Self Esteem and Confidence

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We are all inherently born worthy but some experiences make us question it

Self-worth, self-care, and self-esteem have become the new catchphrases with the rise in mental health awareness.

Our self-worth has far-reaching consequences and becomes the lens through which we see ourselves, other and the world in general. Low self-worth creeps up in both personal and professional spheres. It defines the way our interactions with others are shaped.

In relationships, low self-worth can manifest as:

Some of the common manifestations in different areas of life:

  • Anxious attachment-

    Anxiety in relationships usually stems from the core beliefs like “I am not good enough”, “I am unworthy of love”, “my partner can leave me anytime” “they might find someone better” “what if he/she finds me boring”. This leads to insecurity at any sign of emotional distance like a partner not replying quickly, them spending time with others.

  • Possessiveness-

    Being possessive is sometimes taken as a sign of attachment and love however it usually stems out of fear of losing their partner and considered unhealthy when the possessive partner starts controlling/restricting the interactions with family members or friends or interferes with other areas of life like career, hobbies, etc.

  • Retroactive jealousy-

    Retroactive jealousy is essentially a more intrusive form of jealousy regarding the partner’s exes. It leads to an inability to accept that their partner was emotionally or physically involved with someone else before them.

  • Fear of abandonment-

    When a person feels low about themselves, they face a fear of stating their needs and aim to please their partner at the cost of themselves.

  • Codependency-

    In codependent relationships, one person is invested more emotionally, physically, financially. It is often the result of insecurity.

  • Lack of boundaries-

    A person with low self-confidence is more inclined to say yes to others even if they are not comfortable with it because they are scared that others will leave if they say No

In professional and personal life, low self-worth can manifest as:

  • Saying no to new opportunities-

    Low confidence limits our capabilities and binds us to our comfort zones because taking up new opportunities would mean opening ourselves up to taking risks and making mistakes.

  • Second-guessing our ability-

    Every setback is attributed to lack of skills and doubts crop up in the tasks undertaken.

  • Exerting ourselves to the point of burnout-

    Low self-worth means we derive our worth from our performance so, in order to prove that we are good enough, we may end up exhausting ourselves.

  • People-pleasing-

    To compensate for lack of self-worth, external validation becomes the source of appreciation hence we may end up molding ourselves according to other’s preferences.

How Therapy Helps

  • Explore the origin of low self-worth-

    Criticising parents, discouraging teachers, bullying, academic failures, professional setbacks are some of the major contributing factors for low self-worth.

  • Restore Self Confidence-

    Confidence is built like a muscle through different approaches like- any negative automatic thought regarding self is explored and challenged. List of strengths and accomplishments are made as reminders during low phases. Positive affirmations and letter writing are used to nourish self-love.

  • Incorporate Self Care activities-

    Mental and physical self-care activities are incorporated in daily routine.

  • Boundary Setting-

    Usually people with low self-confidence place others’ needs above their own in order to keep the relationship intact. It is out of fear rather than love. Boundary setting helps to place healthy limits and build emotionally secure relationships.

  • Positive Self- Talk-

    Negative self-talk and the inner critic is replaced with a compassionate, nurturing, supportive inner voice.

  • Pitfalls-

    Even after self-worth is built, it can be impacted by life-changing events like break up/divorce, loss of a job, physical disability and hence needs to be worked upon continuously.

Enhance Confidence

Image is an integral aspect of our personality. Especially during our teenage years and youth, we may tend to focus on our flaws more than thinking about what’s good and unique about us. We also overlook the beauty that lies in being differentand one of a kind. Celebrating our individuality can help us improve our self-image.

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Interaction with Opposite Sex

Interactions with opposite sex may not come very naturally to us. We may feel shy, nervous or intimidated when we have to interact with the opposite sex. These feelings usually originate from an underlying unfamiliarity or fear of being judged, disliked or rejected. To be happy and confident, it's important to feel good about who we are. Gradual exposure can help build comfort and confidence.

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Inferiority Complex

We have all gone through phases where we weren’t fully confident of our abilities and have felt smaller than others. Alternatively, we may experience excessive confidence and feel superior to others. Both of these complexes are natural. With a little help, we can manage these and try to avoid the stress that follows.

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Overcome Self-Doubt

We all have those inner voices that tell us we are not good enough, not strong enough for doing things we dream of. Self-doubt is one of the major obstacles to living the life we truly deserve. This is that unhealthy food for the soul that drags down our spirit and leads to stress and anxiety. Believing in self is one of many steps towards happiness.

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Personality Development

“Personality is to a man, what perfume is to a flower”.Developing, grooming and enhancing one’s inner and outer self brings about a positive change in one’s life. A powerful and well-rounded personality accelerates success and popularity in all walks of life

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Impact on Relationships

When we feel that we are not good enough, our insecurities start to rise making it hard for us to believe that a loving partner actually chose us for who we are. This further cumulates into feeling of inadequacy and may lead to jealousy and dissatisfaction. Before loving anyone else, we must learn to love ourselves and feel sufficient.

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It is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others. Being picked on and made fun of is a troubling experience and one’s self-esteem and confidence take a hit when bullied. Intervention and support by teachers, peers and parents can make a huge difference.

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Sibling Rivalry

The most common byproduct of having a sibling (especially a biological one), is the ‘conflict’ aspect of it. Just how siblings are as good as engineered to conflict amongst themselves, sometimes, this may lead to one of both of them experiencing acute stress. By sharing your thoughts and feelings about it, you will not only feel better, but will also come to realize that it is nothing but a part and parcel of life.

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Interaction with Opposite Sex

It’s not easy approaching a person of the opposite sex as there is a pressure of making a good first impression and a lack of familiarity. We play out a lot of scenarios in our heads – What if the person thinks I’m not interesting enough. What if I make a fool of myself?. Being liked by the other person becomes a matter of utmost importance. Self confidence plays a very important role in such situations.

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Body Image

In a world where appearances are taken as a vital parameter of judgment & evaluation, consciousness and stress pertaining to body image is inevitable. It is the need of the hour to learn to accept how we are & stop validating ourselves by our outward appearances. We are so much more than what meets the eye.

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