Self-Esteem & Self-Worth

Self-Esteem & Self Worth

Self-esteem is the manner in which we view ourselves and the overall degree in which we feel confident. An individual’s self-esteem can greatly affect their well being as it is directly linked to our opinion of ourselves and the value we place on ourselves as people. Individuals with a low self-esteem have a negative opinion of themselves. A characteristic of individuals with low self-esteem is negative self-talk. For example, this self talk may include message such as “I’m unlovable”, “I’m useless”, or “I’m a failure”. Of course most of us have mixed opinions of ourselves, but if your overall opinion is that you are an inadequate or an inferior person or you feel that you have no true worth and are not entitled to the good things in life, this means your self-esteem is low. Low self-esteem can have a painful and damaging effect on your life. Individuals with low self-esteem constantly compare themselves to others and harshly criticize themselves when they are left feeling inferior. Low self-esteem can be linked to anxiety, depression, co-dependency, substance abuse, relationship issues, and eating disorders among other mental health concerns. Individuals with low self-esteem may also suffer in their interactions with peers and family members.

It is important to recognize that self-esteem changes can take place throughout the course of one’s life. Development of a healthy self-esteem in childhood can fail to occur after a child is subjected to excessive criticism. Missing out on opportunities that would foster a sense of confidence and a healthy sense of purpose could also leave a child vulnerable to having a low self-esteem. Criticism by others for appearance, behavior, social interactions, and disabilities are also factors that lead to a lower self esteem. Although self-esteem may sometimes rise following adolescence, it can also fall again. In adults, sudden life changes or perceived failures such as losing a job, the ending of a relationship, financial troubles, changes in appearance, or difficulty parenting can also leave one questioning their self-confidence and worth. Counseling will assist individuals in challenging their perceptions while assisting them in becoming more confident and assertive in their daily life.

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