Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Treating Low Self-Esteem

When I gather info from this blog and see what my readers choose to read, I see they are interested most in mental health matters – with poetry in second place. I wouldn’t have thought such. But, there you go. Statistics don’t lie.

I think I’ll write toward my readership tonight. Plus, I love scientific research.

(Thanks to Milton Spett, PhD and his 2005 N.J. Psychological Assn Conference information)

Self-esteem = Self-judging. The opposite of low self-esteem is self-acceptance. We can break down low self-esteem into two components.

1) Recognizing and enjoying strentghs and successes.

2) Recognizing, being comfortable with, and not berating yourself for weaknesses, mistakes, and failures.

The mere act of trying to do better IS working on your self-esteem. Low self-worth is situational; no one has low esteem in every situation.

What to do –

1) Each week, ask yourself, “When did I criticize myself this week?” Was it warranted?

2) Objectively evaluate your real weaknesses, mistakes, and failures. Ask yourself, “What is the harm in that mistake?” Usually, the only harm is in berating yourself.

3) Each week, ask yourself what criticisms others gave your during the week. Were they erroneous? Valid? Accept the valid criticisms without berating yourself.

4) Recognize, believe, and enjoy compliments you receive. Say, “Thank you.”

Sufferers of low self-esteem tend to experience successes as neutral events. They also see neutral events as failures and failures as catastrophes.

Enjoy your successes. Don’t attribute them to luck or anything but your own competence.

The only way to develop a skill is to practice it. Avoiding uncomfortable situations never allows you to improve your dealing with the situation in a more healthful way.

Don’t hide your failures, weaknesses, and mistakes. This intensifies the negative feelings and shame you experience.

Don’t try to be or say what others want you to. Be yourself and let others either like or dislike you. In addition, rejections and criticisms from others provide you with practice in accepting yourself when others don’t.

Do you have an upcoming situation in which your low self-esteem may be an issue? Prepare and rehearse self-accpetance messages you can use in that situation.

You WILL get used to all of the above behaviors. You would greatly benefit from a friend or counselor to talk with. Someone who can be objective and honest with you.

Stop avoiding. Stop denying.

Start living ~


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