Every growing child needs more than just food, water and warmth. Every one of us needs to feel valued, special, lovable and acceptable – and good enough. If our parents or carers were not given this feeling (and sadly often they were not,) how do they know how to give it to us? They may have done their best, but were unable to give us what we needed. Many children are abused physically, psychologically and emotionally by parents who sometimes do not even realise or intend the harm it can cause. Adults (parents, carers or teachers) who are damaged can play out their own problems on children without even realising it. A child entering school with no inner resources of confidence and self- respect often gets bullied, and this can lead to even more shame and self-loathing. Siblings can be praised and constantly compared with us, and we can end up feeling second best for the rest of our lives. We may end up abandoning ourselves and hoping someone will rescue us, unless we learn how to rescue ourselves.
As adults we are left with the effects of being ignored, shamed, punished or put down on a daily basis during our formative years. It can leave us feeling that we cannot be liked or loved unless we are constantly giving to others at our own expense. Immersing our attention constantly in ‘looking after’ or serving others can distract us from the pain inside. We may medicate that pain with drugs, alcohol, overeating or any other addiction, but it does not go away. A child with low self-esteem often grows into an adult who unconsciously chooses abusive, selfish or emotionally unavailable partners time after time. He or she may end up with low paid yet demanding jobs, avoid tests and exams or interviews and all the things that could lead to improvement; because of the fear of failure and lack of self-belief. This un-confident adult may be told countless times that he/she is clever, talented, attractive or lovable – but on the inside they cannot believe it is true.
Low self-esteem is really a set of distorted beliefs about ourselves and the world, imposed on us when we were too young and powerless to know better. It can have a devastating effect on what we choose or feel entitled to in life, from jobs to relationships and the way we allow others to treat us.
How therapy can help
Therapy can help you to challenge and dissolve those old distorted beliefs, to step into your power as an adult and discover your own unique and priceless qualities. It can help you to love, appreciate, respect and support yourself so that you find your real, true self. You no longer feel compelled to hide who you are or pretend to be someone else in order to be acceptable. You no longer accept treatment that belittles you or stands in the way of your needs. You no longer feel you have to win everybody’s approval. You come to realise that you are lovable, deserving, and good enough just as you are, no matter who you are, what you are good at / not good at, what you earn or how you look. You find out how you can be forgiving and compassionate to yourself, becoming your own best friend, champion and rescuer instead of your worst enemy. The impact this will have on your life is greater than you could imagine at the outset, and is the greatest gift you can give to yourself. Contact me today for a no obligation chat to find out how I help.