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Self Esteem Issues

Self esteem is the degree to which one values oneself. Self esteem is a by-product of a balanced life rather than an end in itself. Low self esteem is a feeling which is experienced by most people at some time. The feeling of low self esteem can last for different lengths of time in different people. Low self esteem can happen when I do not or cannot fully recognise my own value as a person.


Low self esteem can feel like not being 'good enough' in a situation, particularly if Im faced by rejection, judgement or criticism from others. Sometimes I also feel 'not good enough' even if things are going well.

How would I know if I have low self esteem?

The signs of low self esteem are different in different people. They could include some of the following:

  • Not feeling good enough

  • Not feeling likeable

  • Not feeling successful

  • Feeling anxious, tense or unhappy

  • Comparing self negatively to others

  • Feeling powerless

  • Needing lots of reassurance

  • Being easily influenced by others

  • Being withdrawn or uncommunicative

  • Being over-sensitive

  • Blaming others for my own problems or failures

How can I improve my self esteem?

By identifying and re evaluating negative self-beliefs. A person with low self esteem is active in interpreting reality in ways which lead to feelings of low self-worth.

By developing coping strategies for dealing with situations which lead to feeling 'not good enough'.

By engaging with humour

By developing wider interests. Get involved in an activity that takes the focus away from yourself.

Learn relationship techniques to develop objectivity

Set manageable goals. Write them down and decide on steps you need to take to achieve these goals.

Exercise well, eat well and rest well.


Talking to a counsellor/therapist provides the opportunity to explore these ways of working to increase self esteem.

Some benefits of high self esteem.

A person with high self esteem could experience some of the following:

  • Self acceptance, the ability to accept and live with personal strengths and weaknesses

  • Coming to terms with past behaviours

  • Feeling likeable

  • Having a strong sense of self and of personal belonging

  • Being able to act independently and take responsibility for ones own actions

  • Feeling confident and empowered

  • Being relaxed and able to manage stress

  • Being able to communicate their feelings

  • Being able to ask others for help when necessary

  • Feeling happy and having a good sense of humour

  • Feeling proud of personal accomplishments, big or small


** With thanks to UCC Student Counselling and Development

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