What is Self Esteem?
Self esteem is a sense of value or worth which develops within a child's essence as a result of effective, loving parenting. A well adjusted and healthy parent refects back their child's worth as they respond to the young child's needs.
The child grows up with healthy boundaries as emotionally mature parents have set appropriate limits for the child's emotional and physical safety. These limits are gradually expanded as the child develops into adolescence and adulthood. The child who grows up in a healthy, loving, accepting home environment, usually feels happy/content, has respect for themselves and others and achieves their own goals, most of the time without having to set about "proving"themselves.
"Your self-esteem is the way you look at yourself. If you have good self-esteem it means that you like yourself and you believe that you are as 'OK' as everyone else. If you have poor self-esteem it means that you believe that you are not OK, or that you are inferior to others.
People who have poor self-esteem tend to focus on and magnify their perceived shortcomings, and ignore their strengths and achievements. It's like looking into the mirror and seeing a warped picture - a bit like the ones at fun parks that make you look distorted - completely blowing reality out of proportion."
Source and further information
Confidence and self esteem at ReachOut Australia.
What is low self esteem?
Low self esteem then, is the legacy of poor parenting, especially during a child's formative years between birth and seven years of age. It is during this time that a child establishes beliefs about him/herself and how they "should" be to gain approval in the family.
As a child's very survival depends on being at least accepted, then the child soon learns what needs to be done. Beliefs such as "I'm always in the way", "I'm not important", "I don't deserve nice things", "I'm just not good enough" and so on are usually firmly entrenched by the age of seven years.
These ideas that a poorly parented child has heard often enough, then form the basis of that child's core belief system. It then becomes a matter of finding evidence at school, with friends, eventually in the workplace and with adult intimate relationships, to further concretise the core beliefs.
Human beings like to think they are expert at "knowing" their own identity. So even if a core belief involves a self defeating or limiting pattern, it is difficult to think and behave outside this psychological prison. We all like to be "right" about who we think we are, even if it limits our capacity to thrive. So on a quest to prove we are "right", we travel about in life collecting more and more evidence of how we "just don't measure up".
Overcoming Low Self-Esteem:
The information presented in the following package (see link below) is designed to provide you with some information about low self-esteem - how it develops, how it is maintained, and how to address this problem. This infopax is organised into modules that are designed to be worked through in sequence. We recommend that you complete one module before going on to the next. Each module includes information, worksheets, and suggested exercises or activities.
Overcoming Low Self Esteem Infopax provided by Centre for Clinical Interventions.
What is the difference between confidence and self esteem?
"Basically self esteem is the value you see yourself having in the world. “Am I worthwhile human being?” Answer that question with a yes and the chances are you have pretty high self esteem. It’s not a quality that changes very much since it is related to a broad sense of personal value or self worth. If you have high self esteem at work, you probably have it in other areas of your life too, because this is a reflection of how you see yourself. People with high self esteem tend to see the universe as a pretty friendly place."
"Confidence, on the other hand, is related to action, it’s a belief that you can succeed at something. Psychologists call it domain specific. So, you can be confident about one area of your life, but totally unconfident about another. “I am confident that I am a good manager but I’m not at all confident about speaking in public."
Source and more information:The Confidence Code
How can counselling help you if you are suffering from low self esteem or lack of confidence?
Christine Bennett and Emily Dylan offer help through counselling and psychotherapy for people suffering from low self esteem or lack of confidnece. Christine finds that Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Ericksonian Hypnosis and lifestyle education can make a significant difference to improve mood. Emily utilizes a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy approach and Positive Psychology techniques.