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  • Fe Robinson

How to raise self-esteem

One of the key tasks of psychotherapy is to help clients come to know themselves more fully, and to be aware of how they are relating inside to the different aspects of themselves.

Often clients come into therapy suffering with low mood and anxiety. They may well be blaming themselves for the way they feel, and often describe themselves as inadequate or somehow lacking.

When this happens, it is as if we are being our own harshest critic, and we do not have the capacity to be kind or compassionate to ourselves. The irony is that people who experience this may be working really hard to be kind and understanding to other people, sometimes even at their own expense.

Tapping this capacity to care and be kind and turning it towards ourselves is an essential part of healing self-criticism and building self esteem. I am often asked how to do this.

There is no one easy answer to this question, it is a discovery we each need to make in a way that fits for us. It may be about asking what we would do if we were our own best friend, or building regular self-care activities into our week (things we enjoy and find restorative), or it may be about finding ways to express what we feel, perhaps using music or art.

The one healing is not about is letting ourselves feel a victim to the critical voices inside. They most probably came from undermining things other people said to us at a time when we were vulnerable and impressionable. These 'alien' voices are not truly our inner voice, and they do not deserve house room.

Most of all, if you want to build your self-belief, just start, by begin being kind and see where it takes you. For help in building your ability to be kind to yourself, consider working with a psychotherapist or counsellor.


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