The beliefs we hold about ourselves are the backbone of our own self-image and self-worth. Although we often perceive these to be fact, they are opinions shaped over time from previous experiences, messages and interactions that influence the kind of person we believe ourselves to be.
Many experiences in early life including childhood trauma, school bullying, friendships or relationships with parents or caregivers can lead us to form early negative thoughts about ourselves. Our self-esteem can also be damaged in later life due to stress, workplace bullying, abusive or negative relationships and trauma.
Below are just a few common reasons why you could be suffering with low self-esteem.
- Childhood Experiences
Our early childhood experiences can greatly impact our adult lives. When we‘re young our feelings about ourselves are usually determined by how others treat us. If you were unlucky enough to have parents or guardians who were disapproving, unsupportive or uninvolved, this could lead to low self-esteem as we come to believe that we are worthless or do not matter – even to the people who are supposed to care for us.
A negative or destructive parental separation can also lead to self-esteem and confidence problems, as our experiences are shadowed by guilt, fear and mistrust. We need to experience positive feedback, behaviours and rewards when we are younger to build these beliefs about ourselves in later life.
Traumatic experiences such as physical or emotional abuse can evoke strong feelings of mistrust, shame and guilt which can be hard to overcome without help. Many people believe, consciously or subconsciously, that they are partly to blame for what happens to them. These feelings are usually deep rooted and stand in the way of healthy self-esteem.
- Society and Media
In today’s society we are subject to countless images of ‘perfection’ – whether it’s in our career, our body image or our lifestyles. People who are very open to or aware of these stimuli can quickly find themselves feeling insecure or inadequate. We need to be mindful of our surroundings and influences in order to prevent this from happening.
- Previous Behaviour
If you’ve made bad choices in the past or had negative experiences you might start to believe that this is just ‘how you are’ and that you can’t change things. This feeling of powerlessness leads us to just accept the worst within ourselves and continue to reinforce this negative self-view. The truth is previous negative results usually come from circumstances beyond your control or single bad decisions. You can change your behaviour patterns and the results will change.
- Negative Peers
The people who we choose to surround ourselves with have a huge impact on our own beliefs, attitudes and behaviours. If your peers are constantly criticising themselves, you or others, it can become all too easy to find that your default approach is to see the negative within yourself rather than the positive. Some social groups actually discourage positive self-belief, mistakenly seeing it as a sign of over confidence or arrogance.
Improve Your Self Esteem
The good news is that these beliefs can be changed by realigning how you think about yourself. Negative thought patterns can be changed into positive ones and a new confidence can take the place of previously damaged self-esteem.
I have helped many clients improve their self-esteem through hypnotherapy which addresses these issues at a subconscious level for real and lasting change. To learn more about how I can help you please do get in touch.