Self-esteem is the term used to describe how we think and feel about ourselves, and can also be described as a measure of our own worth. Self-esteem can change between positive and negative at different points of our lives, and goes some way to contribute towards how we decide to live our lives and the decisions that we make.
Self-esteem and depression
It is only natural for people to fluctuate between high and low self-esteem from time to time, but prolonged periods of low self-esteem can be detrimental to mental health. People that experience low self-esteem tend to hold negative views about themselves, thinking that they are not good enough for a job promotion for example, or that they feel unloved and worthless. Low self-esteem can, in some cases, then lead on to other things like depression, and this is when a vicious circle can start, with factors like depression, low self esteem and anxiety all feeding off of one another.
There are many causes of low self-esteem, although because we are all different, it can not be pin-pointed to any one particular thing. Sometimes, low self-esteem is routed in childhood, where negative experiences or thoughts affect the way a person’s core belief system and personality are developed. In other cases, there may be a traumatic or significant moment in adult life which triggers off the lowering of self esteem. In many cases, it may be a combination of both of these factors and more.
Boost your self esteem to beat depression
If you or a loved one are experiencing low self-esteem, there are various ways to go about building it back up again. To do this, it is important to first begin with what negative core beliefs you hold about yourself. It is not an easy process, and some people choose to seek professional help with a counsellor or therapist who is skilled in this area. They may be able to identify aspects of your personality that you will be unable to, and you will be put on the road to recovery faster.
If you decide to try and help yourself initially, then you could begin by writing down some notes in order to better gather your thoughts into a more logical structure. You could ask yourself the following questions, and use the answers to begin identifying where problems may lay.
- What are my failings?
- What negative thoughts affect me most?
- Where did those thoughts originate from?
- What do I think other people think of me?
Keeping a diary or journal where you can write down instances when you felt that your low self-esteem most had an effect on a decision you made or a reaction you had is also very useful. You may start to see patterns emerging, and from there, you could begin to see how to alter the negative thoughts and beliefs about yourself that you hold.
It is also important to not just keep track of the negative things, but also the positive things that happen to you. For example, a surprise present, a good night out, or an invitation to a party will all contribute towards building up your self-esteem and self-worth.
The power of positive thinking should not be underestimated when trying to counter low self-esteem. Try to make time to create a list of things that you like about yourself, and when you have done that, keep it with you so that throughout the day, you can look at different parts of it. Concentrating on your positive aspects is incredibly beneficial, and helps to break the cycle of negativity that you may have found yourself in.
Getting professional help for depression
If you have come to the point where you believe that professional help would be more useful, then it is quite likely that you will embark on a talking therapy with a counsellor. They may very well suggest acting on the above suggestions, as well as helping to more quickly identify the connections between your thoughts and behaviour, your feelings and attitudes. Therapy is a very effective way of helping to not only overcome low self-esteem but also to build self-esteem up to a more positive and healthy level.
If you feel you need to talk to a counsellor about having low self esteem or depression, I am a Counsellor in Waterloo. I also offer counselling in King’s Cross station 5 min from central London. Contact me to enquiry about counselling London Waterloo or King’s Cross or to arrange an initial meeting. I reply to all enquiries within 24h.
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