As a therapist, an issue I often run across is that people don’t like themselves. For us
to like ourselves, it is important that we get constant positive feedback. When we are
children we look to our parents to build our little egos so that we can feel valuable
and important. On the other, hand, parents are busy and feel overwhelmed. They may
not know the best things to say or do. They may well have their own emotional
problems. It’s easy for parents to get caught up in correcting their children more than
praising them. This lack of positive feedback and reinforcement goes a long way to
undermining our good feelings about ourselves as we are growing up.
For adults, positive feedback is often in short supply. At work, bosses more often tell
employees what they are doing wrong. Supervisors, managers and executives,
customers and clients have priorities other than reinforcing our positive self-image.
So as adults, our sense of self does not usually get the reinforcement we need. In our
personal life, when we are married, it is not unusual for spouses to comment and
think about what is wrong with their partner. All this negative reinforcement is fertile
ground for low self-esteem. The psychological reality is that most of us need
reassurance. We need to know that we are thought of as being valued, capable,
worthwhile human beings
Let’s see where you fall on the self-esteem scale. Here are some questions for you to
Most people are doing better than I am. _____
I can’t accept myself the way I am. ______
I spoil everything I touch. ______
When I see a good opportunity, I am afraid to take it ______
I am not as good looking, as smart; witty, talented financially secure as most
Sometimes it’s just not worth trying. ______
Most people are more loved and respected than I am. ______
Unlike others, I really have to go out of my way to make and keep a friend.
If someone ever falls in love with me, I better do my best to prove worthy,
because it may be the only time for me. ________
I am not sure I have done a good job unless someone else points it out.
If you have answered “true” more than 4 times, consider that you may be
having some difficulty with your self-esteem.
Here are four actions you can take to help yourself. Try these suggestions
and see what happens. There are many more things that you can do. Let me
know how these things work out for you. I would love to hear some success
stories. Good luck!
Remember, every effort is a success if we learn from them and because we
have had the courage to try something new.
1. Take at least ten minutes a day to quietly think about your day. Sitting
quietly, driving the car without the radio on or going for a walk are good ways
to sneak in some time to reflect on your day. Enjoy your own company. Ask
yourself questions about things that you think are important and then try #2.
2. Listen to Your Inner Voice. Often we know the right answer, but we don’t
trust ourselves. Try listening for small things and see what happens.
3. Keep a “Self Esteem Journal”. Every day, write down the nice things you do
or compliments people say to you.
4. Recall, on a regular basis, something that you did that you are proud of.
Think about it and savor it each day. Have you heard the saying ” You are
what you eat”? The same thing applies to what you think about yourself and
your self-esteem. The thoughts that you feed yourself on a regular basis
strongly influence your self-esteem.
I want to emphasize that these suggestions do no take the place of therapy,
but they do give you a place to start.
Enjoy your journey to the discovery of finding a person that you are proud of –