Feeling insecure can be quite painful on a daily basis. Many, if not all people are faced with these negative feelings. Lacking a strong sense of self-esteem, especially in the personality driven society we experience today can cause distress. The symptoms you may experience are:

  • Doubtfulness

  • Feeling like you're "not enough"

  • Difficulty making decisions for yourself

  • Feelings of failure, emptiness, intense disappointment

  • Hypersensitivity to peoples comments

  • Inability to discern who to trust and who not to trust

  • Holding rigid views of self

There are many faces of self esteem, most of us have an image of what low self-esteem looks like, but it is not always so easy to recognize. 

Three Faces of Low Self Esteem

  1. The Impostor: acts happy and successful, but is really terrified of failure. Lives with the constant fear that she or he will be "found out." Needs continuous successes to maintain the mask of positive self-esteem, which may lead to problems with perfectionism, procrastination, competition, and burn-out. Often looks like a high-achieving individual.

  2. The Rebel: acts like the opinions or good will of others - especially people who are important or powerful - don't matter. Lives with constant anger about not feeling "good enough." Continuously needs to prove that others' judgments and criticisms don't hurt, which may lead to problems like blaming others excessively, breaking rules or laws, or fighting authority. Often looks like Oppositional Defiance in teenagers.

  3. The Loser: acts helpless and unable to cope with the world and waits for someone to come to the rescue. Uses self-pity or indifference as a shield against fear of taking responsibility for changing his or her life. Looks constantly to others for guidance, which can lead to such problems as lacking assertiveness skills, under-achievement, and excessive reliance on others in relationships. Often looks like someone that plays a victim.

Therapy for Self Esteem

Therapy can help you to regain or gain a sense of self-confidence. If you're not ready to make the investment into therapy remind yourself that an investment in therapy is in investment in yourself, and you are worth it! Therapy will goals will be focused on:

  • Unmask persona that they are putting on to hide their self-esteem issues

  • Explore feelings of feeling less competent than most others. 

  • Raise awareness of self disapproval statements.

  • Raise insight into the origins and current sources of low self esteem. 

  • Identify and list activities that would improve self image and define a plan to achieve those goals.

  • Reduce fear of rejection while increasing statements of self acceptance.

  • Reduce the frequency of negative self descriptive feelings and increase frequency of positive self descriptive feelings.

  • Learn to acknowledge and accept verbal compliments from others.

  • Raise frequency of assertive behaviors. 

  • Develop realistic attainable goals in different areas of life.

  • Take full responsibility for accomplishments without discounting his or her effort. 

  • Identify and list any negative self talk messages used to reinforce low self esteem. 

  • Use positive self talk messages to build self esteem. 

  • Raise the frequency and ability to speak up with confidence in social situations.