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The degree to which one feels valuable, confident, and worthy of respect is called self-esteem.  The development of self-esteem starts in early childhood and usually tends to fluctuate throughout the course of life.  Experiences such as bullying, abuse, being compared to others, spending time on social media, having relationships end, poor eating habits, overly critical people, and even bad posture, all have the ability to rob a person of their self-esteem.




Some of the signs of low esteem include:

  • The tendency to accentuate the negative.

  • Reluctance to take on new challenges

  • An inability to trust your own opinion

  • Social withdrawal

  • Believing you are helpless in the face of challenge.

  • Depression or sadness

  • Eating too little or too much

  • An inability to accept compliments

  • Perfectionism and/or a fear that failure will reveal your “true” self

  • Self-pity

  • Anger or blame towards others

  • Self-criticism such as: “I will never do well in _______”, “No one wants to hear about me and my life”, "I am worthless", or "I don't deserve respect because I'm not _______".


If you are a marginalized person, either by culture, sex/gender, socioeconomic, physically, or from other mental health status, you may

be at even higher risk for low self-esteem than non-marginalized individuals.  However, in other cases, marginalization may actually create opportunity to cultivate self-esteem from an inner source. 

Inner sources of self-esteem are much more powerful that outer,

as they do not depend on an external source for value, meaning,

or respect.


If you struggle with low self-esteem, a therapist can help you work

through and address your underlying emotions, cognitions, and circumstances so that you can start to build your confidence in every area

of life.  

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