Self Esteem

Self Esteem2019-03-06T04:08:53+11:00

The importance of healthy self-esteem

Self-esteem is your opinion of yourself. So, someone with low self-esteem is unhappy and unsatisfied with themselves most of the time. A person with low self-esteem tends to speak to themselves in critical and harsh ways and has a negative self-image. Self-esteem influences all aspects of our lives since our self-image determines our faith in our own abilities, our confidence and resilience. This can make it very difficult for a person to make decisions and persist in the face of adversity. Low self-esteem can be improved but it takes attention and daily practice from the affected individual.


Some signs you may be struggling with low self-esteem are:

  • Being extremely critical of yourself
  • Focusing on your negatives and ignoring the positives
  • Thinking that other people are better than you
  • Ignoring compliments or not believe them
  • Feeling hypersensitive and are easily ‘wounded’ by others
  • Being withdrawn, quiet or shy
  • Describing yourself negatively
  • Blaming yourself when something goes wrong, even if it is out of your control
  • Feeling isolated socially or withdrawing from social situations
  • Experiencing fatigue, insomnia or headaches


There are many contributing factors in an individual’s life that can cause low self-esteem. Most often, low self-esteem is caused by stressful periods in a person’s life or due to unexpected events or changes. Other causes are:

  • An underlying mental illness
  • Stressful life events
  • Unhappy childhood where parents were very critical
  • Experiencing bullying e.g from a partner, carer, friend or work colleague
  • Struggling at work, school, with finances, or with parenting
  • Ongoing medical problems such as a physical disability or serious illness

This TEDEd Talk gives an interesting insight in to an individual’s self-esteem and what factors can cause low self-esteem:

Strategies to boost self-esteem

There are several simple strategies you can practice to promote healthy self-esteem and build confidence

  • Talk to yourself in a positive way – treat yourself as you would a good friend. Acknowledge the positives about yourself, be supportive and kind.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others – understand that everyone is different and make an effort to accept yourself for who you are
  • Challenge your negative thinking – reflect on your negative thoughts about yourself objectively, even discuss them with a friend. You’ll likely find that most of these negative thoughts are unfounded.
  • Get active – Not only is exercise good for your body, it can be very beneficial for your mental health and wellbeing too.
  • Surround yourself with good friends – don’t hang around people who bring you down, it can be very damaging to how you see yourself.

How our practitioners can help

At the ACT of Living, we use a variety of evidence based psychological therapies to treat low self-esteem. These therapies include, but are not limited to, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and positive psychology. Often a combination of techniques works best for our clients. We can help you identify patterns in your thinking and challenge your current thoughts about yourself. We also use strategies to build assertiveness, self-confidence and resilience. We will help you to gain an awareness of your own strengths to allow you to build the satisfying and rewarding life you deserve.

Our Self Esteem Practitioners

Nicole Lockwood

Psychology Intern

About Nicole Nicole is a Provisional Psychologist with a strong people focus and a love of communication, mindfulness and engagement. She enjoys finding connection, developing rapport and establishing warm, collaborative working relationships with clients to explore and discover ways to incorporate vitality and meaning in alignment with their values in everyday life. Nicole’s person-centered approach…

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Deborah Hart

ACT Therapist, Counsellor and Coach

Who am I? I have spent the first three decades of my working life as a professional horn player with orchestras around Australia and The Netherlands. Most of that time I struggled to consistently produce my best under the constant pressure of performing at the elite level. That experience made me curious about why humans…

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Dayana Noor


About Dayana Dayana is a Registered Psychologist with the Psychologist Board of Australia. She is also a full member of the Australian Psychological Society and a member of the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science. She holds a Master of Psychology (Counselling), a Post-graduate Diploma in Psychology, a Bachelor of Science (Psychology) and a Diploma in…

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Patch Callahan

Clinical Psychologist

About Patch Patch has been working as a clinical psychologist since 2010 in public youth mental health, child/developmental, health psychology, headspace, and hospital-based outpatient group therapy. He has trained in and worked with a range of evidence-based therapies, however, his passion, both personally and professionally, is with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. It is extremely important…

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