3 tips to improve self-esteem

Katie, one of my clients, was both confused and mortified by a colleague's reaction to what she thought was harmless teasing. It was Friday drinks at work, and Monica, the HR manager, was mingling around, trying to get people to interact. Katie described her as 28 years old, 5'6", slim (8 stone at most), and absolutely gorgeous.


However, as she often did, Monica started to complain about her weight to some of the female staff. Not knowing how to react, Katie joked and said that yes, she did look fat; in fact, she probably looked pregnant. To anyone who saw her, this was clearly a joke, but Monica seemed to see herself in a different way.

She took the joke quite badly, and her reaction on the day and subsequently was quite disproportionate to what was said. It didn't help that Monica worked in HR, and Katie needed the team's help with an ongoing issue with her manager. Katie could not wrap her head around what happened!

There are several themes here to unpick, but let's focus on Monica's view of herself. It is easy to see that Monica struggled with self-esteem. Even the slightest perception of a negative comment could deeply affect her. 

It's important to make a distinction between self-esteem and self-confidence here. Let's say Monica learned how to play tennis and salsa when she was five. She could be confident at playing tennis or dancing as an adult. However, how she views herself - including her physical self, her capabilities, success, and her self-worth - is what constitutes self-esteem. 

Low self-esteem could stem from several adverse childhood experiences, ranging from an abusive parent to being bullied at school, but what is the cure? Low self-esteem is unlikely to just go away on its own. Also, as we can see in this case, low self-esteem can have a profound impact on relationships, on your mood, on performance, and ultimately on your confidence even in the things you are good at.

While this is something a mental health professional can properly guide you with, there are many small things you can start doing right away to build on your self-esteem. Here are 3 to get you started on the journey.

1. Start by noticing your inner dialogue: Are you as harsh to yourself as those who hurt you? The next time you make a mistake, forget something, or even mess something up, don't allow yourself to berate yourself for it. Making mistakes is part of being human. Be kind to yourself, just as you want others to be. 

2. Become aware of conscious and subconscious comparisons: Noticing how many likes other people get on social media vs our own posts day after day can have a big impact on our self-esteem over time. Clients have told me how they feel inadequate because, no matter what they do, they can't get the number of likes other people get.

3. Stop seeking approval from others: Give yourself your approval, and you will soon notice the environment around you change. 

A hypnotherapist can further help you strengthen these positive suggestions or by helping you create new habits - whether being kind to yourself or reducing your use of social media - to help strengthen your self-esteem. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Hypnotherapy Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Richmond TW9
Written by Chinmai Gupta, BA, MSc, Dip Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy
Richmond TW9

Chinmai is a Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist. Her approach is deeply empathic and practical and she can help you to:

• Manage and overcome problems related to stress, anxiety, confidence and self-image
• Perform better
• Find your voice
• Improve your relationships
• Find happiness
• Manage fears and phobias

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