Low self-esteem and low self-confidence can be debilitating. Cyclical relationships have been identified between self-esteem and our actions. If you don’t value yourself positively, you don’t engage in meaningful activities and this interferes with your ability to reach your potential and lead a health and fulfilling life.
It is important to become aware of the fact that low self-esteem is a state of mind and not set in stone or an accurate reflection of reality even though the cause may at times be (negative peers, difficult childhood, absent parents, unrealistic goals, negative thought patterns or some bad choices). By consistently allowing oneself to negatively evaluate and criticize oneself, one is reinforcing that sense of low self-esteem and, as has been shown in research using neuroimaging, neural pathways in the brain which have been fine-tuned over the years to negative self evaluate, become the default internal reaction in our self-talk whether it be to do with physical appearance, performance at work or at home or in our interaction with the environment. What is pivotal is to recognize that feelings and thoughts about yourself are not static but can be changed. Low self-esteem does not have to accompany you for the rest of your life.
We can stop holding ourselves back…. The brain is plastic and malleable and with practice can be trained to react more adaptively. Psychotherapy provides support in recognizing strengths, skills and resources even if you don’t believe that they exist at the moment. In the safe psychotherapeutic space you can allow yourself to challenge your negative self-beliefs and risk thinking about yourself in a different way. I integrate CBT, visualization and relational psychotherapy in working with low self-esteem issues.