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7 Effective Ways to Work through Low Self-Esteem with Talk Therapy

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This post is part of the Mental Health Monday series & is written by a guest blogger. Read all about this author at the end of this article (which originally appeared with modifications here).

7 effective ways to work through low self-esteem with talk therapy by mental health monday guest blogger vera cheng on

Low self-esteem can impact various aspects of your life, whether it is with your personal or professional relationships. Many people find that having low self-esteem is connected to feeling shame, guilt, self-doubt, or inadequate.

The best way to overcome these feelings is by talking with a therapist.

Work through low self-esteem by recognizing negative self-talk.

No matter what you do daily, there will be one person you always talk to, and that’s yourself. We’re impacted in so many ways by how we talk to ourselves. It can change how we feel and what we do.

Most of our thoughts tend to be harmful to many of us because we haven’t mastered the idea of positive self-talk. You’ll find that you can use different strategies to help you get started on a path to positive self-talk.

Work through low self-esteem by becoming aware of your thoughts.

Sometimes we aren’t even aware of how much negative self-talk that we do per day. The best way to overcome your negative self-talk is by becoming aware of it.

Start a day by analyzing each of your thoughts. Do you notice yourself saying things like, “I can’t do that, or “they don’t like me?” These statements are negative talk, and that is what you’re trying to change.

When you start to notice your negative thoughts, it is a great time to stop these in their tracks. Become aware of the negative things you say to yourself means you can start to change the way you think.

Work through low self-esteem with journaling.

One of the best ways to start improving your mental health and boost your self-esteem is through journaling. It can help you to become mindful and accept the things that happen in your life.

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One of the best ways to improve your self-talk is through journaling and writing down the negative thoughts that you have throughout the day: Statements like, “I’ll never get that promotion,” or “I don’t look good in that.” Anything that is putting yourself down should be written down in your journal.

You can go through these statements and figure out how they can impact you. Once you start analyzing your thoughts in your journal, then you can make this a daily routine.

Work through low self-esteem by challenging negative self-talk.

After recognizing your negative self-talk, you need to challenge it. Figure out how you can take your negative self-talk and turn it into something positive.

It will become more natural when you start to challenge how you talk to yourself. For example, if you didn’t get a promotion at work, it doesn’t help to beat yourself up. Instead, try shifting your thoughts to “I’m proud of putting myself out there because I took the courage to apply for the promotion.”

When you’re having a bad day, a great positive way to think is, “Tomorrow is another chance to try again with the lessons I’ve learned from today.”

Most of your negative self-talk is something that you would never say out loud to another person. So why would you say this to yourself?

Work through low self-esteem by finding the root cause.

You might be wondering what the significance is of finding the origin of your low self-esteem, and that’s because it could be other issues you need to work through. Your low self-esteem could come from feelings such as being unlovable or useless.

Working with these root causes can help you to develop your high self-esteem over time. When you are healed, your self-esteem will go through a significant boost as well.

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It can be helpful to see why you were affected by these issues in your past. You’ll see and understand how your past can lead you to who you are today.

Anxiety, depression, and recent trauma can affect your low self-esteem and poor self-image.

Work through low self-esteem by learning how to be compassionate with yourself.

Many of us with low self-esteem have in common that we don’t have any compassion for ourselves. Showing self-compassion means being kind to ourselves all the time. Even when we notice something negative that we don’t like.

Self-esteem and self-compassion go hand-in-hand with feeling good about ourselves. You’ll find that people who can show positive self-compassion have better life satisfaction, emotional intelligence, and social connections.

Yet, these two are also a bit different! When you show compassion for yourself, you don’t have to feel better than someone else to feel good about yourself. Self-esteem can be a way that we compare ourselves with others.

How can you start showing compassion for yourself? Start by embracing kindness for yourself. You need to be able to experience your emotions as they come and accept them. As we talked about previously, stopping negative self-talk is a great way to start showing yourself compassion.

Mistakes are another thing that we’re all destined to make as humans. Being compassionate means that you’re able to forgive yourself for the mistakes that you make and move on from them. Learning and growing from mistakes is a huge part of self-compassion and evolving as a person. Vera can help guide you on your path to self-compassion.

Having self-compassion also comes along with great benefits for your life in general. You’ll find that once you can master self-compassion, you might start to feel less depressed, have a greater sense of happiness, and feel good about yourself overall.

The best way to be self-compassionate is to know no one is perfect. You’re worthy of kindness and love.

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Work through low self-esteem by setting goals to improve your life.

You will feel fulfilled when you begin to notice how your goals are achieved. This can help boost your self-confidence and give you a higher sense of self-esteem. It can improve your negative self-talk because you will start to believe in yourself.

Are You Ready for Talk Therapy?

Many signs might mean you’re ready to schedule your first Talk Therapy session. Each person is different in knowing when they’re ready to seek help. Yet, there are a few ways you can know if you’re ready.

Ask yourself these questions to find out if you are ready to reach out to get help with your low self-esteem.

  • Do you experience mood swings? 
  • Are you often overwhelmed, angry, or feel like someone is taking advantage of you? 
  • Do you feel alone or have no idea how you can help yourself? 
  • Is it hard for you to start, complete, or accomplish projects? It can be during school, work, or even at home. 
  • Are you constantly trying to change the way you act around other people so that they will like or agree with you?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, most likely you already know you’re ready to get help. The next step is reaching out for talk therapy so you can get the support to get on track with improving your mental health.

My name is Vera Cheng and I'm the founder of Talk Therapy with Vera.  I'm a Registered Social Worker, Psychotherapist in Toronto, Canada.  I provide therapy for individuals who struggle with their mental health in everyday life.  I moved to Toronto at a young age many years ago and experienced many obstacles in life that allowed me to accept and challenge myself. It allowed me to cultivate myself as a therapist and support individuals who have had similar experiences. My website is:

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