Sometimes people do not realise that they have self-esteem issues. They might feel that something is wrong, that they don’t feel that they act or think in a similar manner to their friends, but they don’t actually realise that they do not have high self-esteem. You may feel the same.
So the first step in creating treatment goals for self esteem is realising that your self esteem is low. You may spot negative behaviors in yourself such as avoiding challenging yourself, thinking that you are not good enough, avoiding social interaction with people outside of your immediate friendship group.
The second step in creating treatment goals for self esteem is not identifying with the self-esteem itself. This is really important. You can think of yourself as suffering from low self-esteem, or having low self-esteem or going through a period of low self-esteem, that is fine. But the low self-esteem is only an experience, not a character trait. You weren’t born with it. And you can change it.
For many years I suffered from low self esteem and didn’t realise it. The negative way in which I approached life’s opportunities and challenges affected my life: I under-earned, the healthy relationships I had with friends were often a result of their persistence in being friends with me, I really underestimated any talents I may have. I didn’t realise that self-esteem affects all areas of my life
But when I did realise that I had low-self esteem, and started to address this, I realised that it is something I am experiencing and living out, but it is not an innate part of my character. I realised that it’s like a barometer, or thermometer. It can go up and down. It’s not fixed.
Realising that low self-esteem is only a character trait and not an inherent characteristic is a massive step towards walking away from this experience of negative beliefs about yourself.
Give priority to raising your self-esteem. Something I realised for myself is that how low self-esteem affected every part of my life and that improving it affected my whole view on my life and the value that it has.
Various types of therapies such as counselling, therapy and coaching can help you to address a variety of mental health conditions including low self-esteem. This post gives you an outline of symptoms common in low self-esteem patients that you can work through yourself. Underneath the specific situations is a treament plan for helping you return to healthy self-esteem.
Your personal treatment plan will address the following symptoms:
Don’t let me get me – Comparing yourself to others
All by Myself – Negative self-talk
It’s what you value – Do you know what your own values are?
I did it my way – Live your own life v Waiting for others to give their approval
It’s a wonderful world – Accepting compliments
Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative and don’t mess with Mr Inbetween – Accepting life’s challenges
All by myself – negative self-talk
Negative self-talk expresses itself in many ways including:
blame, “We were stuck in traffic and late for the appointment, I’m such a bad planner.”
catastrophising, “If I have another bad day at work they’ll probably try and get rid of me.”
Denial, “They said I had done my work well, but I think they were just being nice.”
overgeneralising, “I’ve made no money this year, I’m probably not cut out to be an entrepreneur.”
Treatment goal for negative self-talk
Mantras and journaling can really help your negative self-talk
For journaling you could keep a gratitude journal. Gratitude immediately takes you away from self-talk and puts your whole body, mind and spirit into a positive, gentle state.
Mantras, or positive self-talk messages can also really help your negative self-talk. Short statements that seem so simple, can actually have a really positive effect on your negative life story. Try a positive mantra like, “I’ve got this”, “I can do this”, “I can do hard things”. Once you’ve practiced simple mantras take a step up and challenge your negative thoughts. One method that really works for me is to thank my brain and ask it to take a step back. For example if I am anxious about something, I say, “Thank you brain, but I’ve got this, you can chill out here and I’m just going to go an do X.” try it for yourself, it’s great fun!
Don’t let me get me – Comparing yourself to others
Comparing ourselves to other people is very common, and understandable. You look around and see how other people are living their lives, what they are doing, how much they earn, where they live. People watching is a great sport but when it turns into a constant inner dialogue of how poor your quality of life is compared with everyone else’s then you are in a very unhelpful thought pattern which will certainly have an affect on your self-esteem.
Treatment goals for comparing yourself to others
Unlock the power of contentment! The best way to stop comparing yourself to other people is to be happy with what you have. You could start with a gratitude journal or a self-love journal.
Secondly, create a life that you want with good things in it. What makes you happy may not make someone else as happy. To know what you want and be able to give it to yourself is a sign of good emotional health. If you are comparing yourself to others you are definitely not looking after yourself. So start understanding what you need to make you happy and make that your main goal. As the phrase goes, “You do you.”
It’s a wonderful world – Accepting compliments
When someone compliments your clothes do you respond by saying, “Thank you”, or do you say how old the clothes are, how you bought them in a sale and exactly how much each of the items cost? If someone compliments your looks do you respond with “Thank you”, or do you give the person a list of ways which stop you from being ‘perfect’? For example if someone says, “You’ve got such a small waist”, do you say, ‘Oh thanks, it’s just such a shame I’ve got such massive hips I can never find anything to wear.’
Treatment goals for Learning to accept compliments
Turn learning to accept compliments into a game and you will be well on your way to ridding yourself of poor self-esteem. Firstly always express gratitude, make “Thank you” and “That’s so kind of you, thanks” part of your language. And stop there. No other excuses ok?
Accentuate the positive
We all face life’s challenges on a daily basis. How we respond to those challenges is entirely our choice. If we have constant negative judgments about life then those negative emotions will have a detrimental effect on our self-esteem.
Treatment goals for learning to see the positive
one of the most helpful practices I learned when I had life coaching was to accept that my life experiences are going to be 50/50. Half of the time they are going to be great, half the time not so much. This really helped me to understand that life isn’t perfect for anyone, and to expect that it will be easy and fun every day is unrealistic. Now, when I have a difficult day, I try and shrug my shoulders and say, “It’s just life”. It removes the expectation I used to put on myself that life should be easier/more perfect/different than it is. So one of the positive behaviors that you can adopt is a new attitude to your expectation of life. Life is just life, it’s just life.
You can also use your journal to write down positive things that happen each day. This is not a gratitude journal practice so many as marking down what happened during the day that was positive. This will challenge any core belief that you have that nothing positive or good ever happens to you.
Live your own life
Are you living your own life? And how do you know that you are? Here are some specific ways that you can tell, in the form of questions:
Are you living your life needing approval for it either via friends or family or co-workers/your boss?
When you are making a decision do you have another script in your head thinking how you will justify this to someone else or how they will react? One of the negative things about not making your own decisions a priority is that self-priority becomes less of a factor in your decision-making process until it doesn’t feature at all. Which results in you not living your own life and not even realising that you are living your own life.
Treatment goals for living your own life
priorities – develop a very strong connection with what matters to you. The stronger the connection, the less other peoples’ opinions matter. Cognitive-behavioral therapy exercises could really help you in this situation. Working to reprioritise your own thoughts and feelings is a top priority and one that will help you in all aspects of your life.
Have your own values
In my life there have been a number of specific instances where I have had to list out my top three values. And I just had no idea. My mind went blank. Other people said things like: “Family is my number 1 priority. It means everything to me and underpins all my decisions.” Or they said things like, “Generosity is my over-riding value and I try to live up to it in everything I do.”
I didn’t know where to begin. When had people thought up these amazing sentences? How had they worked out what their values were?
So I found a list of values and worked through them myself. But these words meant nothing to me. I couldn’t identify with them at all.
Maybe you are like that too? You have no idea what your values are.
Treatment goals for having your own values
Specific self-esteem therapy like that used in cognitive behavioral therapy can help you to work through what values are really important to you. Along with discovering your own set of life values therapy can also help you address and improve your core beliefs about yourself, which will be negatively impacted if you aren’t aware of what your values are.
I hope you have found this helpful.
If you liked this blog post you may also like:
How to develop confidence using a self-love journal template
Powerful journal therapy ideas to heal anxiety and trauma
Simple mindfulness journal prompts and practices to appreciate life better