instead of Your Strengths?
Are you uncomfortable claiming your unique qualities or accepting compliments? Do you wonder how others live such great lives while you are always struggling? Are you more critical of yourself than you are of others? Do you feel that if you don’t do everything perfectly, you are a failure? Do you feel crippled by low self-esteem?
You may seem happy and successful on the outside, but secretly live with the fear that you will be “found out.” This “imposter syndrome” can drive you to overachieve and strive for continuous success to maintain the mask of positive self-esteem. This can lead to problems with perfectionism, procrastination, competition, and burn-out.
Low self-esteem could also be a perpetual struggle. When masked, this can lead to rebelliousness, acting as if the opinions or good will of others – especially people who are important or powerful – don’t matter. The self-esteem mask can protect you from the hurt of perceived judgments and criticisms by others. It can also lead to problems like blaming others excessively, or struggling with authority.
Or perhaps you feel helpless and in need of others to provide guidance. This can lead to a lack of assertiveness skills and claiming your own strengths, lack of trust in self, and excessive reliance on others. When you don’t feel solid within, you can easily feel anxious and unsure.
What is Self-Esteem?
Self-esteem is a realistic, appreciative opinion of oneself that can fluctuate at different points in one’s life. The fact that self-esteem fluctuates means that self-esteem can change! You are not powerless, and you don’t have to have low self-esteem forever. Through therapy you can learn to regain your power, challenge the negative messages of the inner critic, develop a compassionate and nurturing relationship with yourself, learn to trust yourself and start overcoming low self esteem.
Sometimes it can be helpful to reframe or gain understanding about a situation or
experience that may have contributed to the way you feel about yourself. For example, you may feel the need to be perfect because early on it was the only way your needs for connection were met. These experiences shape our behavior and condition us to believe or behave in a certain way that is no longer working. By gaining a different perspective about the situation you can shift your beliefs about yourself and give yourself the compassion and nurturing that you needed.
Other people might find that learning to trust themselves can improve low self-esteem. This involves learning to tune in and identify your inner resources to help guide you in decisions and feeling confident in yourself. If you find yourself asking others for advice or opinions and not trusting yourself or feeling the need for reassurance, this might be helpful for you. You can feel stronger and more secure when you feel confident from within.
“Therapy has provided me with a “safe and honest” realm – a safe place where I can reveal myself deeply and honestly. This is not easy for at times, but it is something that I am gradually incorporating into my daily life. Therapy is a treasure box of healthy living. I highly recommend it.”
The way that we work with low self-esteem in our practice is through learning and practicing self-compassion. This means acknowledging when you’re having a hard time or experiencing pain, learning to accept yourself with all your imperfections, learning to soothe yourself with comfort and kindness when you’re stressed, anxious, or unsure, and learning to allow yourself to be a fallible human like everyone else. Learning to practice self-compassion on a regular basis is a challenging skill when applied to yourself, but most likely you’re a natural at providing this for others. Through therapy, you’ll learn to develop this kind and loving relationship with yourself vs. a harsh, judging voice which can be a resource for you when things are tough.
Self-compassion doesn’t mean not having goals for yourself or not striving to do well. Rather, it is a way of relating to yourself that actually helps you accomplish your goals more readily than through shame-based methods. No matter what your accomplishments on the outside, successes or failures, you are deserving and worthy of kindness and compassion. Ultimately, this can increase your emotional resilience.
Therapy for Low Self-Esteem Can Help You:
- Develop a realistic sense of your strengths and feel at ease with yourself
- Find value within yourself and learn to trust yourself
- Recognize that you are “comparing your insides to other people’s outsides,” exaggerating their strengths in comparison to your own
- Learn to challenge the negative self-talk that attacks your self-esteem
- Decrease feelings of inadequacy
- Increase self-esteem and self-acceptance
- Learn to communicate assertively with others
- Love others securely
- Make life changes that support your values vs. your fears, such as asking for a raise or promotion or seeking a new career or relationship
- Increase overall life satisfaction
You don’t have to feel this way. Overcoming low self-esteem is possible.
“Joan really helped me to develop as a young adult. It’s trying times – figuring out who you are. Everyone around you is advising with the best of intentions, but Joan helped me see that those views are valid based on their experiences and desires, but that my desires may not align. And I may not have the same experiences. It was very liberating. I feel like I have progressed in building ME since then. Joan really believed in me. That meant (and still means) a lot.”
You Don’t Have to Struggle with Low Self-Esteem
Long-term benefits of increased self-esteem can impact every area of your life from increased health and well-being to more satisfying relationships. Let one of our licensed therapists help you reclaim and value your unique self. Click here to schedule an appointment with a counselor, or call us at 832-559-2622 and ask about our Low Self-Esteem Counseling Services. Face to face counseling is available in Houston as well online therapy via phone or videoconferencing.