Low self-esteem is, unfortunately, something many people will experience at some point in their lives. For some of these people, suffering from a chronic lack of confidence or feeling insecure may be a passing phase. For others, it can be experienced as a life-long condition.
Low self-esteem can manifest in social or personal withdrawal; resulting in feelings of anxiety or depression, or in comparing oneself negatively to others. Left untreated, low self-esteem or lack of confidence can have a debilitating effect on our social life.
Low self-esteem often goes hand in hand with an inner critic; the harsh internal voice that likes to kick us when we’re down. This inner voice may have resulted from childhood dynamics; from a punitive parent or a sibling rivalry. Or it may – exacerbating an underlying problem – have developed in the course of an adult relationship that has undermined our confidence.
The individual experiencing low self-esteem – fearing rejection or criticism – can go on to develop a need to please others, becoming self-sacrificing and self-damaging in the process.
Counselling for low self-esteem encourages the individual to reflect critically on the imaginary ideals (and voices) that have been internalised. Developing an awareness of the inner critic and its source allows the individual to distance themselves from it. Finding their own voice, the individual becomes independent and autonomous, ultimately increasing in confidence.