Many people come to counseling to work on self-esteem issues. This can present as anxious thoughts, negative self-talk, and struggles with interpersonal situations. It’s out assessment on how we fit into our social situations, our work hierarchy, and our relationships.
There’s some strategies that can be helpeful with exploring issues of self-esteem.
This is often something we talk about in therapy (sorry to everyone who has ever heard “and tell me about your childhood”). That being said, thinking about the root cause of low self-esteem can help tackle it in the day to day experience of it. While it’s often triggered by current events, “old stuff” is often what’s coming up and often someone else’s voice is coming up in your thought processes.
Identifying Thinking Errors
Mapping out and challenging thinking errors can be helpful. Play out the tape, including “worst case scenarios”. This includes looking at what your negative self-image makes you want to do- i.e., isolate, get into a fight with significant others, etc. Play out all the scnearious before you decide which direction you want to go.
Noticing the Inner Critic
Changing self-talk. Some people imagine talking to a younger version of themselves. Others stop and consider how you would feel if someone said those things about a close friend or family member. Extend the same compassion you’d give a friend or family member to yourself.
(For some people, the above is a bit challenging. Instead, try swapping out for neutral statements.)
Make a Plan
Make a plan/goal. SMART goals are a great tool for this. This would be particularly great for your goal of hiking, reading, or going to the gym.
Note the Wins
Celebrate successes- either with the above goals or if you notice yourself saying something kind to yourself- really hype it up. Enjoy that moment and own it.
Self-esteem still challenging you?