Counselling for Better Self Esteem
By Christina Radziejewski
Can you recall the dreams you had as a child? What happened to those dreams? To be more precise, what’s holding you back from living the life you desire and deserve?
Have you missed out on promotions at work because you did not believe you were good enough?
Have you ruined relationships because you felt undeserving of love?
Do you feel unimportant, and that people do not care for what you might have to say?
Do you feel that you have apologized your way through life?
What is self-esteem?
We could describe self-esteem as “how we feel about ourselves”. It’s how we value ourselves independently of the world, and how we feel about what we are capable of doing.
How we feel about ourselves may shift up and down on a daily basis, depending on the situation in which we find ourselves. As emotional beings, it is natural to react to any given situation. However, depending on whether we have good or poor self-esteem, the same circumstances may either be recognised as just another situation in life that we must deal with, or be perceived as a personally devastating event.
Usually stemming from childhood, self-esteem is one factor that influences whether or not we live the life that we desire. As children, we develop healthy and positive self-esteem and confidence when we receive an appropriate amount of recognition and genuine praise for our accomplishments. When we are not able to do something, we are encouraged to try again, and not let the failure get us down. When we make a mistake, we are neither berated nor humiliated. Rather, we are encouraged to evaluate the consequences, and use the opportunity to learn.
Feeling defeated by life
As adults, in the business and the “busy-ness” of living life, it is easy to forget how much we have accomplished. We feel defeated when we don’t get what we want, and we judge and criticise ourselves on a single and temporary “setback” on our path to “success”.
It is all too common to compare ourselves to our neighbours, or our colleagues, and envy their bigger house, nicer car, or more successful life. Sometimes we beat ourselves up when we are not able to meet the expectations or dreams of our parents. Sometimes we simply forget to love ourselves.
When we have good self-esteem, we regard ourselves positively, and we feel capable of achieving our goals and our dreams. We feel deserving of what life has given us, and we look forward positively to what else life has to offer.
When things happen to us, we are usually able to evaluate it for what it is, process it as necessary, and we are able to let it go without letting it affect us. When we experience failure or defeat, we are able to pick ourselves up, evaluate the situation, learn from it, and restore ourselves to our usual state. We have a good sense of who we are, and we feel good about ourselves.
However, in the extreme, it is possible for individuals to develop an over inflated sense of self, leading to a narcissistic-type personality, whereby they feel entitled, or that they could do no wrong. Such behaviors or thinking may be self-destructive, and negatively impacts significant relationships.