Self-esteem can be a fragile thing. It is the degree to which we feel confident, valuable, and worthy of respect and it exists on a continuum from high to low. Where our self-esteem falls on this spectrum can influence our overall well-being.

When we have high self-esteem, we often feel good about ourselves and our progress through life. With low self-esteem, we often feel shame and self-doubt and often spend a good deal of time criticizing ourselves. Low self-esteem is a symptom of several mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression.

We sometimes isolate because of doubt or fear of judgment or criticism from others. We draw from our life experiences and often focus only on the negative aspects of ourselves which, ultimately, affects our resilience, or ability to bounce back in the face of adversity. Thus, the negative self-talk provides an inaccurate overall view of who we are and the criticism directed toward the self only serves to exacerbate depression and anxiety.

We cope with low self-esteem in different ways, such as Imposter Syndrome, where we use accomplishments or false confidence to mask our insecurities and we fear failure might reveal our true, flawed self. To deal with this anxiety, we might procrastinate or use perfectionism. Sometimes, our feelings of inferiority can manifest as anger or blame. At other times, however, we are helpless in meeting challenges and use self-pity to avoid changing our situation. This is where we rely on others to save us or guide us.

Therapy in this area is designed to help us gain a more accurate perception of our strengths. Getting help to see how our thoughts and actions impact our self-esteem can help us reframe our feelings about who we are and inspire the change we wish to see.