A definition of self esteem could read like,"a realistic respect for or favourable impression of oneself; self-respect," and of confidence, “self-assurance arising from an appreciation of one’s abilities”. We all lack self esteem and self confidence from time to time but self-esteem is essential to our ability to function in a healthy way. Without the foundation of a solid sense of self-worth, we are unable to take the risks and make the decisions necessary to lead a fulfilling, productive life.
Low self-esteem corrodes our love lives, careers, family bonds, and, most importantly, our internal sense of well-being. A high self-esteem, on the other hand, brings the high level of confidence, problem-solving abilities, and assertiveness needed to achieve what a famous psychotherapist, Maslow called "self-actualization"- a continuous desire to fulfil potentials, to be all that you can be.
People who have positive self-esteem have healthier, stronger relationships with others. A strong sense of self-worth actually creates a type of self-fulfilling prophecy: the more you like yourself, the more you begin to act in likable ways; the more you believe you are able to achieve something, the more likely it is that you will. The good news is that psychotherapy can assist you to take steps to improve your self-esteem. After all, there's nothing more important than the relationship you have with yourself! Some of the symptoms that indicate that there is a lack of self-esteem and/or lack of self-confidence are as follows:
Blaming others or acting as you are always a victim.
Denial, for example minimising problems “it doesn’t matter” when you know it does– you minimise the importance of your feelings or emotions.
Feeling angry but not knowing how to express it at an appropriate time in a reasonable way. Often this results in outbursts of inappropriate anger at unreasonable times. Anger can be a positive emotion but is often experienced as self-destructive because of low self esteem.
Depending on others and waiting for signs of approval from others before being able to accept yourself. In other words assuming that someone else’s opinion must be more important than your own.
Lack of personal boundaries – this is not knowing when to draw a line between your own problems and those of others. You either let people be invasive of our emotional space or you ignore their emotional boundaries.
If you think you may suffer from low self-esteem or a lack of self confidence then a period in psychotherapy could be beneficial to you and you are encouraged to make an appointment so that you are able to start addressing these issues.