I'd like to talk about self-esteem.
- How highly do you view yourself?
- Do you love and respect yourself?
- Do you feel confident in the choices that you make and the way that you live your life?
We all have a certain level of self-esteem. It often develops in childhood and can be changed as we grow and learn throughout life. In my work, I've recognized that low self-esteem often contributes to symptoms of depression and anxiety.
If you sit back and reflect, where do you fall in regards to your self-esteem? If it feels like you have a lower self-esteem, ask yourself why. Where did that originate? Sometimes we let the opinions of others influence the way we feel about ourselves. Other times it's internal, caused by our own need for perfectionism.
I'm here to tell you that there is no perfect person. If we can allow ourselves to make mistakes and learn from them, we start to feel better about our abilities and ourselves. If your low self-esteem is attributed to the opinions of others, I'd encourage you to challenge those opinions. Other people do not have to determine our self-worth. We can learn to feel good about ourselves and confident in the decisions that we make.
Speaking of which, have you ever struggled with confidence? In my experience, I've noticed that confidence affects so many aspects of our lives. Confidence and self-esteem are very much linked together. Having a higher confidence can influence a higher and more positive self-image. This is something that I've personally struggled with in the past, and currently as well at times. However, when I have more confidence, I tend to perform better at my tasks. Have you ever heard of the phrase "fake it until you make it"? Sometimes this can apply.
When there is no evidence to support having a low opinion of yourself, it can be helpful to act as if you are confident and comfortable with your skills, abilities and personal choices. Over time, you will find that you start to believe in yourself, thus increasing your self-esteem.
Other ways to help increase your self-esteem include finding activities that give you a sense of competency and achievement. Creating and then accomplishing personal goals can also help you feel as though you have mastered a task and are a worthy person. However, we have to believe this in order to reap the benefits that come with feeling good about ourselves. It might also be helpful to consider the relationships that you have with others. Do you surround yourself with people who lift you up, support and encourage you? Or, are you around negativity, criticism and invalidation? As I’ve mentioned, relationships with others can either positively or negatively affect the way we view ourselves.
I hope you can evaluate your self-image and discover that you are just as worthy as any other person. Why wouldn’t you be? When I’m feeling down about something, I try to call attention to my strengths, accomplishments throughout life and personal traits, which we all too often forget to acknowledge. You have strengths too! If you ever feel like you could benefit from additional support, the clinicians at BWG would be happy to help you find your strengths and give you that support. Please reach out.
“Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than you.” -Dr. Suess
Kimberly Vitolo, MS, LMFT
Adolescent IOP Co-Facilitator
Marriage and Family Therapist