Many people notice their self-worth fluctuates depending on their circumstances. They are awarded with a promotion at work so they feel great about themselves. Later in the same day, their child yells “I hate you” and they sink into despair.
People with a low self-esteem have had childhood experiences where they were criticized, yelled at, ignored, or expected to be perfect all the time. Their inner voice becomes a harsh critic, constantly criticizing, punishing and judging their behaviors. People with a healthy self-esteem grew up in families where they were praised, listened to, spoken to respectfully and got attention and hugs just for being who they are. A person with a healthy self-esteem has an inner voice that is positive and reassuring. When they make a mistake, they may be disappointed, but they can soothe and support themselves rather than being harsh and critical.
Here’s how therapy can help boost your self-esteem:
- Teach you how to rebuke the inner critic. You can learn to recognize how you are judging yourself and create healthier ways of thinking and being, which will result in a higher self-esteem.
- Help you catch generalizations you make that are self-defeating and teach you to be specific. For example, you eat junk food all day on Saturday and tell yourself “I have no self-control, I’m going to get fat, and I’ll never be able to eat healthy again.” You can learn to be more specific “This one day I ate poorly, tomorrow will be a new day. My track record shows that most of the time I eat healthy.”
- Encourage you to practice self-care. By nurturing yourself, you will feel more valuable, competent, deserving and lovable.
- Increase your support network. Therapy can provide a healthy environment that can teach you how to be in other healthy relationships. Being around people who build you up increases your self-worth.