We create our lives from the inside out. Our beliefs about ourself influence the way we interact with the world.
When you have low self-esteem, it isn’t possible to feel self-confident. Faking it doesn’t help. It just creates stress because you aren’t being authentic.
Authentic is when your words and actions mirror your beliefs. The reasons you have low self-esteem may all be bogus self-recriminations, or false narratives you were taught as a child, but attempting to act different from your beliefs creates stress that makes life harder.
It is easier to change your beliefs so that they support becoming who you want to be than it is to pretend you are something you aren’t. When you believe you are worthy and good, self-confidence and self-esteem come naturally. When you are confident, being assertive and standing up for yourself or for what is right doesn’t feel so hard.
Is it necessary to know why I believe something before I can change a belief that isn’t helping me?
That may be the best question anyone could ask. The answer is no, you don’t necessarily have to know why. Some people will be able to identify some reasons or develop some hunches, though, with a little digging.
For instance, maybe you raised to focus on your flaws or to believe that self-esteem is a problematic quality. Many well-meaning parents believe it is their job to point out their children’s flaws to help the child do well in the world. Some families or communities believe that self-esteem is equivalent to narcissism and thus incompatible with humility. Or maybe there was a sense of “never good enough” in your family growing up, where the focus was on how much better you could be.
In those situations, parents and communities are often short on praise and long on critical or constructive feedback, which then becomes the norm for a child. If you grew up in an environment like that, you may have difficulty seeing or believing in your goodness or your worth. Those thoughts and beliefs simply haven’t been cultivated in your lived experience.
You may not be as easily able to answer “why” you struggle with self-confidence, though. Instead of spending a long time being critical of yourself for that, you could instead spend time intentionally nurturing beliefs that will help you become the person you want to be.
It’s actually not difficult for you to find out what you want to believe about yourself and the world you live in. Clues are in the things that resonate with you. Any phrase, image, quote, meme or memory that makes your heart feel lighter points you in the direction of the beliefs you want to cultivate. You can learn to be intentional and insistent about lighting this spark of self-esteem in your internal narrative every day.
There are geniuses who have low self-esteem.
Low self-esteem doesn’t mean you are worthless—it only means you don’t see your own goodness. Your beliefs may make you believe you aren’t worthy but that is just a perception; not a fact. It turns out that our perceptions about ourselves are more about our habits of thought than they are reflections of the reality of who we truly are.
Healthy self-esteem leads to self-confidence and assertiveness. Low self-esteem holds you back from achieving your dreams, from creating the relationships you yearn for, and from becoming the best possible version of yourself. Focusing on developing positive, supportive beliefs naturally raises self-esteem.
Living with low self-esteem doesn’t feel good. As your therapist helps you develop positive beliefs about yourself, your self-confidence will increase. What surprises many people the most is how much better their mood feels and how easy laughter wells up once the pressure caused by self-deprecating beliefs eases.
At Affinity, we see the goodness in you, and we acknowledge your inherent worth. Our clarity helps you see the truth about your goodness and worth, too. New self-confident beliefs develop through repetition, which we will help you practice. With our professional guidance, you will begin feeling more at ease in the world, and as your self-esteem grows, you will find yourself more able to be assertive in your quest to get your needs met and reach your goals.
When you feel the spark of inspiration to begin taking the steps to become more self-confident, act on it! If you’re feeling hopeful right now, reach out to us through email or text to help with your anxiety. It’s the only step you’ll have to take on your own. We’ll help you the rest of the way.