Phil Pearl: Mental Toughness Coaching, Training & Hypnotherapy London.

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Existential Coaching. Existential Hypnotherapy


Feeling good about yourself?

Self-Esteem refers to how much we like and appreciate ourselves - how we regard and evaluate our total worth, either positively or negatively including:

  • Our feelings of self-worth and self-value
  • Our feelings of self-image and self-respect
  • Our feelings of dignity and pride
  • Our self-acceptance. Our right to be here

Our self-esteem is how we perceive ourselves and therefore not fact; it's our own opinion and view of ourselves.

Confidence and Self-Esteem - what's the difference?

We may often consider that confidence and self-esteem are the same thing and there is clearly some common ground as they are both key aspects of our everyday happiness and well-being. Confidence refers more to our capabilities in certain situations and tasks. For example a person may have confidence speaking in meetings and presentations or have confidence driving a car, however they may still have an overall low opinion of themselves and their self-worth. Being able to perform in certain situations and having abilities and skills in certain areas is one thing, liking ourselves is another. The sad fact is that most of us don't like ourselves very much at all.

Why does self-esteem matter?

Our self-esteem has an enormous impact on our lives and our happiness. It may shape areas of our lives such as the people we associate with, our partners, the places we go and the jobs we do. If our thoughts and beliefs about ourselves are predominately negative, self-doubting and critical, ("I'm hopeless, I'm sure to screw up, I'm just not good enough") then we will continually find evidence that supports our distorted views and ignore or filter out any positive facts and evidence. We may dismiss any good results we achieve as chance or luck, rather than the results of our own efforts and talent. Self-esteem and self-acceptance are essential components of mental toughness.

It follows that if our thoughts and beliefs are negative towards ourselves, then we will suffer emotionally. Low self-esteem manifests itself in our feelings and emotions; it can cause us to feel sad, angry, anxious, ashamed, jealous, guilty, shy and frustrated. Low self-esteem impacts on our confidence and what we are willing to try and do.

Low self-esteem often shows in our behaviour towards others and ourselves. It may be that we do not take good care of ourselves; eat badly, drink and smoke excessively or take street drugs. It is also possible that we may become preoccupied with our appearances and focus on our physique and clothes as a way to prove our self-worth.

In our relationships with others we may feel shy, self-conscious, apologetic, unassertive and withdrawn. We may seek approval excessively and try too hard to please others. We may also seek to cover our low self-esteem by being overly confident, outgoing or aggressive.

In our working lives having low self-esteem may cause us to avoid challenges, risk taking and under-perform. If we fear failure we may be relentless in our pursuit of approval and seek to maintain ever-increasing levels of perfectionism. Low self-esteem can be physically draining and cause us to be tense and tired from the emotional strain.

What influences our self-esteem?

Our childhood and early experiences often have a major effect on our feelings of self-worth and self-esteem. If we were given sufficient positive comments and feedback from our parents, carers and other significant adults in our lives (such as other senior family members or teachers), we would then feel valued and develop strong feelings of self-worth. Our brothers, sisters, cousins and school friends also have an impact on our self-esteem. We all know that children can be particularly cruel to each other. If we were bullied, picked on, belittled or made to feel inferior in some way, then this could lead to negative self-beliefs and continued low self-esteem. Very often, we soon grow out of these negative thoughts and beliefs and our subsequent experiences, together with our increased understanding, help us to develop a better self-image and higher self-esteem. In turn we will have more confidence regarding our place in the world.

In later life, our relationships with work colleagues, friends, partners and everyday acquaintances will have an impact on how we perceive ourselves. If we are made to feel worthwhile, valued and receive feedback that is supportive, then our self-esteem will increase. If on the other hand we are criticised or made to feel inferior or useless, then this will be damaging to our feelings of self-worth and our confidence. It can be particularly hard if we are rejected or criticised by someone who we regard highly or by a significant person in our lives such as a family member, our boss, manager or colleague. A partner who criticises us and is unsupportive can make us feel belittled, insecure, damaged and defective.  

Events will also affect our self-esteem, should we lose our jobs, be made redundant or demoted then it is natural that our feelings of self-worth and our confidence will be hit hard. Other loses in our lives such as our health and youth, losing a partner, ending a relationship, or losing a home can damage our self-esteem. Our culture and social surroundings will also affect our feelings of worthiness and self-image; we may compare ourselves unfavourably with our peers and even celebrities. We may feel that, due to social pressures and media imagery we should have the perfect life, relationship, body, health, home, car, kitchen, garden and wardrobe. If we are constantly comparing ourselves unfavourably to others, then this will cause us to feel inferior or anxious much of the time. Of course, positive gains in our careers and lives, together with supportive partners and colleagues will raise our confidence, self-esteem and feelings of self-worth.

Unconditional self-acceptance

As we can see from the above, self-esteem is often conditional on our achievements, attributes and how we compare ourselves to others. It is therefore more healthy and adaptive to have unconditional self-acceptance.

Unconditional self-acceptance means that we value ourselves as human beings first and foremost. We have value because we exist as human beings and are alive. We are worthwhile human beings regardless of our achievements, possessions, finances, class, education, physical attributes, intelligence, career, race, religion, gender or sexuality.

As Fallible Human Beings we acknowledge that we are complex organisms that are capable of good, bad and neutral behaviour and feelings. As fallible human beings it logically follows that we are prone to make mistakes and will fail at times. We can work to change things that can be changed. We can also learn to accept the things that we cannot change.

How can Hypnotherapy help?

Hypnotherapy provides us with a method to reach our inner-selves and our unconscious mind; this is our inner core where our learned feelings and perceptions of confidence, self-esteem, self-worth and self-image reside. Using hypnotherapy we can update any old programmes from the past that are no longer helpful to us. We can also review our current self-perceptions and ensure that they are helping us, rather than holding us back. We may want to forgive those who have hurt us in the past or learn to accept what we cannot change. We can achieve better and more adaptive views of ourselves; seeing things in perspective and in there true proportions. We can work to change what can be changed and set goals. We can work to accept ourselves for who we are, unconditionally.

How can Rational Thinking help?

Rational thinking is based on the coaching approaches of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT)

As I have pointed out above, there are many factors that can affect our levels of self-esteem and self-acceptance. We may be affected by people and their actions towards us, events and circumstances or our surrounding culture. However, our thinking and beliefs are significant in how we are affected by these factors and whether we feel supported, belittled or indifferent. By holding rational self-acceptance beliefs we can strengthen our confidence, mental health and mental toughness.

If you would like to know more about self-image and self-esteem, see the page on self-image here.  

© Phil Pearl DCH DHP MCH GHR Reg.
Hypnotherapy London
Mental Toughness. Resilience. Confidence.
Life Coaching. CBT Coaching. Existential Coaching. Hypnotherapy.

Mental Toughness Coaching, Training & Hypnotherapy London

Tel: 07966 377478