Written by Karl Perera, MA, DipLC
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So many people are looking for ways to improve their low self esteem. Are you one of them?
I’ve suffered from low self esteem in the past and it took me a while to get over it. In order to do that, I had to research and I had to read. I discovered through practical exercises and the challenges that I faced in life, how you can overcome low self esteem. Because of this experience I gained in overcoming my low self esteem, I’ve decided to write this page as a kind of mini guide for anybody who is looking for help with this problem.
The best kinds of self esteem help that you can try if you’re suffering from low self esteem and a lack of confidence include self hypnosis, practising mindfulness meditation, reading books and self help audio books. For many, professional help from a therapist or counsellor can also be useful.
Of course I found out from my own experience in life that curing myself of low self esteem required time and quite a lot of effort and research into the best kind of help available that suited me. This experience taught me all that I know now. I know just how difficult it can be to figure out all this yourself, because it took me of the order of about 20 years to get to the bottom of all this and cure myself of low self esteem. So in an effort to make it much easier for you, I’ve written this page with my best advice on how to get self esteem help and make it work for you.
So let’s get started and look at the most effective ways that you can use self esteem help to transform your thinking.
How to cure low self esteem
There’s not any one way that I can suggest to you that is the best way for you personally to cure your low self esteem. This is one thing that you’re gonna have to figure out for yourself, but with my guidance it will become much easier.
So what do I recommend?
Curing self esteem firstly involves changing your thinking. When most people suffer from low self esteem they are dragged down by negative thinking and beliefs. This means that they often respond to others in social situations very negatively. Therefore, it is very important to become much more positive in your mindset and attitude. This will drive your actions to be much more in line with your desires and needs. When you start to think more positively, you care less about the negative things in life and you will be less inclined to believe peoples’ negative comments towards you. This is going to be such a helpful first step, but it will take time.
The second thing I would really urge you to focus on is the words that you use inside your own mind. This is connected with your inner thinking, and those with healthy levels of self esteem usually support themselves by encouraging themselves internally. The term used for this in psychology is self talk, and it can support you and be positive, or it can discourage you and be negative.
The third step in curing low self esteem is one of the most difficult of all. The main reason why it’s so difficult is because it involves facing your fears and going outside your comfort zone to complete challenges, whether they be socia lor professional career goals. Low self esteem feeds off fear and therefore if you try to overcome your personal fears and succeed, you will be able to boost your confidence. It’s easy to say this, but quite something else to actually do it! I know this well because I faced exactly this problem for many many years.
The best ways I found to actually help myself face challenges and go beyond my comfort zone, were when I decided to create some self esteem goals that I could pursue. What I actually did was I got myself a journal and I started writing down challenges that I was facing. For example, at that time I was at University and I needed to do a presentation. It filled me with dread and I was very nervous about this, so to get started I just thought about how it would take me closer to building my self esteem and confidence. Once I started to think positively about this challenge, it became motivating to me to overcome my fears. I broke the goal down into different smaller steps and I gave myself grades out of 10 as I achieved each step. I would even do this with social challenges. I was very shy at that time of my life. I started to draw graphs in my journal and noticed how my improvement was developing in areas like my communication skills and my confidence grew meeting and interacting with others including on my course.
Approaching my self esteem goals in this way actually took away the majority of the fear and added a great deal of self motivation into the mix which helped me move forward. I even began to look forward to each small challenge because I was moving toward my overall goal, which was to become a more confident and more accomplished person and that was going to make me happy.
I’m sure one of the best things that you can do to help yourself with low self esteem is to actually build goals that you really are interested in accomplishing, and that will take you forward to becoming the person that you want to be.
What is the most effective self esteem help
The recent research I’ve done with the subscribers to my newsletter, has informed me that the most important concerns that my subscribers have with their experiences of low self esteem is negative thinking, poor self confidence and communication skills. I polled my subscribers and got 52 replies, here are the results I got:
- Confidence 32%
- Relationships 18%
- Negative thinking 14%
- Financial problems 10%
- Work related problems 7%
Considering these replies is important before we talk about how to get help for self esteem because these are the things that we need to think about. So what is gonna help us build confidence improve our relationships reduce a negative thinking and so on…?
Now I thought about this quite a lot, and it seems to me that there are two distinct ways to help yourself build self esteem. The first is through using self help materials, and I do have a lot of them on on this website. I can recommend books, audio books, self hypnosis downloads and courses to build your confidence and self esteem. I have also written and recorded a wonderful new course called A More Confident You, which you can download at a very reasonable price. In future I will be adding more of my own courses and recommending more self help materials. I want to help to encourage you to become the person that you know that you want to be, with the right guidance and help.
The second form of self esteem help comes when you need extra discipline from a professional. In some cases chronic low self esteem can lead to serious issues like depression, anxiety, stress and and worse. Low self esteem can easily lead to eating disorders and these can become life threatening. Now in these cases you definitely need to seek professional help, whether it be from a coach, from a therapist or counsellor. There many such professionals available both online and off.
At this point I’d like to consider self help and how it can help you. Self help is pretty much using resources by yourself. Self help is not the best source if you are very stressed or down about your situation. At those times it’s nice to have somebody to turn to, especially a professional who has experience working with people with the same or similar problems as you have.
In order to make the best use of self help you need to know your goals and how you’re going to achieve them. The self help materials can help you sort out your thinking and guide you towards steps you can carry out along the way.
Help from others such as friends, family and colleagues
As Clegg and Bradley (2006) mention, companions and colleagues can really be of great help in terms of gaining confidence and self esteem. They give an example of students going through experiences together and learning as part of a group. How valuable this group learning is! Students face many challenges as they mature into more academic fields and to participate fully in courses they have to show confidence to manage such situations as presentations, or taking part in group discussion. Sharing experiences and learning from them through conversations with peers is therefore invaluable.
Clegg and Bradley (2006) also mention how incredibly valuable the support of family can be to students. This would also apply to others in careers and in other areas of life both professional and personal. For example, if one is lacking in confidence and studying at the same time this stress can be unbearable and no doubt discussions and support from a partner can make all the difference. So, if your confidence or self esteem is lacking please don’t ignore the value of talking to a member of your family or a partner or a good friend and asking for some kind of support whether that support is mental or some kind of physical help.
One of the biggest problems for individuals with low self esteem getting help to improve their confidence, in my experience, is asking for help. It does require some level of confidence and courage to ask for help because in a way you are exposing yourself to another person, opening up yourself to possible criticism from another. But looking at this positively helps. For example, it is possible to get positive feedback and it is often surprising that when asking a close friend of close family member for comments or help they can be surprisingly positive and this can really really help someone with low self esteem. So go ahead and ask for help and you may well be surprised at how valuable that will be.
Professional help and guidance
One of the biggest advantages to guidance counselling from a professional is whatever action you decide to take, you can discuss it with another person who can advise you, but even more than that you will be accountable to somebody for your actions. What I mean to say here is that the counsellor or professional will be able to check periodically on what you have done in order to reach your goals, or in order to face your challenge. This is actually one of the greatest problems with self help. You don’t have to account for your actions to anybody else and the only person who will know what actions you have taken is yourself. For some people this may be enough, but for others they may find that it is much easier for them to work with somebody else and run ideas by them first before they take independent action.
Also getting professional help and guidance to boost yourself esteem level can provide a level of security and put you at ease, thereby reducing your stress, making it much more likely that you will succeed and not give up.
Many who seek therapy do so in order to learn how to manage the stress and challenges of their experience, and to express themselves in a safe space where they feel free to speak their mind and be understood (Meakins, 2012) . This is exactly what many who suffer from low self esteem need. So, if this sounds like it could help you, then find out more about therapy or counselling.
- Clegg, S. & Bradley, S. 2006, “I’ve had to swallow my pride’: help seeking and self-esteem”, Higher Education Research and Development, vol. 25, no. 2, pp. 101-113.
- Meakins, Elizabeth. What Will You Do with My Story?, Taylor & Francis Group, 2012. ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/anglia/detail.action?docID=952201.
Website Author and Your Guide
Karl Perera is a fully qualified Life Coach (DipLC), Teacher (MA), and author of the book Self Esteem Secrets. He has taught at various universities including Durham, Leicester and Anglia Ruskin, Cambridge. He has run More-SelfEsteem.com since 1997 since suffering from low self esteem for more than 25 years overcoming it in his thirties.