Although, in many respects, the concept of self-esteem is similar to the concept of self-confidence, there is something of a difference. While self-confidence places an emphasis on the way you feel about your ability to do certain things, self-esteem focuses instead more on the opinion you have of yourself.
It has been suggested that you will allow yourself to experience only as much happiness as you believe you are worthy of receiving. Certainly, it is true that your levels of self-esteem and self-acceptance go hand in hand with your level of happiness and indeed they lie at the very core of your emotional wellbeing. (Isn’t it sobering to think that an unconscious self-assessment of your value as a person is so directly related to the quality of your life?) So where does it all begin?
As a small child, your sense of yourself was likely to have been transmitted to you by the key people in your life. For example, if your parents were either unable or unwilling to make you feel that you were completely acceptable as a person, you are likely to have begun to doubt yourself and to have questioned you adequacy.
Perhaps, in a noble effort to encourage their offspring to be the best that they can, parents can inadvertently cause them to feel simply not good enough. It is interesting that many over-critical parents, with out ever realising it, give a message to their child that they are only worthwhile to the extent that they show certain positive characteristics or behave in a certain way – something that is not always easy for them to do. As a result, the child can grow up to believe that it is only conditionally acceptable or is even defective in some way.
There is, of course, nothing wrong with a parent challenging specific behaviours that may need to be corrected. However, it is when too little supportive encouragement is provided alongside this guidance, and when an over-critical style of parenting takes over, that emotional issues are likely to arise in a child. As you learn your parenting skills from your own parents, you are likely to end up parenting yourself in much the same way they parented you - even after you have eventually grown up and left home. Perhaps this is the reason so many people end up being over self-critical and so very harsh with themselves.
Add to this the critical pressures that so often comes from your peers and your even partner (who may well also each be coming to terms with their own learned parenting skills and their own self-esteem issues) and you can start to see the extent of the crippling problem so many people face. You can grow up feeling that you are lacking in looks, intelligence or personality or just more generally that there is something terribly wrong with you.
For healthy self-esteem to exist, it is necessary to learn to accept yourself unconditionally (despite any apparent deficiencies that you may think you have). Some people are a little scared to do this, as they believe it may prevent them from achieving the things they most want from life, and may so force them to settle for second best. However, self-acceptance (and being kind and gentle to yourself) need not stop you from also exercising some healthy self-discipline in your daily life. Perhaps, in a rather counter-intuitive way, it may provide you with the clarity, peace and headspace that can make all the difference to your success in the world.
It is interesting that self-compassion seems to go hand in hand with self-acceptance. Such qualities as mindfulness, kindness and a non-judgemental attitude (both towards yourself and towards others) seem to serve to promote healthy self-esteem. It is helpful to start to let go, as best you can, of any guilt you might be holding on to and also to forgive yourself for those things that you may have previously assumed as simply being your own fault.
Hypnotherapy, and its related disciplines, can be effective in establishing a stable sense of security and self-worth. The work we will do together will enable you to start to accept yourself as a valuable person. It will encourage you to challenge any negative beliefs you might hold about yourself and about the world and help you to break some of those negative thought and behaviour patterns that have, in the past, proved to be so unhelpful.
Because self-esteem, or a lack of self-esteem, is largely created in your mind, you will find that you really do have the ability to make the changes necessary to enable you to feel good about yourself and enjoy life more. Please feel free to contact me or make an appointment to see me.
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Every time you don't follow your inner guidance, you feel a loss of energy, loss of power, a sense of spiritual deadness.