With work, family and social life seeming like a constant juggle, it’s hardly surprising that the act falls flat every once in a while. Of course, we’ve all got it in us to be funny, smart and - let’s be honest - pretty darn spectacular, but there are times when we all feel like we haven’t quite reached our full potential.
However, if you feel constantly held back by a sense of self-doubt, it could be more than just the occasional ‘off day’ we all suffer with from time to time. Preventing you from ever achieving your full potential, low self-esteem can be both a debilitating and miserable process of thought. Thankfully, for those who do suffer from self-esteem issues, there are a wealth of tips and tricks you can try to help break the cycle and build your confidence back. To find out more about low self-esteem and how to overcome it, we caught up with life coach and clinical hypnotherapist Jacqueline Hurst , to see if her expert advice can take us from self-doubt to serious starlet…
GTG: What is low self-esteem?
“The term self-esteem refers to how we view ourselves. Self-esteem is the overall opinion we have and hold about ourselves and the value we place on ourselves as people. Low self-esteem is all about how we view ourselves internally - what we believe about ourselves - and is based on negativity: for example, 'I'm unlovable' or 'I'm useless' or ‘I’m worthless’. Of course most of us have mixed opinions of ourselves, but if your overall opinion is that you are inadequate or inferior, if you feel that you have no true worth and are not entitled to the good things in life - that you are ‘undeserving’ - then this means your self-esteem is low.”
GTG: What can contribute to low self-esteem?
“Low self-esteem can be due to the beliefs you have about yourself which you think are fact, but in reality are only really thoughts. These beliefs and thoughts are based on the experiences you've had in life, and the messages that these experiences have given you about the person that you are.
“Crucial experiences that form our beliefs about ourselves often, but not always, occur from very early in life, usually formed from the ages of 0 to 6 years old. What you saw, heard, picked up on and experienced in childhood - in your family, in your community, society and at school - will have influenced the way you see yourself. If your experiences have been negative, your beliefs about yourself are likely to be negative too. In other words, if you are brought up with parents who you thought never had time for you, or if you thought you couldn’t meet certain standards or were on the receiving end of another person’s negative belief system, then you too will most likely suffer from low self-esteem.”
GTG: How can low self-esteem be overcome?
“As low self-esteem is based on thought process rather than fact, it is really important to gather all the thoughts you hold about yourself that are negative and then start to look for evidence to prove that the opposite is true. For example, if you believe that you are not ‘lovable’, instead of finding evidence to prove this thought true, you need to start looking for evidence to prove this is not true. You could ask yourself instead ‘Who does love me?’ – you will be able to say ‘my mum, my dad, my friends, my family, my boyfriend’ etc. It becomes hard to believe a thought when you have evidence to prove the opposite is actually true!”
GTG: What are your top tips to overcome low self-esteem?
1. Question your thoughts. A lot!
2. Thoughts create feelings, so starting to think carefully about your thoughts is key.
3. Be kind to yourself. Tell yourself kind, loving statements that you would say to someone you love.
4. Remember, comparison is the thief of joy - you are unique and perfect just as you are!
5. Imagine your best friend next to you talking about you as a person - they would say lovely things like ‘She’s funny, kind, thoughtful’ etc. When you start looking at yourself from a friend’s point of view you will be amazed at how good you really are.
6. When you feel down, think about all the wonderful things in your life and the things you have achieved - you’ll soon realise you are pretty special!
7. If you are still suffering from low self-esteem, then talk to somebody - a friend or expert - who might be able to help.