- Are you experiencing lack of boundaries?
- Do you often feel ashamed, with no real cause?
- Are you always putting yourself down?
- Do you accept less than you should in life?
- Do you compare yourself to others?
- Do you stay in toxic relationships?
- Do you struggle to trust your own instincts and opinions?
Do you find yourself avoiding potential social encounters or the chance to meet someone new, because you can’t imagine that other people might be interested in getting to know you? Are you in a job where you’re not satisfied, but you can’t bring yourself to look for anything else because you don’t think you’re good enough for anything else? Do you keep engaging in the same relationship patterns, where you know you’re not being treated well, but you tell yourself “this is what I deserve”? If your answer is yes, you’re probably not surprised to learn that you might have low-self esteem. Low self esteem can make it hard to stand up for yourself or can make you feel shame or guilt with no obvious cause. It can also make it hard to express personal boundaries in relationships and at work. You may wonder how to build self esteem or improve your self confidence, but you don’t know where to start.
Low self esteem is more than just thinking less of ourselves than our friends and family may think we should. Often, holding ourselves in low regard comes from a negative self image. The definition of our self image is our own conception of our abilities, personality, potential, and appearance. In other words, it’s our most deeply-held beliefs about ourselves, what we’re capable of, and what we deserve. If our self image is negative, it has a widespread effect on how we operate in the world.
Improving self esteem and building self confidence is often a process that takes time. The first step in improving self esteem is making the unconscious conscious: naming the processes underlying our low self-esteem. The foundation for some people’s self image is laid in childhood, and the inner voice that they still hear in their heads to this day – maybe the voice that tells them they’re not good enough or don’t deserve very much – is an echo of an adult’s voice who was close to them when they were little. For others, a negative self image comes from cultural conditioning: representations in the media of what does and doesn’t make someone successful, attractive, or otherwise deserving of love.
At Take Root Therapy, we work with you to determine the underlying causes of your low self-esteem, and help identify what your inner voice is telling you. With the support of a therapist, you can then be more intentional about how you talk to yourself, and make choices that will help you develop healthy self-esteem. Our hope is to help you can transition from a place of low self-esteem, or a negative self image, to a place of radical self-love: you become their own biggest advocate and protector. Forming and keeping boundaries becomes easier because you believe that you are worthy of love and deserves being protected. Those toxic relationships and workplaces no longer qualify as acceptable – because on a deep level, you know you deserve more. Accepting less than you should in life is no longer an option, because you truly want the best for yourself – and believe that you are worthy of it.