Self Esteem Overview and Treatments
By Cixx Admin Date Posted.. 2009-07-06 18:17:17
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We all have feelings of self doubt and inadequacy at times in our lives.  In fact, self-esteem can ebb and flow throughout our lives and is almost constantly affected by a host of internal and external factors.  Teenagers are particularly vulnerable to protracted periods of low self esteem due to the harsh peer environment in which they operate on a day-to-day basis.  In fact, a study conducted by the American Association of University Women, found that on average, only 46 percent of high school aged boys and 29 percent of high school aged girls said they were “happy the way I am”.    

Unfortunately, if left unchecked, poor self-esteem can become chronic, affecting every aspect of our lives, including relationships and employment.  Most people suffering from low self esteem don’t have access to the resources necessary to turn the situation around. 

The reality is that almost everyone suffers from occasional bouts of low self-esteem. However, when a child grows up in an abusive home, or a hostile peer environment where he or she is repeatedly labeled as stupid, fat, ugly, bad, or otherwise defective, a healthy level of self-esteem is very difficult to achieve. 

Even if we grow up in a relatively functional environment, most of us are significantly affected by the perceptions and judgments of peers, family, and even complete strangers.   Unfortunately, if we come to rely too extensively on external validation, we will struggle to develop a consistently healthy sense of self-worth. 

Individuals who are able to achieve an inner-sense of confidence quickly discover that outside forces of validation are unpredictable and unreliable. As a consequence, those possessing high self-esteem are not so easily affected by the negative thoughts, comments, or actions of others and are better able to sustain a positive self-image. 

A positive self-image is important for many reasons. It inspires us to cultivate and refine our talents and abilities. It empowers us to share those talents with others, further increasing our sense of worth. It allows us to dream of what we can become and then strive for a life of accomplishment. 

So what holds us back?  Generally, the thing that holds us back is the fear of being ridiculed by others. No one is fabulous at everything. We all have faults and shortcomings. We may have difficulty expressing ourselves. We may struggle with reading and basic academic functions. We may have physical characteristics that make us self-conscious. We may be uncoordinated and perform poorly in sporting activities. We may struggle with our weight. The thing to remember is that everyone is struggling with something. You are never alone.  Sadly, there are people – perhaps even members of our own families – who will take occasion to publicly demean.  When this occurs, it is a significant blow to our fragile self esteem.  It tends to force us back into the safety of our sheltered cocoon.  No one likes to be the center of negative attention. And unfortunately, the people who make derogatory comments at the expense of others typically do so as a consequence of their own low level of self esteem. 

Treatment for low self esteem generally begins with identifying the root cause of low self-esteem.  The good news is that individuals who struggle with low self-esteem can generally benefit significantly from counseling, coaching, reading self-help books, attending workshops designed to increase confidence and self-esteem, and listening to educational audio products focused on the causes and treatments of low self-esteem.  

Life is short. No one should live under a perpetual cloud of low self-esteem. Raising self-esteem requires work, and often can benefit greatly from professional help, but the rewards of increased self-esteem will manifest themselves very broadly and powerfully in our lives.  Improved relationships, fulfilling employment, and an increased sense of purpose and vitality are among the benefits of increasing self-esteem.  The first step is often the hardest – resolving to change the situation. Why wait, when there is so much to gain?   

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