Self-esteem refers to your evaluation of your own self-worth. It is useful to think of self-esteem on a continuum. On the ‘high’ end are beliefs such as: I am competent, I am worthy, I am smart. The ‘low’ end of the continuum includes beliefs such as: I am incompetent, I am unworthy, I am stupid. Our beliefs about our selves—and our emotional responses to those beliefs—are built up over a lifetime, almost always with strong roots in our very early years. Regardless of whether your beliefs are positive or negative, they were developed based on messages from significant others including family members, teachers, peers and other authority figures in early youth. These beliefs guide and influence our behavior and are then perpetuated in our lives, on the order of self-fulfilling prophesies.
Self-esteem, high or low, impacts performance in all areas of life (e.g., work, relationships, academics, sports). It acts as a lens through which we perceive our place in the world, impacting how we respond emotionally to events in our lives, including criticism. The good news is that if you suffer from low self-esteem, it can be changed. It used to be thought that the extent of our learning was more or less “set in stone” at a relatively early age. Advances in brain scanning research have proven this to be a myth. The brain has an amazing capacity to adapt, grow and change throughout life. When you change your beliefs and emotions, new learning occurs. Psychotherapy can enable you to understand your unique self-esteem issues and transform your self-evaluations into beliefs that serve you in the most optimal way.
If you experience low self-esteem, you deserve to feel better about yourself; those unwanted beliefs about yourself are not the real you. Low self-esteem is learned and you can unlearn it. If you suffer from low self-esteem, we invite you to begin the process of transformation now.