What is self-esteem?

The term self-esteem is used to describe a person’s overall sense of self-worth or personal value, in other words, how much you appreciate and like yourself. It involves a variety of beliefs about yourself, such as the appraisal of your own appearance, beliefs, emotions, and behaviours.

Various factors believed to influence our self-esteem include:

  • Genetics
  • Personality
  • Life experiences
  • Age
  • Health
  • Thoughts
  • Social circumstances
  • The reactions of others
  • Comparing the self to others

An important note is that self-esteem is not fixed, it is malleable and measurable, meaning we can test for and improve upon it.

Range of self-esteem

Self-esteem tends to fluctuate over time depending on your circumstances. It’s normal to go through times when you feel down about yourself and times when you feel good about yourself. Generally, however, self-esteem stays in a range that reflects how you feel about yourself overall, and increases slightly with age.

  • Low self-esteem. When you have low or negative self-esteem, you put little value on your opinions and ideas. You focus on your perceived weaknesses and faults and give scant credit to your skills and assets. You believe that others are more capable or successful. You might have difficulty accepting positive feedback. You might fear failure, which can hold you back from succeeding at work or school.
  • Healthy self-esteem. When you have healthy self-esteem it means you have a balanced, accurate view of yourself. For instance, you have a good opinion of your abilities but recognise your flaws.

Why is self-esteem important?

Believing in yourself and your abilities (having high self-esteem) will enable you to live your life in the fullest way possible. Freed of crippling self-doubts you will feel able to take on new challenges and develop yourself to become the best version of yourself. As self esteem increases criticism will loosen its hold and stress will become more manageable. You will also be able to express yourself in an assertive and clear manner and form healthier relationships.

Causes of low self-esteem

Everyone will have different things in their life that affect self-esteem. For some people, self-esteem changes suddenly (for example after a stressful life event) while for others, low self-esteem may be something they’ve lived with for a long time.

You may have experienced authority figures who were disapproving. Being criticised a lot in childhood can lead you to form the opinion that you’re ‘not good enough’. Being bullied  can have a lasting impact on your sense of self-esteem, long after the bullying stops.

Other life events that can affect your self-esteem include:

  • experiencing abuse
  • ongoing stress
  • difficulties at work/school
  • body image worries
  • financial problems
  • difficulty finding work
  • losing your job
  • physical health problems
  • mental health problems

How online therapy can help self-esteem

Building self-esteem and navigating the mental health implications can be difficult to do alone. Working with an online counsellor or psychotherapist can help you understand where your opinion of yourself stems from and how to challenge limiting beliefs. Developing more awareness of your personal history and how this impacts who can also be helpful. Your online counsellor can also help you to let go of the self-blame that often comes with negative thoughts.

No-Obligation discussion

Free initial telephone discussion

If you are looking for online therapy please contact Teresa Lewis for a 15 minute noobligation discussion. Teresa is a BACP Senior Accredited Counsellor and Psychotherapist so she will be able to briefly discuss your issues, answer questions and explain more about how online therapy can help address self-esteem issues.  At this time you can decide whether you would like to book an appointment. The discussion is conducted without any obligation to book an appointment.

Make an appointment for online therapy

If you would like to speak to one of our therapists regarding online therapy for relationship issues please call our Wolverhampton office on 01902 827808.  Alternatively, fill out our online contact form and we will contact you within 24 hours.


Medical disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice by a qualified doctor.