Low self-esteem is something many of us suffer from at some point in our lives. It can manifest in childhood development or later on in life. It can help you to identify at what stage in your life you started to suffer from low self-esteem and what was the cause.
At the early life stage triggers could be a bad relationship with parents or siblings, issue at school or an external event. Later on in life negative romantic relationships can be the cause; if a partner is emotionally controlling or narcissistic or violent these are a few examples of how low self-esteem can begin.
To start it will be difficult to remember every life event that could be attributed to the cause right away but that’s not the aim of this entirely, the goal is to ease the symptoms of low self-esteem and hopefully eliminating it entirely. But this is not a quick and easy process but reading this article and starting your journey is the biggest accomplishment already.
So lets start by taking a pen and paper and work through answering the following three points:
Negative Life Experiences
Can you write as many or as little events in your life, for example relationships, bad living situations that may have influenced ideas about myself.
Negative Core Beliefs
What is your worth as a person?
How do you evaluate your value?
Here we are trying to draw conclusions about the self, based on experience to understand what kind of person you think you are.
Unhelpful Rules & Assumptions
Here we are trying to identify the negative thought patterns that just come naturally to you:
What guidelines, conditional rules, or strategies for getting by, given the truth of the negative core beliefs about yourself that were previously identified.
And this entire process results in unhelpful behaviours that might disable you from going out with your friends, putting yourself up for a promotion at work or from leaving a controlling or abusive partner and result in dormant low self-esteem.
I hope working through these three stages and writing out your thoughts, feelings and behaviours has been useful. This is just a guideline to work through; you can write as much or as little as you like and perhaps repeat this exercise every few weeks or everyday if it’s useful.
Journal writing is an incredibly useful exercise that can help you formalise and externalise any thoughts and feelings. It can also give perspective on your mindset by helping you to step back, reread your writing and think ‘do I really think that about myself’.
When the words are written in front of you they can become much more powerful and help you to move on from them.
Read next: ‘How to calm anxiety, right now‘