You don’t have to have a diagnosis of clinical depression to have low self-esteem. Often times lacking self-worth can be at the core of why you are depressed, but many people just “deal” with their self-criticism without having other symptoms of depression. However, being harsh with yourself not only damages the relationship you have with yourself but often shows up in many areas of your life. Here are the ways low self-esteem can manifest:
- Trouble with assertiveness
- Staying in relationships that are unhealthy
- Passing up opportunities that are exciting
Many times, people feel like the way we relate to ourselves is fixed, just “the way we are.” I’m here to tell you that is simply not true. I would be out of a job if it were! You have learned to be critical of yourself through life experience. The good news is you can also unlearn those patterns and learn to be self-compassionate versus self-critical.
Much of my work is inspired by Dr. Kristin Neff, a psychologist who pioneered the research on self-compassion. You can learn more about the concept of self-compassion here: