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Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence

Self-esteem and confidence is an overall opinion of yourself. The level of self-esteem that we possess can affect all aspects of life including the type of people we attract, the career we build, relationships etc. Contrary to what people may believe, self-confidence is not the same as self-esteem. Self-confidence is built on achievement, while self-esteem is built on opinion.

By definition, self-esteem is a term used in psychology to reflect a person's overall evaluation or appraisal of his or her own worth. Self-esteem encompasses beliefs and emotions such as triumph, despair, pride and shame. Self-confidence is the socio-psychological concept that relates to self-assurance in one's personal judgement, ability, power, etc, sometimes manifested excessively.

Even though there is a separation between self-esteem and self-confidence, they do go hand-in-hand as they have to deal with the view of one’s self. However, it is possible for someone to have more of one than the other.

Self-esteem and self-confidence issues are more common in people’s lives than what most may think. These are very intimate issues that most people either ignore and do not discuss openly, at times, they are so deeply affected by them that they literally choose to hide from the world to avoid any outside view of their self-reflection. For the sake of easy reading, we will focus mainly on self-esteem, since it is more of an internal issue.

common symptoms of Low Self-Esteem

• Questioning your capabilities, doubting and worrying.
• Doing things excessively for other people.
• Difficulty saying no and feeling guilty when you do.
• Lack of boundaries.
• Difficulty making choices.
• Not feeling capable and deserving of more.
• Difficulty prioritising your own needs, wants and feelings.
• Tendency to follow along what others are doing, saying, wearing and going.
• Hiding and doubting your opinions, thoughts and feelings.
• Social withdrawal.
• Lack of social skills and self-confidence.
• Anxiety.
• Fear of judgment
• Fear of being found out.
• Eating Disorders and Body Image Issues.
• Accentuating the negative.
• Self-neglect and worrying whether you have treated others badly.
• Inability to accept compliments.
• Negative self-talk.
• Frequently apologising.
• Avoiding risks.
• Avoiding eye contact.
• Constantly seeking approval from others
• Pessimism.

High Self-Esteem
Research has found that people with low self-esteem tend to treat themselves badly, although such treatment is not extended to other people. Surprisingly, it is now clear that too high self-esteem or 'High Self-Esteem Disorder' is often more of a problem, and this is not merely a disguised form of low self-esteem, as commonly thought. Reliable researching shows that bullies and many criminals are much more likely to suffer from unrealistically high self-esteem and impulse control problems rather than low self-esteem. An exaggerated sense of entitlement, expecting much from many situations, is more likely to lead to frustration and aggressive, antisocial, or even criminal behaviour. So it is imperative that a realistic balance is made with this.

Where does Low Self-Esteem stem from?

Past conditioning, often from childhood or past experiences, has been the main cause of self-esteem issues. These conditions can run so deep that people with low self-esteem can be upset by disconfirming feedback. An adult who has healthy self-esteem may have been lucky to be given this gift during childhood. This could have been done in many ways. The most important is being praised for accomplishments. Children who were talked to respectfully and listened to also are likely to have had healthy self-esteem in adulthood. These children were hugged often, given attention and some may have experienced success in school or sporting activities.

On the other side of the spectrum, adults with low self-esteem may have been criticised harshly as children. They may have been bullied, abused, yelled at, beaten, or given little attention by those they were closest to. They may have been ridiculed and teased as they experienced failures in their young lives, making them see failure in those situations as a failure of their whole selves and feel that they had to be perfect to be valued.

Growing up it can help us to hear:

• "I love you."
• "You are not a bad person because you misbehaved."
• "No one can touch your body without your permission."
• "It's ok to be yourself."
• "It's ok to tell me how you feel."
• "Your feelings matter."
• "You are important to me."

Growing up it can help us to see:

• Adults being loving.
• Adults being kind.
• Adults paying attention to them.
• Adults showing their emotions.
• Adults prioritising a child's needs.
• Adults respecting a child's boundaries.

Creating healthier Self Esteem

Healthy self-esteem needs to emerge gradually, not instantaneously. Contrary to popular opinion, people with low self-esteem tend to be very sure of themselves, which lies the problem. This manifests in their conviction that they are worthless or inadequate.

Creating higher and healthier self-esteem and self-confidence is a complicated area but there is hope, remember that you could be wrong about how you view yourself. Drugs are not really effective in the treatment of this particular issue, as there is no pill to help you feel better about yourself or that will take a permanent hold on your self-view.

As it is important to gradually build, or lower, your self-esteem, simply talking to someone who will listen can help tremendously. An open ear may allow you to open your mind to the real you. It is important to learn new ways to challenge your negative perceptions about yourself and unlearn unhelpful patterns of thinking. Counsellors and Psychotherapists can assist you in combating self-esteem and self-confidence issues. They can provide you with the therapeutic support that you need. Counselling Therapy can help you to Review, Retrain, Prove and Recognise.

Counselling for Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence issues can help you to:

Review your past by taking a closer look at the messages you got growing up. In many cases, the messages we received during childhood can severely impact our core self. Counsellors can assist you to identify the past messages you got and take a step to correct the unhelpful or damaging ones. This can help you to get through any unresolved pain.

Retrain your brain, enabling you to think positively without questioning your capabilities, doubting or worrying.

Prove your negative thoughts wrong by accomplishing the very things that you doubt that you have the capabilities of achieving. The more you are supported in proving your fears and negative thoughts wrong, the more you will ensure that it is a corrective experience.

Recognise what you do have, focus more on what is there, rather than what is not. You will learn to avoid comparing yourself with other people and learn to train your brain to notice what you have - what you do well and what you have already achieved. This will also give you the motivation to carry on achieving.

If you are suffering from a self-esteem or self-confidence issue, OCS can help. Our Online and Telephone Therapists can provide you with personalised Counselling via Instant Messenger, Skype or Whatsapp Calling, Email and Telephone.