It is true to say that we all struggle with self doubt from time to time. It is part of what it means to be human. It becomes problematic when insufficient sense of self worth interferes with our day to day ability to function.
Self esteem depends on many factors. These may include how loved we have felt, our sense of belonging and other early life experiences. Poor self esteem can have a significant impact on our lives. For example, we may not put ourselves forward to take up new challenges or opportunities because we do not feel entitled, worthy or deserving of success. Self esteem is not necessarily a fixed state and through exploring the many factors that contribute to self esteem it is usually possible to effect change. Fortunately, life often gives us more than one chance and more than one bite of the cherry.
We may not necessarily be aware of what has contributed to our positive or negative feelings of self esteem. Counselling and psychotherapy can help raise our awareness so that we can begin to fill some of the gaps or work on some of the blocks to building self esteem. So counselling and psychotherapy are looking at both what factors have contributed to how the person feels but also what is it that they may want to change and what needs to happen in order for them to change?
It may be that the person has never had sufficient support from someone who believes in them to attempt to step out of a very confined situation or lifestyle. It may be that their horizons have therefore, out of necessity, been lowered.
Sometimes it can be the case that a young child may have been adored in order to reflect well upon it’s parents. This adoration may not have been reflected in their actual achievements so the person may have grown up with an inflated sense of their worth. Then when they go out into the world their self esteem isn’t underpinned by something robust and solid. They don’t feel ready and resilient enough to face the world alone so they are operating from what can be thought of as a false self rather than the real self. A lot of energy can go into concealing what is behind the false self for fear that if the true self was really seen then their world might collapse.This can create insecurity, tension and self doubt.
Poor self esteem may be a response to recent events, such as loss of employment or demotion at work. Equally it could be a life long feeling that the person has been working very hard to conceal. Both recent and long term difficulties with self esteem can respond well to counselling and psychotherapy. Obviously the deeper seated, long term feelings may require longer term psychotherapy.