Ask the therapist: How can I improve my self-esteem?

In the “Consulting Therapist” series, I will answer all your questions about mental health and psychology. Whether you are struggling with a mental health condition, coping with anxiety about living conditions, or just seeking the insights of a therapist, you can submit a question. Please pay attention to my answers to your questions in the Healthy Mind newsletter every Thursday.

Our readers ask

I have been struggling with low self-esteem for a long time. Sometimes, I don’t think I have everything I need to succeed in life. But I know this attitude will not help. What should I do to start feeling better about myself?

Amy’s answer

You are smart and want to solve the problem of self-esteem. It takes effort to build a healthy self-awareness, and it may feel uncomfortable, but it’s worth it.

Create a healthy and supportive environment

Feeling bad about yourself can hinder your life. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to improve your self-esteem.

When we believe in something, we are constantly looking for evidence (and creating more evidence) to prove that our belief is correct. So if you think you are unworthy, you will see every mistake, misfortune, and rejection as evidence that you are not good enough.

When you succeed in something (such as winning an award), you may attribute it to “good luck” rather than attribute your efforts or skills to yourself. You may also inadvertently create an environment that reinforces your low self-esteem.

A 2018 study found that people with low self-esteem tend to be with people who devalue them. When others belittle them, their words are consistent with the views of people with low self-esteem. This gives them a distorted sense of comfort because they believe, “You see me as I see me.”

In addition, studies have found that people who feel bad about themselves are more likely to seek support through indirect methods, such as complaining, sulking, and complaining. These strategies increase the likelihood that others will not respond well, which reinforces their belief that no one cares and that they are not good enough.

Obviously, it is important to evaluate the people around you. Are you with those who subtly belittle you? Also look at your physical environment. Do you live in a messy, crowded space? Maybe a messy place makes you feel that you are not worth living in a neat environment.

Give priority to the people and things around you. These people and things will convey good enough information for you. It will feel uncomfortable at first, but as your self-esteem improves, it will become easier.


Changing your environment and the people around you can have a big impact on how you feel about yourself. Efforts to change your environment will help support your sense of self-worth.

Use positive and supportive self-talk

Monitor your conversation with yourself. If you repeatedly tell yourself, “This will never work” or “Everyone will laugh at me”, you will feel sorry for yourself.

When you find yourself being too critical of your chances of success or making negative predictions, stop and ask: “What would I say to a friend who has this idea?” Chances are, you might offer some compassion Words of encouragement. For some reason, it is easier to be kind to others than to be kind to yourself.

But self-compassion may be the key to helping you feel better about yourself. Respond to negative thoughts with friendlier and more compassionate statements, such as “You can do it! Do your best and look into the eyes of others!” Changing your inner dialogue can change your mindset over time , So your brain will begin to recognize that you are more capable and capable than you think.

Everything you need to know about self-esteem

Act as if you are confident

Changing your way of thinking is not always enough to change your deep-rooted beliefs and feelings about yourself. It is also important to change your behavior. A common treatment strategy is to “behave as if.” So in your case, it’s “behave as if you are confident”.

Ask yourself, “What would a confident person do now?” It may be as simple as shaking hands, introducing yourself, or voluntarily first.

When you act first, your feelings usually follow. Showing confidence will change your mindset and help you feel more confident in yourself.

Make sure that what you do can also help you feel good in the big picture. Try new things, meet different people, and challenge yourself in a healthy way. And remind yourself that you don’t have to wait until you are confident to go out and do it.

Consider talking to a therapist

If you are struggling to change on your own, consult a therapist. A mental health professional can help you solve the factors that affect your self-esteem and make you feel better. Feeling good about yourself is the key to achieving your maximum potential and living your best life.


Having a strong sense of self-esteem is important to your happiness. Take steps to ensure that your environment and people in your life help support your sense of self-worth. Treat yourself and encourage yourself as you would a close friend. In addition, even if you are not confident now, act with confidence.

Finally, consider discussing your self-esteem with a mental health professional. The therapist can help you resolve some of the thinking patterns that cause low self-esteem and develop new coping mechanisms that support positive self-awareness.

Get advice from the VigorTip Mind podcast

This episode of The VigorTip Mind Podcast, hosted by LCSW’s editor-in-chief and therapist Amy Morin, shares strategies that can help you learn to truly believe in yourself, including IT Cosmetics founder Jamie Kern Lima.

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