Fresh Springs Therapy Services

An introduction to Self Esteem

What is Self Esteem?

Self-esteem is largely about a set of beliefs we have about ourselves and how much we value ourselves. When you have low self-esteem, you feel you have little to offer to the world and you will have many negative beliefs and thoughts.

Why is this a problem?

  • You may overlook your strengths and just focus on your weaknesses, mistakes you made and any failures.
  • You may think you are not a good person so this may create barriers when you are trying to achieve goals and ambitions
  • You may find it difficult setting boundaries with other people, saying no when you need to or saying yes. You may often second guess yourself or feel guilty. You can very often feel used and burnt out.
  • As a consequence of this also, you may feel quite anxious or depressed as depression and low self-esteem come hand in hand.

What causes low self-esteem?

Central to having low self esteem is having a set of negative core beliefs about yourself and the world. These believes can be so entrenched that you don’t even think about or question them. You may say things to yourself like: “It’s best to expect the worst so I won’t be disappointed” or “I won’t succeed, no matter how hard I try”.

Low self-esteem can happen after bad experiences as an adult but on the main it stems from our core beliefs from childhood.

This is why two people going though the same experience will affect them differently. One of them could thrive, learn from it and move on. The other person will diminish both physically and emotionally. This is because the bad experiences confirm those already negative core beliefs you have developed as a child, so this experience could make you feel worse.

On a whole, one or more of the following examples of life experiences can be a trigger for low self esteem


  • Having an insecure upbringing where you don’t feel protected, loved or safe.
  • You where negatively criticised as a child by your parents, guardians or teachers. By negative, we mean where it was excessive and overly demanding.
  • You may have experienced emotional physical, psychological or sexual abuse
  • You could have been though a negative life experience such as a loss of a parent, adoption
  • Being in a relationship where you are controlled, manipulated or lied to (Gas lighting) which can lead to you second guessing yourself or doubting your capabilities. This could be parent to child, romantic, work related or platonic.
  • Unhealthy relationships which can be both romantic or platonic but involve being controlled, manipulated, belittled and/or lied to.
  • Any form of discrimination or bullying
  • Social media can trigger low self esteem when you start comparing yourself to people in the media
  • Feeling lonely and isolated where you don’t have much emotional support
  • Other disorders such as borderline personality disorder, avoidant personality disorder, and anxiety disorders, low self esteem is a symptom.


The signs of low self-esteem include the following: You

  • always have negative thoughts and feelings about yourself, the world and about life in general
  • are attracted to negative and sad things especially on the t.v.
  • find it hard to trust anyone even yourself
  • are often defensive
  • can be a bit of a perfectionist
  • constantly feeling anxious or fearful
  • have a tendency to be a perfectionist
  • are afraid of risks
  • are more prone to noticing what could wrong
  • are very sensitive towards criticism
  • brag a lot
  • have a history of chaotic relationships
  • display passive aggressive behavious


. . and a lot more


There is no quick fix for low self-esteem. Your sense of self was developed over a long time and has been deeply embedded in your unconscious ever since. Changing this will be an ongoing process dependent on your commitment and the work you decide to put in.


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