Self Esteem

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

people ______

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 –