Self esteem

Self esteem forms an important part of our self concept. We can build self esteem through our actions and by changing our beliefs about who we are.

Thought for the Week

“I can’t give you a sure-fire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time.” —Herbert Bayard Swope

Self esteem conveyed through the image of a woman leaping confidently into a new day against against a backdrop of the blue sky and white clouds

Self esteem helps you leap confidently into a new day

Self esteem defined

Self esteem has been defined as ‘an unfavourable global evaluation of yourself’ (Baumeister, 1996). When we make global evaluations of ourselves as being all one way or another in every dimension of our lives, it gives little room for change. We need to believe that change is possible and to know where to start. Self esteem is not a trait that is fixed. We can grow our self esteem.

These days we have moved on in our way of thinking about self esteem. It is more often viewed as a multidimensional concept that is permeable and open to change. This means that we can enhance our self esteem through the actions we take and how we think about and value ourselves. Whilst we care about what others may think of us, it does not define us. Our self concept is based on broader principles. We often need to take a reality check of our strengths and weaknesses in different areas of our lives, and make some adjustments where needed. This will help us to feel better about ourselves and improve our self image.

From the diary of someone with low self esteem (with permission):

“I’m a failure. I always fail at everything I do. There’s no point in trying anything new. Everyone else is doing better than me at my age. They must look at me and see a loser or maybe they just see through me; I’m not important. I hold myself back; I’m my worse enemy ”

What do you imagine is the impact of this way of thinking on your self esteem? Is it likely that this person has failed at everything they have ever done in life? How does labelling ourselves a ‘failure’ help us to address the things we want to change?

This style of negative self-talk confirms this person’s view of themselves, others and the world.

Counselling can help build self esteem

Counselling can help build self esteem and confidence by transforming negative self-talk into positive change talk. We can learn to see ourselves in more positive ways and develop belief in our ability to change the things we can. Developing a more optimistic attitude and learning to manage the steps towards change can repair our self esteem and build self confidence.

Improved self esteem lead to a more optimistic outlook on life, better health, sleep and mood, better performance at work or on a task, enhanced relationships, healthier coping strategies, personal growth and development. It is within your power to esteem yourself for all that you are and can be.

Read more about how to build self esteem.

Contact Linda Magson, Sydney counsellor specialising in building self esteem.