Self-esteem Help, Self-esteem Therapy, Esteem Therapy, Confidence Therapy, Self-esteem Counselling, Confidence Counselling
Confidence & Self-Esteem
The Shadow Blocking Our Light Our self-esteem is about the way we feel about ourselves - the value and worthiness we perceive we feel and have about ourself out in the world, affecting how comfortable we are in our own skin, how happy we are with who we see in the mirror. Whereas confidence is more about how we feel about our abilities to do and achieve things in certain situations. Our self-confidence & self-esteem are closely linked. They affect each other. Easily punctured, once we start putting ourself down or writing us off (often our familiar script), we can set off into a spiral of depression and consequently lack confidence. As our selfesteem & energy plummets, so too does our confidence to interact & mix with others, which can be paralysing at times. We may fear the ground will swallow us up. We may want to switch off, bury our head in the sand. We can seem invisible, like an outsider to others (and us) at times, as if we are disconnected, lost, that the world is moving, happening around us, yet we are static or powerless. We can feel so low and bad about our self which can be soul-destroying. There can be an uncomfortable gap between how we are inside, how we would like to be, and how we show ourself to others (see also How We Feel About Our Body). Some of us may get easily anxious in social situations or want to examine their relationships with others. Preoccupied, we may worry how to be with others in case we say the wrong thing. We may also be overly concerned how others see us. Even when things are OK & going well, we don't trust this. "It won't last" may be our mantra. Believing and reinforcing we are inferior, not good enough, hopeless, we may even sabotage things or turn to unhelpful habits or addictions. We may have moments of clarity, when we can see a light in a dark tunnel and lose it again, as if we are caught somewhere between an unsatisfactory past or fearful future (see also Stuck, Fixed Somewhere Between The Past, Present Or Future), yet struggle to live in the light of the moment. Our waves of insecurity, lack of or low confidence problem, can be like our shadow, blocking out our light, inhibiting the fullness of our personality to shine through. The confidence counselling & self-esteem therapy may also explore the impact of our early childhood environment & conditioning, what we tell ourself, any shame we carry, our early, unconscious beliefs, our rituals, sensitivities, what makes us feel confident, worthy and happy about who we are (see also Healthy Side Of Being Self(ish)), how we can love, appreciate our own life, and what promotes our own wellbeing, elevated moods, the right to be us.
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An Outsider, Invisible At Times With Others Where and how to place ourself, speak our truth with others may be a dilemma. Caught in a double bind, some of us may have a tendency to make ourselves almost invisible to others, yet another part of us would also like to be seen, noticed (see also Social Anxiety Or Social Phobia). We may feel shy, unassertive or introverted at times, avoid conflict by agreeing with things. We would rather avoid asking what we want, stating our needs, even in our relationship. Ignoring our own feelings yet tending to others' feelings, we may tirelessly try to agree with others for worrying about not being liked, fear of rejection, abandonment or of getting into any conflict. In the company of others we can feel like an outsider, invisible, on our own, alone, uncomfortable with this, maybe alarmed at times, with a sense of panic, as if we need someone to help us out. We may give in to others rather than stand on our own feet in our own ground, own truth. We would rather ignore our own emotions, what's important to us, struggling to express these, yet attend to those of others. Frequently analysing things, we may shut down, believing we have nothing valuable to say, with a stream of negative thoughts running through our mind, and would like to be more vocal, in control, feeling less paralysed, inhibited at times, so we are being the person we want to be, in touch with who we are and more comfortable relating with others. Confidence counselling can explore how we can feel at ease with ourself and others, being resilient, more comfortable in our own body and what inhibits us, so we can live our life to its full potential. (See also Turning Loneliness In On Our Self Or Out Into The World)
Effects of Low Confidence Low confidence affects our self-esteem, often causing problems with:
- Anxiety, including panic attacks
- Becoming tongue-tied
- Making decisions, procrastination
- Motivation & sense of our own power
- Comparing us with others
Effects of Low Self-Esteem Low self-esteem can lead to fear of:
- Not being in control
- Being overly sensitive - our buttons easily pressed
- What people think (maybe believing people are always looking at us)
- Loss, rejection, abandonment
- Confrontation, conflict, anger
- Being criticised, blamed, judged (ironically, this is what we do to us)
- Humiliation, exposure
- Being seen as a fake or found out as not being any good
- Being inadequate, unworthy
- Failure, making mistakes or even having success
- Telling people how we really feel
- Asking for what we want
- Taking risks
- Fully living
- Doing what really matters to us
- Being real
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What Is Self-Esteem Self esteem comes from the inside - how we see ourself, not how others see us, is about how much we value ourselves, what we like, approve of, self-compassion how in touch we are with love. We can evaluate our self in positive or negative ways, e.g. accepting ourselves (or comparing ourselves adversely with others - wanting to be/look like them), having confidence in our own abilities (or lacking this), not worrying about what others think (or frequently worry about this), having an optimistic attitude - able to look at the bright side, view mistakes, setbacks as opportunities for growth (or negative one). Our esteem is not fixed and can fluctuate in certain situations. (Our work for example may give us a professional self-esteem, yet we may lack esteem in other areas, e.g. how we deal with separation, loss, rejection, abandonment.) Our low self-esteem problem is closely linked to struggles accepting & believing our competences, the fullness of who we are. This can lead to:
- Lack of confidence or low self-confidence
- Limiting beliefs, mindsets
- Problems with our esteem & confidence in relationships
- Struggling to receive love
- Emotional insecurity
- Overriding self-doubt
- Lack of faith
- Self-worth issues
- Self-criticism, self-judgement, self-blame, self-comparison
- Self-loathing, self-hatred
- Depression, which can further lower our esteem
- A poor self-image
- Experiencing our self as much younger than we are
- Being self-absorbed & self-centred
- Withdrawal & isolation
- Becoming secretive
- Negative selftalk
- Procrastination & difficulties making decisions
- Envy & jealousy
- Becoming like a victim, martyr, self-pity
- Developing "inferiority complex"
- Struggling to be authentic
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Nobody has the right to make you feel inferior without your consent.Eleanor Roosevelt
Behaviour Patterns As if living our life from some fixed script - narrative of our own making, we can go around for years as if we are somehow not good enough or the "ugly duckling" in some way or victimise ourself. We may have learnt to go along with things, what others want, yet not be happy with that. Along the way we may be forsaking who we are, maybe putting ourselves down before someone else does. Fearing criticism or rejection, some of us opt to please others (often saying "Yes" without really meaning it), maybe frustratingly at the cost of our own needs & wants. In our relationships we may allow ourselves to be undermined. We can respond by becoming compliant, meek & mild (e.g. agreeing with everyone, apologising, avoiding things & being indecisive) to aggressive, which can catch us or others out (e.g. overbearing, physically abusive, dominating, bullying, raging at anyone who disagrees, having a foul temper & short fuse). We may also want to review our communication style. With our esteem low we may end up sabotaging things, including our relationship. We may want to link our behaviour to what's happening inside. When we take things too personally (or become overly sensitive), we may react by blaming ourselves. Our behaviour patterns and underlying factors may need to be explored further.
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Keeping Things Inside In some situations we can switch between these two extremities: meek & mild in the outside world (as if butter wouldn't melt in our mouth) - belligerent & exploding with frustration & flashes of anger behind closed doors, often misdirecting it at our partner (see also Confidence, Esteem, Insecurity & Fear In Relationship Or Marriage). Some of us choose not to show our frustration & anger to anyone - keeping it all inside. Some of us can get easily anxious if things aren't going well. Struggling to meet our own needs, we can become needy of others, and we can behave in destructive ways. We may feeI envious or rageful towards people we believe are superior to us, or jealous of the attention they receive.
On The Sidelines Things may happen around us, and struggling to get involved, speak up for ourselves about not just the big issues, but the small things. It can be as if we are watching life go by, without participating in ways we would like. We may struggle to speak, because we believe we sound boring. We might like to observe others, maybe living the life we would like. Others may wear a mask, struggling to fully live, as if we haven't fully chosen our life. Keeping things inside, we may turn to our familiar unhelpful habits or addictions. We may often feel alone, lonely.
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Healthy Side Of Doubt We have all had moments of self-doubt. Some view self-doubt, questioning things, as a sign of weakness, yet it can also be seen as strength, coupled with holding our hope & faith. When we have self-doubt, scepticism, it can help stop us being so impulsive, maybe rushing into fix things before considering things, what we perceive, alongside all other options. Our doubt enables us to slow down, observe & reflect, allow for something "other" to emerge, work things through, test things out. Our self-doubt can carry wisdom, be part of our humanity, authenticity, and can enable us to be in touch with our beliefs, values and what matters, keeping our feet on the ground, allowing for life's uncertainties, before we jump in. Our self-doubt enables us to be open to new ideas, deliberate what the best decision we can make is and then to decide act upon it. Sometimes a wind of change can blow our way and catching this may be important. On occasions our self-doubt can feed our insecurity, be unhealthy, hold us back...
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Stuck In Self-Doubt In our moments of self-doubt we may question our ability and underestimate our self. However, it can be counterproductive to continuously question ourselves, ruminate, e.g. what we've said, should have said, etc. We may also worry about change, uncertainty, future scenarios, worrying about what might go wrong. We may get knocked down easily, finding it hard to shake things off, pick ourselves up. Riddled with self-doubt we may become depressed. When we start to believe or accept our doubts, even though much of what we think may be irrelevant, we can allow them to influence our decisions or sabotage us. This can affect our ability to plan, prepare, think, be creative & act. We may have lost our firm belief in us, our qualities, abilities & potential, what we can do, our self-worth. Our hope may diminish. We may allow previous experiences, wounds or failures to make us doubt our future ability. Our doubt ("You can't/haven't done this/that") can pick holes where there aren't any, overshadowing our confidence, especially if we tend to be a bit of a perfectionist. Our familiar response to challenges may include "Will I, won't I?", "I'm not sure", "Maybe", "I can't", "I should", and we can end up procrastinating. Doubting ourself can trickle in and become fixed or end up controlling us. We can end up convinced, that before we even start anything, we shouldn't even bother. When we are captured by our doubt, we can't believe any possible solutions, because we believe our thought. (Some of us may have a sense of impending doom, dread, tend to catastrophasise, awfulise.) We may have become self-critical, judgemental (see Self-Criticism). Doubting our own competence, qualities & capabilities we may have given this thought more weight than we need to, underestimating ourselves, as our doubts get the better of us. When our self-talk is negative we make our doubts our reality, they become self fulfilling prophecies impacting on our ability to achieve things.
Overriding Self-Doubt Sometimes our self-doubt can insidiously creep in through the back door. Others may be constantly analysing, ruminating what we are doing, want to overcome self-doubts. Viewing our doubts as thoughts, we may want to utilise ways of not feeding our unhelpful thoughts, doubts, stepping through them and move forward with more confident thoughts. Our self-encouragement, appreciating our achievements however small (and trusting our procedural memory that if we have done it before we can do it again) may be in short supply, which stops us thriving & acting in the world. Getting in touch with our positive determination may also support us. Tackling our doubts head-on, making the choice to trust ourself, be in the moment & taking different, positive action - just having a go, may be our challenge. (Some find that faking it till we make it works for them.) Self-esteem counselling & confidence therapy can support you in building positive self-belief, without self-deception, having belief in yourself when others don't, moving towards your own self-trust and encouragement - turning adversity into an advantage, exploring your attitudes and what inspires you, so other possibilities open up, that you can do whatever you choose.
Leap, and the net will appear.John Burroughs
Limiting Ourselves We may find it hard to look inside ourselves and struggle with finding our courage to do certain things.
- We may limit ourselves by living from certain personal fears, relationship fears
- We may be holding onto limiting beliefs, mindsets (see also Unhelpful Self-Beliefs)
- We may avoid trying new things in case we make a fool of ourself
- We may avoid speaking up for fear of being wrong, rejected
- We may stay focused in our head
- We may avoid growing as a person in case we find out something about ourself we don't like
- We may stay stuck in a job we don't like through fear of failure
- We may stay stuck in unloving relationship through fear of being alone
Putting Trust In Us Most of us find it hard to trust others, unless we trust ourselves. Our lack of trust may date back to old wounds. And when we do trust us, we are less reliant on others to give us only what we can give to ourselves. Some of us may lack confidence in trusting who we are - self-trust (see also Emotional Insecurity, Inadequacy). We may forever be comparing us with others. We may have become cynical, when discussing certain things, developed a habit of mistrusting not only us but also everyone else (see also Trust, Vulnerability & Intimacy In The Relationship). Being truthful in our relationship may also be important. Some of us may blindly put all our trust in others, yet not in ourself, not listening to that distant call or still voice inside of us, one we may have known all along. We may have let what others say or do define us and become dependent on them for validation, approval, affirmation, reassurance, confirmation, permission, recognition, appreciation, praise, attention, adoration, admiration to be our moral compass , so also our self-worth becomes based on how others perceive us or our emotional evaluation, which has nothing to do with our intrinsic worth. Trusting our feelings (so called positive and negative ones) as information and messages for us may support us. In our early years we may have been trusting in nature, yet picked up some wounds along the way and if we were hurt as a child, we may have unhealed trust issues now. Learning to regain trust, putting faith in who we are and our own path may now be important to us. Believing in and honouring who we are, and our own strength, gives us trust, as does finding our courage to trust things will work out, doing what we need to do, even when afraid. And this trust supports us no matter what's happening around us. Building trust with ourself when our loving actions line up with our words may be important, alongside having faith in promises we make & keep. Our self-trust can be our foundation, when we are in touch with it and hold on to it, supported by our resilience. As we place trust in us and in our own ground, we may have more of a capacity to calm ourself, putting ourself at ease and reflect, observe & respond to whatever comes our way, putting trust in our actions, move forward. We may have very specific issues around trust:
- Can we trust our body?
- Can we trust being grounded, secure, inhabiting our body?
- Can we trust our real feelings?
- Can we trust our inner voice?
- Can we trust who we are, our self?
- Can we be freer from our old restrictions in order to trust?
- Can we learn to trust and are we willing to do so?
- Can we trust others?
- Can we trust life, presenting us with situations to develop, learn, grow & be fulfilled
- Can we trust the unknown, uncertainty, mystery?
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Trusting Our Self, Our Innateness We will always look to others for validation, approval, affirmation, reassurance, confirmation, permission, recognition, appreciation, praise, attention, adoration, admiration, adulation, acceptance if we don't trust ourself by our capacity to handle whatever comes our way, putting trust in our capabilities to do whatever we choose. When we do, this empowers us. When anxious, vulnerable, caught in our painbody, it can affect our ability, groundedness ability to trust us, others and life. Being in touch with our innateness - our body, feelings, mind connection supports us. Re-discovering, being in touch with and trusting our inherent nature and own intrinsic resources - the ones we have had since birth & life itself, may support us. With much potential, we were naturally born curious, open to learning. We had emotions and expressed them freely, with the desire to love and be loved. We had a need to emotionally and physically attach ourself to those closest to us who cared for us. At times we needed closeness and other times, separateness. We knew when to hold on and when to let go, when we needed to connect & play, eat & sleep. This natural self-trust may have eroded over time. (See also Connecting To The Innocence Of Our Childhood - Our Child Within) Listening to what gives us peace of mind, what is our own intuition, home truths, conscience & integrity may support our intrinsic self-trust, as may trusting we are enough, being in touch with the essence of who we are, our core self, being in touch with our qualities, opening our heart. The counselling & psychotherapy can explore our own human givens - being in touch with all of who we are, aligning ourself with our own backbone, being anchored, centred, grounded, in touch with what matters to us, our intrinsic worth, value and relationship to trust (see also Ownership, Guardianship, Trusteeship).
Self-Respect Getting back to our core self, honouring our own values, the life & soul of who we are, supports our self-respect, so we can act from this place with a level of honesty, reflecting conscience, integrity, standing by what we believe, without necessarily having to persuade others. Acknowledging our talents, innateness supports our self-respect. When we are in touch with our self-respect, we are freer to respect others, be respected by others, including having respect for our partner in our relationship. We may also be in touch with a respect for the world around us and our responsibility to take action.
I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence, but it comes from within. It is there all the time.Anna Freud
Confidence Building - Empowering Us Sometimes we can give people power (see also Giving Our Power Away?) without owning our own. Many areas of our life are affected by how good we feel about ourselves - fundamental to who we are, sense of empowerment. What we give our power to can be explored in the confidence counselling & self-esteem therapy. Empowering ourself, and the decisions we make, may be important for us, so our life is in our hands. Yet for some our lack of confidence, low confidence or low esteem may in a strange way give us comfort, and stepping outside of this safe & familiar place into unknown new territory can be unnerving at first. This can be especially so if we have denied what really matters to us, our needs or certain feelings we are not supposed to have. Some of us prefer to show to others a sort of "false modesty" (e.g. pretending we are easy-going, or that nothing really matters - when in fact it does), which can end up disempowering, causing confusion to us & others - "they should know how I really feel". Being with encouraging, empowering others boosts our confidence. Being comfortable in our own skin, so we are satisfied with our personality & skills, abilities & limitations may boost our confidence building so we are at ease in our relationships, enjoying a healthy sex life, able to face challenges and enjoy life. The confidence therapy can look at what matters to us, how we can build our confidence, be in our own ground & empower our self, feel potent, courageous, so we are strong inside.
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Confidence Building Support It is rare for any of us to go through life without an occasional dip in our level of confidence. Building confidence, from the inside out, so it belongs to us, boosts our self-esteem. Even so called confident people have their moments. Enduring stability comes from building our own confidence, emotional intelligence, finding out who we are, our capabilities, what makes us happy, experience elevated moods. Our relationships can only be as stable as we are in them. It may be important for us to take charge & control of our emotional stability. Confidence building is a skill which can be developed that comes from being self-assured, arising from us appreciating our own abilities and nurturing our confidence over time. Self-esteem counselling & confidence therapy can support us with our:
- Self-appreciation & pride
- Self-responsibility, acceptance
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Freeing Us Up Some of us may have almost fatalistic beliefs, as if our free will is captured, that we should feel dreadful. We may be seeking ways we can be freer in our lives, so we can hear & see what is, instead of what was, should be or will be. Rather than what we should or ought to be feeling & thinking, we may want to feel freer to simply express what we "actually" feel & think. Being less awkward, taking charge of our thoughts, learning from our mistakes, not worrying so much about having to know everything, no longer trying to blame us or change others, living from the heart and soul of who we are, having the freedom to express what we want, rather than waiting for permission, may also support us in being confident in who we are, as may the freedom to take risks, make decisions without guilt being our constant companion. The therapy can also explore & support us with knowing what we want, prioritising & focusing our mind & actions on this, even if things won't always run smoothly, aligning our thoughts and actions with what we really want and maintaining an optimistic attitude, creating a plan without allowing ourselves to get distracted & keeping things simple. We may also explore how we can free our will.
I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do itPablo Picasso
Taking Risks It can be a challenge to combine being courageous & brave with understanding, discerning when to try out new things & when not to take unwanted risks. Being comfortable may be important to us, as may the value of caution, reflection, yet opportunities may slip by (see also Changes & Transitions), because we may want to avoid the awkwardness or temporariness of being uncomfortable. We may frequently procrastinate or choose security & avoid rocking the boat. Exploring life in more challenging ways we do our best growing when we move outside our safety zone. Stepping outside our comfort zone can help us grow, feel more alive, achieve & bring about change, transformation. Being cautious, playing things safe, doing the sensible, proper thing can at times be wise, yet other times we may want to try new things or something different, choosing to exchange safety for risk, utilise our will, consider throwing caution to the wind, be frivolous, more spontaneous, allow for surprises, be carefree (see also Our Free Will). The benefit of hindsight is useful, yet we may ask how will we know if things will be different. Preferring the comfort of familiarity, we may be in a double bind, because we won't know unless we try, make choices, decisions and act, helped by building, maintaining supportive habits. As we learn to take charge of our anxiety and change our unhelpful attitudes, we may be willing to risk learning new things, be open to new possibilities, trying them out, practice using them, until they become familiar & ours. Taking a chance, being prepared to make mistakes, fail, be wrong, let go at times may help us take risks. Counselling & psychotherapy can help explore our thoughts, beliefs & attitudes about risk, and what it might mean for us to stretch ourselves a little more by taking risks (this for some may include asking for what we need and taking risks in our relationship).
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.Anais Nin
Risk & Safety Being safe sometimes is necessary for our survival. Before we start something new, take a risk, it can be important to carefully consider balancing risks, that what we are doing is right & what the consequences of our actions may be, understanding these (see Healthy Side Of Doubt). Stepping outside our perceived boundaries, being willing to continuously explore, learn, risk love, committed to expressing ourselves more fully, rising to challenges may paradoxically be our very challenge.
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.Helen Keller
Risk Taking - How We May Stop Ourselves Some of us at times may choose to follow our fearful voice inside, telling us that risk taking isn't safe, that the consequences are consistently likely to be negative ("It's too late, I don't have enough time, money, energy, I might fail"). Worrying whether or not we can do things may also inhibit our freedom to enjoy the process, learning, the journey itself and what we need to learn. Yet the old things we have been doing may no longer work. Others may choose curiosity, adventure, having a "let's see" approach, love or courage to override their fear of taking risks. Trying something new can empower us, so compassion for our self outweighs our fear of what others might say or do.
If not now, when?
Our Attitude Towards Risk Taking - What May Be Happening Inside Remaining self-critical & believing we are no good, can keep us safe, yet stop us taking risks, even small ones. (Also, if we don't value who we are, we may overly worry what others think about us or feel bullied & intimidated by others.) Being safe is important to our survival. Exploring our external, internal sense of safety in counselling & psychotherapy may be significant. Yet if we try to always be so safe in everything we do, we would be immobile, stuck. Being safe enough inside, willing to exchange over-cautiousness, controlling things for taking new risks, willing to step into the unknownso we are not just surviving, but feel more alive, loving to us & others, may be important for us. Confidence counselling & self-esteem therapy may consider your attitudes to risk, what's stops you taking risks so far and how free & willing (see Our Free Will) your choices are to take risks. We may struggle to be assertive & be tempted to control or manipulate situations, so that outcomes are predictable, safe, risk free, yet this may be stifling. So rather than trying to have control over feeling safe (which can lead to resentment, blame, withdrawal, being overly defensive) we may want to choose from what is more loving for us or others, what's life affirming, towards our life's journey. Our fear of taking risks may stop us:
- Risking disapproval, even upsetting others at times
- Risking letting go
- Risking what we don't know, making mistakes, trying something new
- Risking empowering us
- Being curious & creative
- Risking intimacy, love
- Risking making new choices
- Developing new habits
- Realising our dreams
- Living in the moment
If we don't aim high enough, we may not go far enough.
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Our Need For Validation, Approval, Affirmation, Reassurance, Confirmation, Permission, Recognition, To Be Valued, Appreciation, Praise, Attention, Adoration, Admiration, Adulation, Acceptance Most of us enjoy approval, affirmation from certain people and this can help us be seen, acknowledged, be motivated. We all need feedback, support, validation, to be appreciated & receive the right sort of attention from others. Essential to our growth (and this can date back to very early connections and bonding patterns, and how our father, mother validated, reassured, recognised, approved, accepted us), we need recognition, reassurance, appreciation & approval, others to value us, show interest in us, be proud in us, validate our worth, understand us. We need contact and people to like us, love us, be there for us, support us, yet confuse this with approval. We may make these needs over-important (and consequently try to be perfectionist) and how we seek it, receive it, whether in healthy, unhealthy ways impacts upon us. Highly dependent on others for our self-esteem, we may too often expect approval, recognition, affirmation, etc. and become disappointed when not received and this may feed our sense of insecurity. Dating back to old wounds, we may fear people won't like us, struggle to say what we want, feel and become so dependent on approval, reassurance. We may seek out approval too often for our own comfort, ending up playing things safe, or become dependent on the people we seek approval from (manipulation may play a part) and when we don't get our approval "fix" (having what some people call an approval addiction), we may deflate. Yet over-relying on others to make us feel good, we may make approval-giving the job of them (overlooking that it is also our role to value our being, validate ourself. We may be out of contact with what we want, struggling at times to connect to our "this is me" sense, to define our own intrinsic worth, without attaching it to what others think. One challenge may be to savour compliments without wanting, needing approval. However if we do begin to focus on what we want, this may give us time to think, which we may flee from.
Approval Addiction Counselling for approval addiction and and self-esteem therapy can look at what may lay behind our need for approval, recognition, appreciation, admiration, adoration or adulation (see also Possible indicators of being needy), including ways we can, give ourself "internal gratification", good feedback, take care of our own needs, giving this approval to yourself, without always having to look outside of us. In our relationship we may mistake love for approval. We may try to be nice or please to get appreciation, validation from others as a form of control. Yet we may feel unappreciated by others and angry on the inside. Being nice because it makes us feel good inside has a different quality to it. Analysing things, some may also expect our needs to be met without saying, asking for what we need including in our relationship. If we don't get these needs met in our relationship or marriage, we may withdraw, use sex for validation or seek sexual encounters elsewhere to validate our own intrinsic worth. How love & approval gets played out in our relationship, marriage, may be worth observing. What we do when we are not heard, seen, appreciated or met, especially in our relationship, and whether we are able to receive others' appreciation without depending on it (and even if we get it we may tell ourself we don't deserve it), may be challenging, affecting our relationship style, as may trusting, appreciating & being proud of our self, who we are & what we do, acknowledging that we are enough, have gratitude.
What you think of me is none of my business.Wayne Dyer
Worrying What Others Think About Us We may over-worry, ruminate about a lot of things or specifically about what others think about us and consequently become confused about the images we have of us, the images we like to show to the world and who we are. Alongside affirmation, from time to time we may also need assurance & re-assurance. We need validation, recognition, appreciation & the right sort of attention, support. throughout our life to varying degrees. It is important to our growth, esteem and sense of emotional security. Yet when we become over-dependent on others for these, or feel worthless without them, we can become powerless, especially when we get caught in continuously comparing us with others. It can be so important that we are seen, recognised, acknowledged, appreciated or maybe admired, that we would do anything to get this. We may need approval & love, which is unconditional or perfect, yet which may be too much for someone else to always give. We may believe that any approval is better than none and do anything (even compromise ourselves, to receive approval & recognition). Needing or desiring recognition, validation or approval so much (and confusing this with love), interferes with our performance & how we are in the world. It can become tense-making, stopping us relaxing. We can be so busy criticising ourselves, putting ourselves down, that we now seek validation, affirmation, appreciation or adoration & admiration from others. Trying to pin our esteem on others, we may give ourselves away, constantly seeking confirmation from others about who we are, whether we are good enough, maybe fearing others will abandon, reject us. Not feeIing good about ourselves, we can look for others to source our motivation & give us the answers, meet our dependency needs. Dependent on approval from others (which can be withdrawn at any time), we may go along with things, continuously wondering what others think (frequently double, treble thinking) or trying to please others or fix things for them - giving them what they want or want to hear (often at the cost of what we want or really want to say), without giving away ourself. Saying "No" and being assertive may be one change. Unsafe inside, or feeling like a fraud we may try to control others, outcomes or our partner, be manipulative. We may always try to justify things and struggle to have a balance between withholding or sharing all our thoughts. We may have become dependent on our perceived expectations of others, what they want. We may be loyal to others, yet not to us. Ironically, even if we receive our longed for approval, affirmation, validation, recognition, appreciation, praise, confirmation - important though it is, it may never be enough. If we become hooked on our need for approval or validation, we give others power over us, as if we give ourself away, selling us short, losing touch with what inspires us. To compensate for our need, we may have developed certain habits like excessive emailing, texting or internet chatting or other unhelpful addictions. Searching for direction, we may have become overly dependent on getting our "compass" bearings from others, struggling to trust our own readings. Seeking permission from others may inhibit giving permission to our self. Oversensitive, or basing our esteem only upon the responses of others, we may be over-reliant by holding on to what others say & how they respond. If we don't get the response we need, we may end up blaming ourselves, beating ourselves up, as if we are wrong or bad or prove our own unworthiness. This can also affect our esteem in relationships. The self-esteem counselling & confidence therapy may also explore what resources inside us we are in touch with and can develop, so we can utilise our personal boundaries and are less worried about how we are seen by others and are willing to be self-appreciative, grateful. We may have difficulties being in touch with our own free will, expressing this, preferring to follow others or external authorities, yet not always feel comfortable doing this, because it is not close to who we are. Being on our own path may be a need, as may listening, respecting to what we think about ourselves, being more physically connected to who we are in our own ground, opening our heart when other people aren't or can't be there for us. Some may be drawn to seeking a spiritual connection. Releasing ourselves from the burden of being dependent on others for our OK-ness - being ourselves and thriving may matter to us.
When the voice and the vision on the inside is more profound, and more clear and loud than all opinions on the outside, you've begun to master your life.John Demartini
Validating, Valuing, Appreciating, Affirming, Accepting Ourself - Giving What We Want From the moment we are born, we need validation and loving parents offer this consistently, validating their child's feelings, perceptions, interests, talents, gifts - their personal qualities related to their self-worth. Through our experience of being validated, valued, appreciated, affirmed, accepted by our parents this models how we can do this for ourself. Yet if our parents didn't provide them we may not know how to do this for ourself or become self-validating. (We may not even know that it is our responsibility to do so.) Judging ourself is opposite to validating ourself. And in order to validate ourself we may need to replace self-judgement with our kindness, valuing ourself, noticing, responding to our own inner child, feelings. For some people, the more we try to get approval, validation, etc., it still doesn't change our inner experience that nothing seems good enough and we may convert our thinking to believing we aren't good enough or end up procrastinating. Others, our family, supportive friends and community can be important support for us when they reach out, are compassionate. Yet we may also want to no longer abandon ourselves, be integral with our own support system, being compassionate, caring to ourselves, be resilient, have our own internal strength, validate ourself through loving actions so we are no longer dependent on others for our own happiness. An aspect of this self-validation may include being aware of our emotions without numbing, suppressing them, integrating all our feelings, validating the information our feelings are giving us, trusting this inner knowing, so we understand ourselves more, being grateful for our attributes, strengths, what we are proud of, any progress we've made, validating our intrinsic self-worth, so we have a sense of internal safety. In the therapy we may also need to explore what stops us - the part of us that is in resistance to our own self-validation. If what we want most is validation, approval, appreciation, attention, being valued by others, we can also give this to others (often opening up a doorway for also receiving these qualities back) and if not, we can feel OK anyway (even if we feel lonely, alone) because we are no longer reliant on others to do this for us. This process of initially giving what we need to ourself may also be true of love (see also Appreciation, Gratefulness & Gratitude - Our Challenges).
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Unhelpful Self-Beliefs A belief can be viewed as a thought we keep practicing... Our self-talk, sometimes called "inner chatter" - the voices in our head, may run on the lines of: "Others are better or more successful than me, they know things and I don't", "I better not try this, I might fail, make a mistake or get it wrong", "I'll stay in my cocoon", "I might upset someone or get uncomfortable", "What would they think", "You are rubbish", "You are nothing", "Who do you think you are?", "You don't deserve ..." or "It won't make a difference, what's the point?", "Just get on with it" (see also The "Should", "Shouldn't", "Ought", "Must", "Never", "Always" Beliefs). We may tell ourselves we are unlovable. These repeated voices acting as our inner judge or selfcritic, can be an attempt to create safety (e.g. by not taking any risks). Trapped in being ashamed or sorry for us, our negative selftalk can reinforce a negative selfimage & low self-esteem. When our esteem, confidence is low, we may have an additional set of unhelpful self-beliefs. Some unhelpful beliefs can remain inside of us (e.g. that we will fail), contaminating & controlling how we are. We may for example believe we are unacceptable or unlovable, unworthy of love, devaluing who we are now. We may be holding onto beliefs from our wounded place or holding on to unhelpful expectations, rationalisations (often of how things should be). We can feel false, a fraud, a fake, as if we are an impostor, believing "I mustn't expose myself, otherwise I will be found out" or "I must adapt at all costs". Seeking an illusion of external safety we can believe we are bad, unacceptable or unlovable (confusing love for approval), questioning how anyone can love or even like us, compounded by our need to control others, outcomes, our partner. And when we believe we are bad inside, so too may all our thoughts, feelings, beliefs be bad. Coming from this place we may believe we have to play at being good - "knowing" from this bad place it is an act. Nothing can be right for us, we don't deserve any good, and if our good points, qualities are seen, acknowledged, we may believe we are conning others. How we measure success may also affect us. We can ensure that our inner fears of not being good enough, get reconfirmed in our interactions with other people and affect the weighting we put on things. When we are convinced that nobody likes us, it is usually a signal that we need to like ourselves. We can sink into selfpity. Some of us may have a masochistic lifestyle, suspicious & mistrusting others, believing we have to do everything on our own. We may have allowed incidents & memories from the past to shape us more than we want to. Somehow believing that we shouldn't be self-conscious, we may have got into a habit of boycotting any good thoughts, which can tarnish our beliefs about who we are, affecting our centredness, groundedness. Counselling & psychotherapy can explore further the nature of our self-beliefs, perceptions & attitude, our self-judgement and whether we want to bring them up to date, transform them, be in touch with our home truths. (See also Limiting Beliefs, Mindsets)
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Believing We Are No Good, Not Good Enough Disappointed, our very identity can be caught in the belief that we are no good, not enough (often stemming back from our childhood, affecting the source of our relating style, attachment patterns now - see also Our Painbody). Once we start saying negative things to ourself, we tend to believe that others too have negative thoughts about us without any real evidence. We can become too self-critical, believe we are wrong, should be more this, less that and overly dependent on worrying what others think (believing that what we say has little value), seeking approval, validation & reassurance from others. Not liking ourself, we may have a strong need to be liked, yet at the same time afraid we might be exposed somehow, as if we might be seen as a fraud or weak. Wanting to be liked by everybody may put demands on us, so we worry what others might say, even if what we think & say is true for us. We may have ended up not only basing our sense of worth on what others think, but also believing that failure erodes our intrinsic worth. We may also believe that we should know everything, and struggle to let ourselves off the hook - see Tolerating Not Knowing - Our Need To Be In Control. Inside our head, we may believe that others know what we want. Our sensitivities may be overly precious to us. We can define our worth based on our body or looks, overlooking our inner qualities or ability to love. In our insecurity we may perceive ourselves as unlovable, inadequate, so paradoxically, if we don't feel good about ourself, we can end up at times diminishing our own esteem as if to prove, reinforce this belief. And feeling we are not good enough we may fear rejection, abandonment - make ourself rejectable. The self-esteem therapy and confidence counselling can take into consideration experiences of being rejected or unappreciated when younger, where we are still sensitive to remarks now and review the ways we see ourself & the world, looking at other possible perspectives & actions, how we make decisions & conclusions, trusting who we are and the world around us, explore the false beliefs about not being good enough, evaluating how good our efforts need to be, paying attention to our strengths & qualities and improving our skills when we need to.
Beliefs About The World Filling our time up with worry, we may have certain views, e.g. that the world as threatening, that we always have to defend ourselves against other people. The counselling can explore our views about the world.
Believing In Ourselves We may tell ourselves "I'll be all right when..." Having resilience, gaining confidence, trusting our innateness, believing in our self - all of who we are, our value and worth, accepting ourselves may be important to us.
Life is trying things to see if they work.Ray Bradbury
Shyness Shyness (unlike our sensitivity) is viewed as learnt behaviour. We may feel like an outsider, invisible at times with others. And how to overcome shyness so we no longer become like a shrinking violet may be a concern for us. If the truth be told, many of us have a shy or timid part to us, rendering us emotionally insecure at times. Yet being shy for some of us can be so painful & limiting in our relationships, work & social activities (see also Social Anxiety Or Social Phobia). It can be as if a part of us would like to be noticed and another part of us can't bear this. And much of our excitement, passion, joy is suppressed (we may also be living a sort of phony shyness - see also Caught in our own narcissism we may tend to be more covert). Self-esteem counselling & confidence therapy can offer support with overcoming shyness, which may also point to ways we need to be comfortable with our introvertness, vulnerability. (See also Our Sensitivities - Pushing Each Other's Buttons)
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Approaching Challenges Fear of failure or success, overly worrying about the outcome or what people think of us, can inhibit our approach to new challenges. We may define our worth by our performance or the outcome, rather than our effort or ability to be in the moment, relax & enjoy something (including our own company & that of others), without constantly believing we are missing out on something. Bearing life's sufferings, our hurt & pain, finding our own ways through uncomfortable feelings may be important for us. Picking ourself up after setbacks may also be important. When life presents us with challenges, we can retreat or welcome them, so we grow & learn from the experiences, especially when these challenges stretch us, take us out of our comfort zone, enable us to gain more skills, insights, building self-confidence.
You may have a fresh start at any moment you choose, for this thing that we call 'failure'Mary Pickford
is not the falling down, but the staying down.
How Counselling & Psychotherapy Can Help We may be seeking faith in ourself, to have the courage to make decisions, act, be more assertive & visible in the world, manage our anxiety. In the confidence counselling we will look how we can improve self-confidence, increasing & building self-esteem, developing a healthy inner life, so we are freer to live, more from the centre of our being. This may include coming to terms with our fears, attending to all our feelings, validating the information they are giving us, exploring our willingness to take some risks in our life - trying things we maybe haven't tried before, transforming our selfbeliefs and bulding a healthy relationship with ourself. We may work with how to embrace change, stepping outside of what is familiar, rather than shy away from it. The counselling may also look at how we evaluate our experiences in each moment, and how we see ourself overall - the relationship we have with ourself. Despite our age it may be as if part of us hasn't quite grown up. The confidence counselling & self-esteem therapy may gently challenge any selfdamaging ways we become defeated, extremely fatalistic, put ourself down, limiting our intrinsic worth or self-esteem, so we are in our own authority, not beholden to others yet are in supportive relationships with others, sharing empathy. The confidence therapy & self-esteem counselling may include how we can access more of our own resources, creativity & ways we can appreciate, validate, support, assert, accept, value, trust and take care of ourself, feel substantial, so we don't diminish or sell ourself short, more able to freely live from our centre, anchored, in our own ground, be resilient, creative without being so overwhelmed.
Forgiveness is choosing to love. It is the first skill of self-giving love.Mahatma Gandhi
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Being Critical Criticism can be healthy when it helps us gain awareness, learn & recover from our failures, and release our potential. Yet being criticised by others can often be an attempt by them to control our behaviour, thoughts or feeIings, and this attempt demands our response. Also, when others criticise us in unhelpful ways, it can be discouraging. This is not only true for external criticism, but also for how we react when we criticise ourselves and become selfcritical, affecting our wellbeing. When self-critical, we may procrastinate more. Stress can fuel our negative, critical voices, as can loneliness, boredom, making a mistake, rejection. All that negativity (maybe living in our painbody) can be draining and we can get easily tired, fatigued, exhausted. In both cases this triggers our fight-flight-freeze mechanism.
- Fight reaction is a rebellious act against anything which constricts us, like our own selfcriticism. We fight off our inner criticism through our rebellious ways, regardless of the consequences.
- Flight reaction means we withdraw & generally withhold, immersing into activities such as work, superficial relationships, alcohol, drugs or food for comfort. We often experience low moods or feel depressed.
- Freeze reaction is as if something inside of us collapses as we immerse into guilt, shame, doubt, depression, defeat, exhaustion.
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Being Our Own Self-Critic Our self-criticism can be useful & necessary - be our survival mechanism, keep us safe, protecting us from further danger. Yet some of us can be our own worst critic - reproaching, persecuting or bullying ourself internally (maybe pleasing others on the outside). Sensitive to criticism, when we are criticising ourselves, we are putting us under internal attack, and we can automatically end up believing that these critical messages are who we are, and not a critical part of us that is attacking us. This censorship reaction can happen so quickly that we are unaware of it. And the cycle continues. Everyone experiences self-criticism - those initially "outer" voices we have heard from others, parents, friends, etc, that we have now internalised into our "inner" critic. Each of us experiences our critical thoughts & beliefs differently. This critical side of us can be very subtle or like a harsh task master, judging us and others. We may foresee dire or bad consequences of thoughts or actions (often associated to our experiences & beliefs formed in the past). Fearing failure, we may have lots of (real or imagined) expectations, we can become easily disappointed, frustrated in us or others, especially is we have a perfectionist's streak. Usually when we are being pessimistic or overcritical of us, we also become self-critical, pessimistic & blaming of others. We all have faults, qualities, strengths, achievements, skills, and gracefully accepting them at times may be our challenge. The self-esteem therapy and confidence counselling can support us in letting go of what we need to let go of, being more forgiving, accepting & supportive of us and the world around us. The esteem counselling can also explore the validity of logic, pessimism & truth of what we are telling ourself, exploring whether our inner criticism is supportive or holding us back in taking action, becoming the person we want to be.
The "Should", "Shouldn't", "Ought", "Must", "Never", "Always" Beliefs We all have what is called our own "inner chatter" - the messages in our mind. Some of us may hear an "inner critic", often identified by a belief of how not only we but others in the world "should", "ought", "must", "never" or "always" be (see also Unhelpful Self-Beliefs). Often driven by our fears, this all-or-nothing voice inside of us tends to be attacking, harsh, mean, impatient, angry, belittling and righteous. We may be full of regrets - wishing things were different. It may tell us we are inadequate & a failure. Usually when we hear this voice, we feeI bad about us, weaker & smaller, fearful, unconfident & less powerful. As this "selftalk" grows we can withdraw, feel guilty, ashamed, apathetic, lethargic, depressed, aggressive, rebellious, defensive, forcing us to over-achieve. Unnourished, inside we may be wilting. (See also Our Expectations, Assumptions)
Our "Inner Chatter" Some of us would like to still the constant chatter in our mind, so we feel less under pressure. Closely linked to our anxiety, our selfcritical voice obsesses about the future - how inadequate we will be, and the past - how badly we have done. The judgement - a particular dominant, tyrannical voice, tends to be generalised and harsh about who we are and our capabilities (see also Healthy Side Of Doubt). Our selfcritic believes that they actually know what's wrong with us and why our life is doomed. This repetitious part of us offers familiar & harsh solutions & demands, e.g. "You need to work harder", "Stand up for yourself", "Be more assertive or loving". (See also What We Tell Ourselves - Internal Dialogue)
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The Negative, Judgemental, Critical Messages We Tell Ourself Often compounded by our moods, it can seem as if we have an "inner tyrant" - driving us at times. Internalising negative experiences from our past, we may continue to give ourselves negative, familiar messages now: "It's my fault", "I'm not allowed to feel good about myself, and if I do, I feel guilty", "I don't deserve...", "I am useless, stupid, weak, lazy, incompetent, not allowed, selfish, a loser, can't trust what I feel". Alongside feeling inadequate, self-loathing, guilt & shame may result. If these messages become incessant, we may struggle to listen, trust a deeper, inner voice, become frustrated, sad, feel hopeless, stuck in our shell. We may believe that others will leave, hate us if we say what we need (including in our relationship), stand up for ourself. In our relationships we may end up attracting rejection, because at some level we have rejected ourself. When we judge ourselves we create an inner pressure. The counselling & psychotherapy may explore our choices, whether to be critical or appreciative, what stops us valuing ourself, our differences (including our sensitivities, introvertness), without judging them. And when we judge, harshly criticise ourselves, we are likely to control, blame, criticise others, including our partner. Our self-compassion may be missing.
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Self-Judgement - Our Inner Judge We all need to have, make judgements (which is different from being judgemental). Judging & condemning ourselves, holding on to unhelpful self-beliefs can both mobilise & immobilise us and we can live our lives as if condemned. We may believe if we let go of self judgement, we would do nothing, lose our motivation. Being hard on ourself is a good thing we may tell ourselves and it may be we are doing well in aspects of our life in spite of our self-judgement, not due to it. The strategy we used for protection against pain of rejection, loneliness, grief and helplessness over others may have been self-judgement which can affect our self-worth, make us feel insecure or inadequate, fearful, anxious, , depressed, angry, empty, alone now. (And when growing up, others may have been hard on us, as a way of motivating us, and we may have absorbed their judgements, and become our own strict task-master now.) Some of us can tirelessly strive to prove ourself, others procrastinate. It can be as if every feeling we have has a judgement against it, blighting our life, when we wear these judgements as labels. Condemning, judging us and others is closely linked to our own self-critic. When we judge ourselves and others we usually don't feel good inside and convert our judgements to truth. We may end up holding back aspects of our personality & being in the world (often our creative & courageous parts) that don't please our selfcritic or "inner" judge. Never satisfied, always looking for problems in us or others we may worry about outcomes in the future, find it hard to relax. We may struggle to make mistakes without judging them or fear success. Having compassion for ourself, rather than the familiar self judgement, may actually support us in becoming more creative, productive. Confidence therapy & self-esteem counselling can help us with our selfjudgement, exploring any feelings we may be ignoring, so we don't have to put our self on trial so much in anxiety-inducing ways. The confidence therapy may also explore the connection between, our self-judgement, our wounded feelings & what we tell ourselves, including our guilt & shame and how our self-judgement, self-blame, the weighting we put on things and reasoning may erode our vitality, self-validation and free will.
Comparing Us With Others We all at times have tried to rate ourselves against others and sometimes this can spur us on (see also Competitiveness). And when we value us and others - noticing their good qualities, taking encouragement from others, this can enhance those same qualities in us. However, in discouraging ways, we may frequently try to rank ourself as better or worse than others, that they or we are somehow less, inadequate, inferior or superior and this can get played out in our relationship. Envy or jealousy (sometimes fuelled a social networking obsession) may also creep in, especially in our relationship where we can also compare our partner with others. Acceptance of us & others on our own journey may be in short supply. In our comparisons we make us worse off as we become defeated, which can become corrosive & self-destructive. Our comparison feeds our sense of inadequacy & emotional insecurity, stopping us from enjoying what we have, our accomplishments, our own uniqueness & value, and those of others. We can continuously worry about what others think & how we are perceived (we may also continuously compare our body with others), and in this comparison make our esteem dependent on others. Some of us can be very busy comparing us with others (maybe viewing social networking sites), wanting to take a leaf out of their book. We may often want to copy them. We may have a strong need to fit in, or to be accepted as a part of the group. Because we have become so self-critical, we may now have become over-reliant or dependent on others for approval, validation, recognition, appreciation, our selfimage & selfworth can be reduced to what they think or say. In our attempt to belong with others, we may have overlooked how to validate ourself. Confidence counselling & self-esteem therapy explores the processes of our selfcomparison, any internalised conflicts and how your own frame of reference becomes more internal than external, for what you know to be true about yourself. You may also want to have a healthy self-acceptance, sense of uniqueness, a way of accepting what is, alongside also accepting what is in our control and what isn't. This may also include acceptance of painful realities. Comparing and contrasting, it may be a further challenge to be genuinely happy for other people's success, appreciate, be proud of the work they have done & personal strengths, to take inspiration from them, get enthused by their achievements, success and be motivated for what we want to do in our own life, that wherever we are is just fine without measuring where we are in relationship to others, so the only consideration that has to do with us, is our own relationship to where we want to be so we focus on our own worth, what we want and how we get there. Claiming our own resourcefulness & creativity, courage & determination can help propel us forward in our own way. Valuing our originality - cherishing the uniqueness of who we are (and how we uniquely love and are loved), having compassion for us and others, finding & expressing our own voice, empowering ourselves (when we no longer spend time comparing us with others - or comparing previous moments), we have the potential to be more in the present moment, freer to develop our own creative processes & direct our life to our own choosing.
Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that,Mark Twain
but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.
Receiving Criticism Most of us don't relish criticism. Handling criticism can be challenging, especially in our relationship, marriage. (See also On The Receiving End Of Blame, Control, Criticism - Considerations in the relationship, marriage). We may lose confidence, become defensive, try to justify. We may respond to the tone of the criticism, yet miss the suggestions. None of us are perfect. Some criticism may be valid or contain useful suggestions. Taking a pause, calmly taking criticism constructively (not necessarily personally, as if we aren't liked or somehow not good enough) and using it as a suggestion to improve or even learn something about us, can be of value. Hearing negative comments about us isn't easy, yet if we can get past the negative tone, there may be parts of the criticism, which are helpful, and we can discard the rest, responding gracefully (see also What We, Others Observe - Giving, Receiving Feedback To & From Others, Our Partner).
Diminishing Creativity & Open Heart Censoring things or misinterpreting events around us, our creativity can dwindle, we can become cynical, struggle to be loving, responding from our heart, or reach out to others. We can struggle to be fully alive & present, as if we are replaying situations (or reconfirming outcomes), which happened a long time ago (for details see Impact Of Our Past). Some of us may have become like a victim, martyr or self-sacrificing in our relationship, struggle to shine or be fully ourselves.
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Blame & Criticism - Being Heard, Seen, Understood In Childhood We may be very reactive to being blamed by others, get angry, defensive. We may struggle to feel the helplessness and heartbreak of being unheard, unseen, unmet, unappreciated, misunderstood, in our relationship now. Growing up we may have felt blamed for things we were too young to understand or that didn't seem worthy of blame. We may have learnt to feel guilty and carry this with us now. It may have felt better to blame, judge, criticise ourself causing us to feel guilty rather than feel our helplessness over being unseen, unheard, misunderstood.
Self-Blame Our ego wounded self loves to blame, feels superior, in control yet it is our wounded self that is self-blaming, feels inferior. Our self-critic imposes rules on us and tells us off when we don't follow them. Beating ourselves up, we can punish ourselves emotionally, with self-blame, and also physically, e.g. taking solace in comfort eating or alcohol. We may try to please others, fix things, take responsibility for things, which we are not responsible for, become depressed. Learning to stop judging, blaming ourself, loving ourself, taking responsibility for our choices may be important.
Difficulties Letting In The Good Used to criticism (external & internal) we may have got into a habit of hearing everything as a criticism, yet it may not be so. FeeIing bad about ourself can be triggered when we receive kindness, compliments, praise, affection or love. Embarrassed, we may want to deny or get rid of the positive, because we are used to the negative. "Why make it easy for myself, when I can make it harder" may be our logic (see also Self-Sabotage, Destruction).
Appearance We may have allowed the image we have of ourselves to be determined by our inner criticism. Our "selfcritic" reveals itself in different ways, at different times. It may tell us how stupid, useless & hopeless we are, or how much better than everyone else we are. It tends to appear whenever we are vulnerable, tired, threatened & insecure about something. When we are adventurous, or creative the critic inside of us can appear to judge us poorly. It can also step in when things are going well for us, maybe responding with something like "Who do you think you are?"
Fear driven, our selfcritic or censor gets fixed on showing us how incapable we are in a dangerous world, and if we don't heed their fear driven warnings or follow their advice, dreadful things will happen to us. If we follow these powerful messages, our responses, thoughts & feelings become controlled by them.
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Transforming Our Fear A challenge for some can be to let go of the tight grip of their self-criticism, thrive more in the moment, inspire ourself and find their way through the fear, shame and putting ourselves down. The confidence therapy or self-esteem counselling can also assist in the integration of both the positive & negative messages we give to us, so we can overcome any shortcomings, weaknesses in order to reach our potential. Our challenge may be also to integrate other aspects of us, introduce different "selftalk", by learning to trust, feel safe yet take risks, rise to some challenges, overcoming fear, have selfcompassion. (See also Counselling For Fear, Psychotherapy For Fear)
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Emotionally Insecure, Self-esteem Help, Lack of Confidence, Lack of Self-Esteem
Emotional Insecurity, Inadequacy
Emotional Insecurity - What May Be Happening Inside "How to overcome insecurity?", "What do we do when waves of insecurity or physical feelings overwhelm us?" may be questions we ask. We all feel insecure (often reinforced by adversely comparing us with others), vulnerable, sensitive at times and mistake these qualities for insecurity. Our insecurities can stop us relaxing. Deep inside we may feel so insecure, perceiving us as unlovable, inadequate or worthless - a fraud inside. Some of us can feel nervous or uneasy, depressed, triggered by (rationally or irrationally). We may lack confidence in our own value, capability, struggling to trust us or others. We may become secretive, hiding things from others. When we feel insecure, we may be shy, believe things which aren't true & withdraw. Some of us may react very differently. We may become arrogant, aggressive or bullying. People with an outwardly "strong character", may have learnt to hide their deep, personal feelings, numbing them, losing our sense of vitality. In order to compensate the distress of our insecurity, we may become avoidant, controlling or a perfectionist, yet deep inside feel how we are or what we do isn't good enough. Having self-doubt, questioning if we are good enough, loved enough inside, we may fear failure or struggle to be real. Empty inside, our insecurity is likely to cause us a level of isolation, loneliness, immobilisation & powerlessness, often rooted from our childhood. Insecure, we may fret about our future, often waiting for something bad to happen, struggling to be where we're at in the moment. We may feel insecure about our body, achievements, need for approval, validation, things people say. We may also feel sexually unsafe. Insecurity needs a hook to hang itself on, where our buttons can get easily pressed (feeling overly sensitive), that we need to be insecure about something. And we can project our insecurities on others, the world. The insecurity we feel inside, we may take in to insecurity in our relationships, projecting onto our partner. Trusting our partner may be a further challenge & we may be in the grip of envy or jealousy. Owning and accepting our dependency needs may be important. The self-esteem counselling & confidence therapy can support us in being in touch with our own worth, supporting our sense of assuredness. Trusting who we are, including our insecurities (whose roots may be linked to our early bonding patterns), vulnerabilities, and the environment around us, so we get our sense of security from inside and strengthen the bond between ourselves and others, may be a challenge. Immersing ourself in our own activities may be important. Some of the insecurity we experience may be existential insecurity, natural in us all, which can't be "cured". Feeling centred, secure, grounded in our own body, may be important. Counselling & psychotherapy can support us in overcoming insecurities, being resilient, exploring ways we can feel at ease with ourself without making others responsible for our feelings. (See also Taking Charge Of Our Emotional Security, Our Dramas - Emotional Control)
Inadequate, Inadequacy When feeling insecure we may constrain our potential, the meanings we make, alongside our responses to others. Usually it is what we tell ourselves (or have been told), that makes us feel inadequate (see also Self-Criticism), e.g. we must be bad, inadequate or unworthy if:
- Someone doesn't like us, gets upset, angry with us
- We make a mistake, have failed with something, are not successful
- We are single, divorced
- We haven't got much money
- We've inadvertently said something that offends someone
- We are angry
- We are highly sensitive
- We are anxious or depressed
- We are guilty or ashamed
- We are empty, alone, lonely
- We are heartbroken
- We don't know what we want in our life
Our feelings of inadequacy, insecurity may go way back in our lives (see also Our First Relationship - Early Connections & Bonding Patterns) and we may have become dependent on needing validation, approval, affirmation, reassurance, confirmation, permission, recognition, appreciation, praise, attention, adoration, admiration, adulation, acceptance from others (see also The Images We Have Of Us, The Images We Like To Show To The World & Who We Are). The counselling for insecurity, inadequacy can be a space to explore our up and down emotions, whether these experiences are valid, irrational and how to overcome insecurity and feel more secure in our body alongside being in touch with our intrinsic self worth, pride.
The counselling & psychotherapy can be a space to see how else we can look at these beliefs, scenarios, the script, narrative, story, noticing our negative, judgemental messages we tell ourselves, exploring our own sense of autonomy, feeling centred, anchored, grounded. The therapy can also be used to explore how our self-judgements affect our feelings of insecurity (see also Expecting, Needing Our Partner Or The Relationship To Meet All Our Needs), inadequacy, so our shaky foundations for self-esteem are replaced by our own inner strength as we build a solid foundation of self-worth, safety and security.
Counselling London Psychotherapy, Avoiding Confrontations, Fear of Conflict, Afraid Of conflict, Counsellor London Psychotherapist
Avoiding Conflict, Fear of Confrontation
Having Awkward, Difficult Conversations Some of us may put off conversations which we believe will be difficult or awkward (see also Relating With Others, Friendships - Building, Strengthening & Deepening Relationships). Before we begin to worry about the conversation, we may want to consider how we can handle the conversation by being calm, at ease, knowing its purpose, the important point we want to get across or keeping our emotions and reactions under control. We may also want to explore how flexible we are in our role & style of communication, especially around conflict e.g. do we try to please, fix things or tend to rescue, be martyr-like. Being open to listening, learning, discussing, evaluating, deciding & responding in creative ways may support us, so we don't always avoid confrontation. (See also Assertiveness)
Fear Of Conflict Uncomfortable inside, we may not want to get upset or upset others (or ourself). We may still believe that if people argue or have conflict, that there is something wrong with the relationship. Yet even in good relationships there are different expectations, conflicts, disagreements & discussions. Conflict can also provide opportunities for issues to be aired, differences to be resolved, accepted and for us to learn something. Being afraid of confrontation, conflict, can hold us back. Whenever there is a potential for change, there can be internal conflict (within us) and external conflict (between us & others), and the confidence therapy or self-esteem counselling can look at what happens inside us, our options, actions & free will. Being different to others, having our own needs, can bring about conflict, disagreements & at times confrontation. Being liked may become more important than valuing ourself and saying what we want, how we feel. We may have tried to avoid confrontation at all costs - even to the cost of our self (for example we may try to overly please people or fix things, develop a codependent relationship), however sometimes disagreement or conflict are inevitable and this can prevent the relationship becoming stale, apathetic, stuck, stagnated (see also Having A Healthy Fight In The Relationship Or Marriage). How conflict is managed & our approach to others may be of importance. Often our fear of confrontation, and what it may lead to, can be out of proportion, as we imagine possible scenarios. Procrastinating, avoiding conflict, we may fear disagreements, others anger or our own, which may lead us to agreeing to things we actually don't - hiding speaking our truth. Our need for validation, approval, affirmation, reassurance, confirmation, permission, recognition, appreciation, praise, attention, adoration, admiration, acceptance may get in the way of saying what we really need to say. Lonely inside, not knowing how to be, we may fear or try to avoid any conflict, confrontation. Where there is conflict, being strong, resilient, with our own healthy boundaries for protection can support us. Afraid of conflict or confrontation, being assertive in our own way may be our challenge, as may not feeling like a victim, by taking full responsibility for conflict, empowering ourself - by seeing what we are doing that is not for our highest good and are able to change this, so we need not worry for others' part in the conflict. (See also Conflict In The Relationship Or Marriage)
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Conflict Responses When the conflict becomes intense or hurtful, unresolved & ongoing, this may point to fear of engulfment and our relationship style and how conflict is responded to rather than the conflict itself (see also Drama Triangle of Victim, Rescuer, Persecutor). How we respond to conflict, especially when frustrated or trying to get our own way (e.g. manipulation) may affect the outcome (see also Conflict In The Relationship Or Marriage). We may want to handle conflicts in productive & healthy ways, remain calm, defuse situations (shifting our awareness and connecting to what's happening in our body), know when to let go of things and recover from conflict without holding onto resentments, so we take responsibility for how we respond. Practically we may want to explore ways of powerfully transforming our responses, breaking down situations into small pieces. Knowing our own conflict style (developed by Thomas-Kilmann) - each with its own strengths & weaknesses, and that of others, so we can select the right approach and range of responses for each situation may support us. Standing up for ourselves, being willing to make contact, being centred, grounded, alongside being respectful, flexible, creative in how we respond to conflict in each situation may affect its resolution.
- Avoidant Some of us may prefer to avoid conflict no matter what, leaving others to have difficult conversations, go along with whatever is decided, yet inside feel powerless or angry. This avoidance style can sometimes be appropriate if the issue is unimportant, unwinnable or someone else is in a better position to address the situation. It can also help us avoid getting upset, having stressful situations. However once we continue to avoid conflict, small issues build up and we can also be seen as a pushover. (See also Avoidant Style Of Attachment/Relating (Becomes Dismissing Style Of Relating As An Adult) - Wanting A Relationship, Struggling To Find The "Right One")
- Accommodating Addressing the needs & concerns of others, putting our own behind theirs, can be useful when the issue is more important to others than us, or for the sake of the bigger picture. We may however expect others to also concede or reciprocate (often getting frustrated when they don't, leaving us feeling disrespected).
- Collaborating We may have a style, which tries to meet the needs of everyone, that acceptable options can be found. This can help us when bringing together different viewpoints, or there is a history of conflict, a situation is too complex for a simple solution & a desire to find a resolution becomes paramount. However, if there is a power imbalance, especially without the presence of a third party, this style may become ineffective.
- Compromising Similar to collaborations, this style may include trying to find a solution to meet everyone's needs, yet also means that each have to give up something, where trade offs occur. Yet whatever is offered may not be accepted, and other compromises may be necessary. This can be effective if what each person relinquishes is outweighed by the cost of the conflict continuing and can be helpful when negotiations have an equal power base or there is an impending deadline.
- Competing This style is often used when people come from a position of authority, power, expertise or have a strong personality, verbal skills, physical size or strength, using power-orientated strategies in order to support their position, get others on their side, by often becoming upset, demanding, aggressive or accusatory. An advantage of this style is that we may know what we want and are prepared to be assertive to get this. It can be a very functional style when decisions need to be made urgently or are unpopular, or for people who are behaving in selfish ways. However, often relationships can be strained and resentment can built up. When this power based way of interacting is overused, others can end up feeling controlled, disrespected. They may feel blamed, criticised and relationships be damaged. (See also Competitiveness)
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Counselling London Psychotherapy, Sincere Apologise or Over-apologise, Counsellor London Psychotherapist
Over-Apologising, Insincere Apologies Some of us may have got into the habit of beating ourself up when we apologise, automatically believing that we are to blame or feel sorry for ourselves - become like a victim. Others may apologise, yet not always mean it. We may have become over-apologetic, saying "Sorry" more often than we would like (maybe without much sincerity) as if we can't stop. Over-apologising may devalue ourself, lowering the impact & influence we have and can be experienced as manipulative behaviour. We may want to cut down our unnecessary apologies. Afraid of confrontation or any conflict, some of us may routinely say sorry & apologise, yet use it as a means of trying to control.
Expecting, Demanding An Apology - Other Ways Of Reconciliation If a person expects us to apologise, and we give it to them, regardless of whether we feel apologetic or that we have something to apologise for, then it can be as if we are trying to control how this person sees us. It is as if we have to give us up at the expense of feeling bad inside - what the other person feels about us overrides us being true to ourself. The other person may be happy receiving our apology, yet we may feel low or disappointed, with our integrity, sincerity compromised. Some of our need for apology may be connected to old wounds - triggers, hooks, buttons pressed now in our life, when we didn't receive an apology. Just because the other person hasn't said the words "I'm sorry", it doesn't necessarily mean they are not. They may choose other ways of demonstrating that they are sorry and have a need for reconciliation through their deeds rather than words. Being sensitive to this, open receiving this, can also be healing.
Avoiding Apologising All of us have struggled to say "sorry" at times... Needing to be right (including our relationship), some may need to blame someone else & avoid saying sorry at all costs. We may struggle with forgiveness & letting go. When we are wrong, our pride can stop us apologising and it may be hard to find the courage to accept any criticism, genuinely say "Sorry", apologise sincerely, yet when we do, taking responsibility for our future action and maybe offering constructive solutions, it may lighten our heart, free us from guilt or shame, enhance this relationship. Sometimes a face to face apology may be too challenging for us, impractical, and we may need to apologise over the phone or in writing. Some of us may want to consider willingly apologising to the other person in our mind, if we can't do it face to face. We may really not want to apologise or struggle to connect with the other person, yet often our very apology can make a connection.
Apologising Cleanly We all make mistakes and how we react to mistakes is in our hands. Most of us recognise it's important to apologise when appropriate and and not to repeat similar mistakes in future. We may say things which offend others, or they feel upset, and we may not have meant it. It may call upon our humility and compassion to accept our mistakes and acknowledge our flaws and shortcomings, being humble enough to accept the consequences. Taking responsibility, genuinely apologising for what we have done, said, how we came across, and reassuring others of our intentions, being kind, can also enable others to reciprocate, enhance the quality of our relationships. When we politely & assertively apologise because we feeI genuinely bad about something we did, we are respecting us and the other by acknowledging our poor behaviour or who we've hurt, and we tend to be more at ease with ourself, can feel healed. We haven't abandoned us to get approval or love. Confidence counselling & self-esteem therapy can consider these issues with you.
Apologising In Our Relationship, Marriage Saying "I'm sorry" and meaning it can be healing and reconciliatory, bringing us close together as a couple (and may also facilitate our partner to do the same). Some of us find it difficult to forgive or say "sorry" (especially if we need to be right) and others are always apologising (as a way of deflecting our guilty feelings) or maybe fearing conflict in a relationship, not wanting to upset our partner. We may use trying to apologise as a means to try to control our partner, get our way. Simply saying "I'm sorry" (yet continuing to repeat doing what we are sorry for, over and over again, lacking any remorse) may not enhance trust or forgiveness in our partner if we don't follow it through with demonstrating we are sorry by our kind deeds, future actions. The marriage counselling and relationship psychotherapy can look at the role of apologising in your relationship or marriage.
Counselling London Psychotherapy - Assertiveness Counselling Services - Counsellor London Camden Psychotherapist
Asserting Our Needs - What May Block Us We may feel like an outsider, invisible at times with others. We may find it hard to be in touch with or vocalise what we need in positive ways (see also Getting Our Basic Dependency Needs Met In A Healthy, Loving Relationship). We may see having needs as weak, become secretive, fear the consequences that we may be judged, rejected, and the counselling can explore these beliefs with you alongside any social anxiety we may experience. Anxious inside or fearing conflict or confrontation, constantly thinking of the consequences of saying something "wrong", self-hatred or shame may stop us and can be explored in the counselling for assertiveness. Standing up for ourselves now may also be important so we no longer limit our influence and effectiveness.
Our Assertiveness If we don't assert ourself, we become ineffective and end up not being the person we want to be, yet if we are too assertive, we may come across as aggressive, pushy, bossy. Some of us may not want to assert ourselves, believing "What's the point?" or struggle to manage our uncomfortable feeling if we don't get our way. We may have unhelpful beliefs about acceptable ways of interacting with others. These beliefs or communication styles can go back to experiences or messages from childhood (e.g. others may think we are selfish), which keep us unassertive. We may believe we can't be assertive without offending others in the process. We may end up being over-apologetic (see Apologising Cleanly) or fear upsetting others, our partner. We may be afraid of saying "No" to others, because we might hurt their feeIings, they might get angry or reject us. We may fear being alone, lonely inside. These beliefs may hold us back. We may also feel guilty when we say "No" or assert who we are, which compounds our assertiveness problem. Some of us may dig our heels in, become stubborn, withdrawn, go silent, as if these are our only options, rather than be clear & clean when we assert ourselves. Especially for those of us who are sensitive, we may want to feel more confident, develop our personal presence, be totally present, be who we are, letting others be who they are. We may want to get to know our personal boundaries, clearly setting them with others honestly & politely, respecting others' boundaries. Standing up for ourself without apologising for it, being centred, grounded, anchored, connected with our self, supports our assertiveness. We may want to assert ourself - express our feelings, thoughts, views confidently, clearly & respectfully, in controlled ways, without punishing, attacking or blaming, playing games, people pleasing or hoping the other person reads our mind. Reflecting on the situation first, understanding it may support us, so we can be more objective. We may struggle with our own style of being assertive, we may become aggressive, manipulative or passive aggressive. Having, holding respect for us & others we may want to maintain our own integrity as well as respecting others' integrity. We may want to both give and receive any negative feedback positively, warmly, say "No" comfortably, gently yet firmly, speak in calm & clear ways, with less stress & anxiety, confidently expressing our feelings, ideas & opinions, while respecting those of others. In our relationship it may be important to sensitively get our basic dependency needs met, speak our truth, ask for what we need without being pushy. In our relationship, marriage, if we always avoid disagreement and conflict, don't speak our mind or assert ourselves at times, the relationship, marriage may become stale, boring, lack emotional connection and resentment may build up. Sometimes having a healthy fight in the relationship, marriage can clean the air. (See also Avoiding Conflict, Fear of Confrontation)
Assertiveness - What Beliefs We Choose Familiar beliefs, expectations we hold on to are that:
- The problem will go away anyway
- That they should know what we feel, need or want
- It's not our role, responsibility to assert ourself
- We won't make a difference
- We will get a defensive response
- We can't refuse requests, even if they are unreasonable
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Assertiveness - Trying New Things, Finding, Speaking Our Own Voice It is challenging for most of us to cultivate the right level of assertiveness, striking a balance between not being assertive enough and being too assertive - to calmly, clearly, positively and politely express our feelings, opinions confidently, setting boundaries and expectations without offending others, to be ourself and allow others to be themselves. Confidence counselling & self-esteem therapy supports developing positive beliefs about assertiveness, being in our personal power, taking care of our needs, asking for what we need, standing up for & expressing who we are & what we want directly, honestly & clearly, and also being centred in our own ground. The therapy may also look at how we manage coming up against resistance or criticism from others, their uncaring or rejecting behaviour, so we can make our own imprints in life, belong. Expressing & learning to receive constructive criticism & anger may also empower us to make our own choices. Alternative responses to ones we usually adopt can also be a part of the assertiveness counselling, so we are able to assert ourselves in healthy ways. Trying new ways to be assertive, however small, may support us. Positive assertiveness training can also be offered, so we are more in touch with our emotions, values, opinions - ours and others where we find and express our own voice. The therapy may also explore the healthy side of being selfish, our values, conscience, integrity, what we believe, our willingness to change, flexible approaches towards asserting ourself, alongside how we relate with others. In our relationship some of us can feel like a victim, rescuer or persecutor in our relationship or marriage, and we may want to be congruent, choose to speak our own truth, express our needs, which can also be included in the assertiveness counselling & confidence therapy.
Questions About Counselling For Self-Confidence, Self Esteem, Insecurity, Assertiveness We may be holding inside lots of questions, like:
- Develop self-confidence - what is confidence and what is self-confidence and am I stuck with low self-confidence, low confidence?
- Confidence building - how to build confidence? Lack of confidence - how to improve confidence? How to increase confidence?
- Develop self-esteem - what is esteem and what is self-esteem?
- Increase self-esteem - what is low self-esteem and am I stuck with low esteem?
- What is self-esteem help
- Build self-esteem - How can I build my esteem? How to boost self-esteem?
- What is insecurity?
- How to overcome insecurity?
- Is overcoming insecurity possible?
- What is assertiveness?
- What is an inferiority complex?
- How do I overcome self-doubts?
- How do I stop doubting myself?
- What is self-esteem therapy, confidence therapy, confidence counselling?
- Is overcoming shyness possible?
- How to overcome shyness?
- Avoiding confrontation - Is avoiding confrontation, avoiding conflict a good thing?
- How do I avoid conflict?
- How do I avoid confrontation?
- How to overcome insecurities?