Low self-esteem (LSE)

Sometimes referred to as low self-confidence, LSE refers to the constant sense of not being good enough. Fortunately self esteem therapy can help.

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Signs of low self esteem in adults


You believe that if people get to know the real you, they will reject you.

You doubt your competence and fear failure.

You believe that you cannot argue your point as well as other people.

You feel anxious whenever attention is on you. 

You feel hopeless about having meaningful connections.

You feel low or even depressed.

You feel that you do not deserve to be happy.

You may find it hard to make decisions and take risks.

You may struggle to start projects, or procrastinate after you start.

You may continuously search for self improvement techniques like meditation, yoga, or going to the gym.

You have a sense that you do not know yourself.

What causes low self esteem?

Our sense of self-worth begins to build from the moment we are born (and perhaps even before). If we are fortunate, we sore up our caregivers’ love, interest, acknowledgment, and validation long before we learn to form “explicit”, “autobiographical” memories. Adverse childhood experiences like childhood trauma or childhood emotional neglect may leave us unsure about how loved or wanted we are. 

LSE tends to perpetuate it self:

– We hide our true selves or avoid meaningful connections and we deny ourselves love, validation, and emotional nourishment.  

– We do not try because we may fail, and therefore never experience the joy of success.

-We do not allow ourselves to enjoy life, and drink deeply from the well of experiences all around us. 

This is why often self-esteem counselling provides a way out of these cycles and forward.

Building self confidence requires experiences

In order to reduce the self doubt, and begin to live life more fully, we need to have different experiences. We saw above that low self esteem can keep us away from sources of love and validation:

-We form relationships, but we choose emotionally unavailable or abusive partners.

-We participate in relationships, but we prioritise the other and make ourselves unimportant.

-We can live vicariously through others’ success and joy, including our partners or children.


How does self esteem therapy help?


First and foremost, you have access to a safe space, away from distractions, where the focus is on you. 

-As attention is on you, you are helped to see the many ways you may hide yourself from your therapist, and even supress your emotions while in the presence of another person. As you see this again and again, you allow more compassion for yourself to build up. 

-You will discover that underneath the anxiety you experience there are unfelt emotions. Feeling these can will allow you to truly introduce yourself to your therapist and therefore to others in your life.  

-You will learn to set healthy boundaries and say no in an empathic way, boosting your self confidence as you begin to treat yourself as an important person.

-You can begin to take risks, sharing your thoughts and trying different ways of being with your therapist. 

-You can discover the roots of your low self confidence by exploring your childhood experiences. You can build up sympathy for yourself as you notice how you may had to adapt to difficult early environments.

-As you learn to connect with your therapist in anger, sadness, and joy, you can begin to overcome the sense of isolation and risk connections with others in your life. 

 -All of the above can help you to begin loving yourself more.



Photography by Amanda Dalbjörn, Baptista Ime James, Vasily Koloda, & Toa Heftiba

Benefits of therapy

Increased self awareness
  • Discover your unique relationship models
  • Identify otherwise invisible patterns of thinking and feeling that lead to unhelpful behaviours
  • Explore your values and make decisions
Use your emotions
  • Turn your emotions into information
  • Identify your needs
  • Become the truest version of yourself
Improve your relationships
  • Connect
  • Communicate
  • Share
  • Become more assertive
  • Become more collaboartive
Reduce suffering
  • Reduce self-criticism
  • Reduce doubt
  • Reduce worry and rumination
  • Reduce a sense of meaninglesness

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