Self-esteem: The degree to which we think about ourselves positively, is the primary psychological source from which effective thoughts and behaviors originate. Self-esteem is an essential protective factor which helps equip us to navigate both internal and external experiences with confidence and assertion. Having healthy self-esteem is associated with better health, both physical and mental, and positive social interactions. When we more closely evaluate why some individuals experience low degrees of self-esteem, most often what we uncover is fear – a fear of being unlovable, a few of being unworthy, a fear of failure. These fears often can leave us feeling hopeless, which can lead to issues including depression, anxiety, social anxiety, low motivation, diminished ability to make decisions, impaired communication and interpersonal issues.
A common misconception related to the notion of self-esteem is that having high self-esteem results in a sense of arrogance, an excessive sense of entitlement or a tendency to exaggerate one’s successes and positive characteristics. While placing excessive value on one’s self-worth can lead to such outcomes, each individual has ultimate control over how they choose to communicate, both directly and non-verbally, their sense of self-esteem. With appropriate therapeutic support, we can work together to uncover a balance that feels authentic and congruent to you.
At Colorado CBT, we believe improving and maintaining healthy self-esteem is an ongoing and perpetually evolving process over the course of the lifespan. Feelings of self-worth often fluctuate when impacted by external experiences such as aging, interpersonal relationships, career advancements or setbacks, and mental health issues. Because self-esteem is a perception, not a reality, we work to support our clients to take control over unhelpful and rigid thinking patterns associated with self-worth and to replace them with healthier, more effective thoughts. In working to help our clients harness a sense of inner self-respect and compassion, to decrease criticism of self, to improve assertive communication techniques, to strengthen boundary-setting skills and to holistically explore how their personal values play a role in their sense of self-worth, we help empower our clients to begin to rely on the self for validation, instead of developing external reassurance-seeking behaviors. If you are looking to develop a healthier sense of self-esteem, contact us today to be matched with a clinician who can help.