Low Self Esteem / Self Worth

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Low self esteem or self worth is the belief that you are not good enough or defective in some way. Often this will be kept hidden from other people meaning that, to the observer, individuals may seem successful, confident or high achieving. Underneath this exterior however is a core belief that the ‘real you’ is no good, and that every day you risk people finding out that their view of you is not real. Low self worth may be associated with body image or appearance dissatisfaction.    

What is self esteem?

In general self esteem is used to describe a persons overall sense of his or her worth or value.  Low self esteem exists when a person holds certain beliefs about themselves, their appearance, their abilities or their emotions. Low self esteem is a problem for a large number of people, especially in London where expectations from school, work or within relationships may be very high. If left untreated, low self worth can have detrimental consequences to a persons social life, occupation or relationships.  Low self esteem is highly distressing to the individual and is not usually resolved by itself.

Some common symptoms of low self worth are:

  • believing yourself to be inadequate in comparison to others
  • fearing that if others ‘saw the real you’ they would become uninterested or reject you
  • being aware of keeping a ‘mask’ on at all times so that people do not see the real you
  • fearing that you will not make anything of yourself at work or in relationships
  • constantly criticising yourself for your mistakes or for perceived flaws in your appearance

Self Esteem Treatment

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

CBT is an effective treatment approach in dealing with difficulties stemming from low self worth. CBT focussed on exploring and uncovering a persons underlying beliefs about themselves. Through a series of strategies such as cognitive restructuring, exploration of coping styles, undoing selective attention a person is encouraged to challenge these underlying self beliefs and to construct alternative healthier core beliefs.

Recommended Reading and Resources

Overcoming Low Self-Esteem Self-help Course by Melanie Fennel

Overcoming Social Anxiety: A self-help Guide to Using Cognitive Behavioural Techniques by Gillian Butler

The Compassionate Mind by Paul Gilbert