Low self-esteem can radically affect your success in life and often affects and is affected by mental health issues such as eating disorders, social anxiety, and depression. Therapy for self esteem can radically improve you successes. If you struggle with low self-esteem, the psychotherapists at Full Living: A Psychotherapy Practice represent a diverse group of culturally competent clinicians with individual styles and training in a wide range of approaches. At Full Living, director Karen L. Smith, MSS, LCSW, personally matches each client with the therapist who best meets their personality, preferences, and needs. To schedule a free initial intake session, email, or call the office in Center City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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What is self-esteem?

Self-esteem reflects the opinion you have of yourself, including the extent to which you feel confident, valuable, and worthy of respect. Your self-esteem is shaped by many variables including your life experiences, the way others have treated you throughout your lifetime, and societal and cultural influences, as well as your psychological make-up.

A healthy sense of self-esteem is associated with achievement, ease of decision-making, a capacity for self-care, and expressing your needs and opinions. You’re also more likely to have good relationships and feel satisfied with your life the higher your self-esteem.

What causes low self-esteem?

Low self-esteem typically develops in childhood. It’s formed by how we are viewed and treated by the important people in our lives as well as society itself. The variables may be concrete, like parental disapproval or expectations of perfection, or more subtle, like being a member of a disenfranchised group who is seen as less valuable by the surrounding culture.

Extreme trauma such as physical, sexual, and emotional abuse at any point in your life commonly results in significant issues with low self-esteem.

As an adult, demoralizing experiences can also impact or re-awaken issues with self-esteem, such as losing your job, relationship conflict or loss, or other big life events that injure your opinion of yourself.

Discrimination and disenfranchisement related to religion, income, appearance, weight, ethnicity, race, gender, sexual identity, or any way that society or the surrounding culture demeans or disrespects a group you are affiliated with can result in injury to self-esteem.

What are the symptoms of low self-esteem?

Low self-esteem can result in failing to fulfill your potential in life or a tendency to tolerate abusive relationships and circumstances. Any of the following thought patterns can be a red flag that you have low self-esteem:

  • All-or-nothing thinking: Seeing things as all good or all bad
  • Overgeneralization: One negative fact or event rules your entire life
  • Mental filtering: Magnifying all the negatives in your life
  • Converting positives into negatives: Making excuses to diminish your achievements
  • Jumping to negative conclusions: Assuming the worst without cause
  • Mistaking feelings for facts: You feel stupid, therefore you are stupid, for example
  • Personalizing everything: Any and every negative event is your fault or responsibility

If you have low self-esteem, a therapist at Full Living can help you develop a healthier relationship with yourself.

What is therapy for low self-esteem?

Self-esteem is an evolving, lifelong process that’s constantly changing due to circumstances and events. When clients work with a clinician at Full Living, they can learn how to identify the source of their emotions and behavior patterns, overcome negative input from others, and find ways to proactively improve their self-esteem.

If self-esteem problems develop due to demoralizing experiences related to your social identity, you can count on the team at Full Living to provide culturally competent services that understand the impact of society on the self.

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