Good evening, I hope we are all settling nicely into 2022. I hope the start of this year has made space for reflection, realignment, and clarity.
I wanted to speak to you today about low self-esteem and how heavily this is linked to our mindset and the way in which we navigate through life. Many of the clients that I work with have the drive, the innovation and the aspirations to impact the world yet, they are riddled with low self-esteem. They navigate through the lens of self-doubt, which is often attributed by many factors including ACES (adverse childhood experiences) or even societal expectations.
So, this is something I really wanted to touch on today as I have experienced low self-esteem and its intense power in preventing me from executing my dreams and aspirations.
So what is low self-esteem?
You may have often heard the sayings, Self-image, self-concept, self-efficacy, self-perception, and self-confidence all of which are heavily linked to the way in which we perceive ourselves. The innate value and worth we place on ourselves and the ability to achieve in life. Now, for many the perception of themselves may be positive and they’re able to affirm greatness into themselves “I am capable of achieving each goal I set for myself”. While others may engage in negative self-talk “I’m a failure, I can’t do this”. Both mindsets are informed by self-esteem.
How do I know if I have low self-esteem?
Let’s help you to identify low self-esteem. The below questions will help you to identify whether you think you have elements of low self-esteem. Simply mark the box that most applies to you. The beauty of completing these self-help exercises Is that it allows you the safe space to be brutally honest with yourself. The first stage is self-acceptance which can often be the most difficult step.
What informs self-esteem?
Early and later experiences:
- Positive attachments with parents or carers and whether they displayed consistent love, warmth, and positive affirmation
- Early relationships and events, living conditions and experiences that may have formed your perception of yourself.
- The belief system implemented by others growing up in a household with strong beliefs both positive and negative
- Lack of confidence, support and safe attachments in school leading to poor academic performance.
- Being exposed to abuse within the home as a child, sexual, physical, emotional, financial
- Negative workplace experiences
- Abusive intimate relationships
This list is not exhaustive.
How does this effect the way we navigate through life?
Our own assessment
Based on some of the experiences named above we will then form an assessment or conclusion of our value as an individual. This often informs the lens through which we perceive ourselves and the world as we navigate through life.
Our guiding values
This assessment then forms our guiding values in terms of how we manage situations within our lives. These are the guidelines we set for ourselves that we believe to be fact. These guiding principles will be the ones we measure out self-worth against although often inaccurate.
How do we overcome low self-esteem?
Gaining awareness and understanding: Having an awareness of the events, circumstances and situations that trigger your low self-esteem will help you to identify where your low self-esteem is most prevalent. It may help to keep a thoughts journal which records
- Event or circumstance that triggered your thoughts process
- What were your thoughts
- What were your bodily sensations?
Questioning the narrative: Each time you observe yourself engaging in negative self-talk, pay attention to what it is you’re telling yourself. Often much of what we think is anxieties and assumptions based on future events that haven’t occurred yet. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What evidence do I have to support my thoughts and the events that I am predicting for the future?
- What Is the worst-case scenario?
- If the worst were to happen, how would it affect me
- What alternative views do I have for my thoughts?
- How can I reframe the way I am thinking?
- Am I confusing my thoughts with facts?
- Are my thoughts being kind to me?
Creating updated guiding values: Now that we have questioned the narrative it’s time to implement your new guiding values.
Firstly: Write down your old values and how they impacted your life. Include how these outdated values prevented you from progressing and the emotions they brought about.
Next: Explore the things that you love about yourself, you can write complete sentences or simply words that describe you, but they must be positive. This will help you to construct a list of values that you want to live by. For example, if you said. ‘confident’ the statement that would follow may be something along the lines of ‘I am a confident being, I will accept the challenges that have been assigned to me’
Finally: List the benefits of living by these new guiding values. ‘How will my life look if I live by these values’
Final words, low Self-esteem often dismisses the reality of the world around us, low self-esteem robs us of our goals and aspirations, low self-esteem makes an appearance when we need self-belief the most.
Lets continue the conversation over on Instagram.