Low Self Esteem

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Low Self Esteem

What is low self-esteem?

Low self-esteem means having an overall negative opinion about the kind of person you are. This will be reflected in the negative way in which you may value or judge yourself. The beliefs which form the essence of low self-esteem can sometimes be difficult to put into words and then you’ll simply have a prevailing sense of being worthless or inadequate. At the very heart of low self-esteem is a core belief that you’re just not good enough: there is something fundamentally ‘wrong’ with who you are. 

Impact of low self-esteem

Low self-esteem can have a strong impact on many areas of your life and can have a severely damaging effect.

As mentioned above, it will be reflected in the basic beliefs and negative thoughts you may have about yourself, such as: 

‘I’m bad’
‘I’m unlovable’
‘I’m unattractive’
‘I don’t matter’
‘I’m useless’
‘I’m a failure’
‘I’m defective’
‘I’m inferior’
‘I’m stupid’
‘I’m odd’

… and so on.

Your thoughts will be full of self-blame, self-criticism and self-condemnation. You will tend to focus on your weaknesses and totally discount your positive qualities. The natural consequence of this is low self-confidence when attempting to do things.

These thoughts and beliefs you have about yourself can be accompanied by feelings of intense shame, anxietydepression, guilt, frustration and anger. These emotions will also influence how you behave in day-to-day situations, i.e., you may have difficulty in asserting yourself; you may find you avoid taking on new challenges; you may have an over-eagerness to please others and to always seek their approval; you may always need to appear confident and in control; you must always strive to be perfect … and so on. 

Enhancing self-esteem

CBT is an evidence-based treatment and, through its practical and tried-and-tested techniques, it can help you to achieve a more balanced and realistic view of who you are. Based on numerous studies on its effectiveness, The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends CBT as the treatment of choice for several emotional disorders.