Low Self-Esteem: How To Recognize It And What To Do About It

Low Self-Esteem: How To Recognize It And What To Do About It

Self-esteem is an important factor that helps us to lead a happy and successful life. The term “low self-esteem” refers how our tendency to view our self-worth in a negative way, which is characterized by low self-confidence, difficulties accepting complements from others, negatively comparing self with others, and having difficulties communicating one’s own needs.

To know whether you might suffer from low self-esteem, here are a few key questions you can ask yourself:

• Do you find yourself constantly criticising yourself? Do you think that when you have done well, you can always do better?
• Do you over exaggerate negative experiences and minimize positive ones?
• Do you easily blame yourself or others, and don’t take any responsibility for your actions?
• Do you play the victim, rationalizing that circumstances out of your control are the cause of all your problems?
• Are you constantly comparing yourself to others and feeling inferior?
• Do you always hesitate to make decisions for fear you’ll make the wrong one?
• Do you lack individuality – finding it easier to just go along with everyone else?

If you answered yes to most of these questions, then you may have a low self-esteem. However, not to worry, there are ways to help build a stronger self-esteem. With support from a psychologist, you can participate in counselling in order to improve low self-esteem. If you are not yet ready to take the step into formal treatment, you can begin the process on your own.

Here are some ways to help you build your self-esteem:

1. Self Affirmations: make a conscious effort to think about the positive aspects of your life. Work it into your routine. While you are making the bed every morning or brushing your teeth every night, make it a point to say something you like about yourself or what you did that day.

2. Forget About Perfection. No one is perfect and if you are always focused on being perfect, then you are setting yourself up for failure and disappointment, as perfection does not really exist. Remember that you always give your 100%.

3. Start a Journal. Carry a small notebook or use your cell phone to take note of every compliment you receive. Write down the things that make you smile, your successes and your accomplishments. Start small, it can be as simple as “I finished a report for work on time” or “Cathy liked my sweater.” Read this journal frequently to remind you of all the positive things in life and help you take the focus off the negative things.

Building up your self-esteem is a process. It takes time. Stick with it and these three tips will help guide you down the path to a more positive self-esteem and consequently a happier life.

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About the Author:

Dr Chow is a licensed clinical psychologist with a private clinic in Saint-Laurent (Montreal) and in Saint-Lambert on the South Shore. She received her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Concordia University. She is also a member of the Order of Psychologists of Quebec.