Low self-esteem and low self-confidence are often the result of someone speaking to themselves in a negative way. The cause of this negative self-talk can be due to being bullied, being in an abusive relationship or growing up with parents who spoke to them negatively. Often the person internalises this way of talking to themselves which can become problematic. Most people can talk to themselves negatively sometimes but when there is a constant stream of negativity such as telling themselves they are not good enough, stupid, useless then they might have a problem with low self-esteem.
For survival reasons we tend to hold onto the negative things we hear much more readily than the positives. For this reason if there have been messages of not being good enough at points in our life we start to believe this and see them as facts.
If you have low self esteem or confidence it impacts on your functioning as you may want to hide yourself away or not go to social events. In the short term this works to get rid of the feeling but the long term consequence is that life becomes more limited and less fulfilling. People with low self-esteem can often struggle to stand up for themselves as they feel as though in some way that they deserve to be treated badly which further reinforces this feeling for them.
If left untreated this can cause problems like anxiety, depression and anger.
Signs and symptoms of low self-esteem and self-confidence
- Feeling sad, down, depressed, or empty
- Finding less pleasure in previously enjoyed activities
- Negative self-talk
- Self loathing
- Low self-confidence
- Difficulty accepting compliments
What type of therapy can help?
Therapy helps people to change the way they speak to themselves so that it becomes less negative and self-fulfilling. It can help people to understand why low self esteem or confidence developed in the first place. It then can teach people new ways of relating to themselves so that they are not constantly putting themselves down.
Therapies which have been found to treat low self esteem and confidence are:
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