Low self-esteem is the painful experience of constantly feeling self-critical, worthless, and “not good enough,”
Despite all your accomplishments, you feel an overwhelming sense of dissatisfaction with yourself and your life. You keep doing more or trying to be a better person but it doesn’t seem to work.
As a result, you carry around a lot of shame and self-loathing.
“When we don’t know who to hate, we hate ourselves.” ― Chuck Palahniuk
How Low Self-Esteem Develops
As children, we all need to feel a sense of comfort, care, and security in our families. We want to feel loved and valued by those who take care of us. It is through the parent-child relationship that we develop our sense of self. When parents are inadequate in their caregiving either through emotional neglect or abuse, children do not develop a healthy view of themselves. Instead they come to see themselves as flawed and unlovable.
These feelings of worthlessness persist into adulthood and result in a variety of consequences such as neglecting your own feelings and needs, taking care of others at the expense of yourself, and/or unhealthy or even abusive relationships. Feelings of shame and lack of worth are so painful that you might find yourself drinking too much, using substances, or overworking to not feel the pain.
Low self-esteem can also lead to loneliness and disconnection from others. You may find yourself distancing from love and closeness because there’s a genuine fear that if others know the “real you” they’d reject you.
“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” – Carl Rogers
How Therapy Helps with Self-Esteem
My therapeutic approach is to explore both the past origins of how your low self-esteem developed, as well as the current factors that maintain your distress. Often, the way we learn to relate to ourselves in our childhood persists into adulthood and causes a great deal of pain and suffering.
My goal is to help you become aware of, and explore, all the parts of you. We all have the capacity to be kind, compassionate, and accepting towards ourselves. Often, these natural tendencies are buried under layers of anxiety, self-hate, and shame. I know how painful it is to feel this way. My own experiences and adversities have helped me develop the capacity to empathize with others who are suffering. My personal growth and professional development and training as a therapist have given me the skills to help others overcome low self-esteem.