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  • Writer's pictureJasmine Wilson, LCSW

Transformative Self-Compassion Practices for Overcoming Low Self-Esteem

On our journey through life, how we feel about ourselves affects how we navigate the world. This feeling, often called self-esteem, plays a significant role in shaping our mental well-being. Simply put, self-esteem is like a mirror reflecting our self-worth – how much we value and believe in ourselves. When our self-esteem is high, it acts as a guiding light, boosting our confidence and helping us face challenges more efficiently. However, when it's low, it can cast shadows on our thoughts and emotions, making it harder to see our strengths. This blog aims to shed light on the issues behind low self-esteem and examine a powerful tool—self-compassion— that can transform how we see and treat ourselves.

If you're struggling with low self-esteem, Therapy for Self-Esteem in Brea, CA at Adaptive Resolutions Counseling Services, with an experienced self-esteem therapist, can provide personalized approaches to help you build confidence and self-worth.

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Understanding Low Self-Esteem

Life has a way of throwing challenges our way, and it's normal to have moments of self-doubt. However, when these moments start to become more frequent and intense, it might be a signal that we’re struggling with low self-esteem. Low self-esteem can sneak into our thoughts. This makes us believe we're not good enough, worry about what others think, or question our abilities. Those who have low self-esteem might notice that: they are overly critical and judgmental of themselves; they struggle to keep up with self-care and wellness routines; they avoid challenges or social situations, almost like trying to shield themselves from potential failure or embarrassment; or they seek validation or reassurance to feel better about themselves.

Low self-esteem can also lead to physical symptoms, too. These include changes in sleep patterns or energy levels. These can affect our ability to manage stress and healthily manage our thoughts, feelings, and emotions. What causes low self-esteem? There are various internal and external factors, with early childhood experiences playing a central role. Experiencing criticism, abuse, or neglect, especially from important attachment figures like our parents, is one of the most impactful factors contributing to low self-esteem. As we carry the emotional and mental weight of our past experiences, it shapes how we see ourselves. It also in turn affects how we show up in our day-to-day lives, work, relationships, etc.

The Role of Self-Compassion in Addressing Low Self-Esteem

Now, imagine having an unconditionally loving supportive friend by your side when you’re at your lowest – that’s what self-compassion is. When faced with a mistake or setback, instead of being overly critical, self-compassion helps you respond with gentleness. While acknowledging that everyone messes up and faces challenges – you're not alone in that. It's extending yourself the same comfort and support you'd readily give to a friend going through a tough time. Embracing self-compassion is like having a reliable ally to counter those moments of self-doubt and criticism. So, when that inner voice starts criticizing or doubting, self-compassion speaks up. It says, "Hey, it's okay to make mistakes; everyone does. You're still growing and learning." This supportive approach helps soften the blows of self-criticism. It also lifts the weight of unrealistic expectations that often fuel low self-esteem.

Breaking Down Misconceptions about Self-Compassion

Practicing self-compassion doesn't mean excusing your mistakes or avoiding responsibility. Instead, it's about facing challenges with a mindset of understanding and kindness. It's a tool that empowers you to learn from your experiences without the heavy burden of self-blame. By being a friend to yourself in these moments, self-compassion becomes a powerful tool in reshaping how you perceive and value who you are. This creates a positive shift in your overall well-being.

The Power of Self-Compassion

While self-esteem relies on how much you value yourself based on external factors, self-compassion is an internal source of support. It's like having a built-in cheering section that doesn't depend on achievements or others' opinions to feel good. This matters because, in tough times, relying on internal strength rather than external validation can make a significant difference in your emotional well-being. It can also help cultivate emotional resiliency (or in non fancy terms, your ability to cope with stress). When you're kind to yourself, it creates a positive mindset that fosters resilience, making it easier to navigate life's ups and downs.

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Transformative Self-Compassion Practices

Now that we’ve explored some of the key differences between self-esteem and self-compassion and the benefits of practicing self-compassion, let's dive into some practical and powerful ways to make self-compassion a part of your daily life, whether through Therapy for Self-Esteem in La Mirada, CA or on your own.

1.      Mindful Self-Awareness

Picture mindfulness as a mental exercise for staying in the present moment. It's about being aware of your thoughts and feelings without getting lost in them. In practicing mindfulness, you’re essentially taking a flashlight inward to help you see and understand what's going on inside your mind and body, including your thoughts, bodily sensations, and emotions.

Practical tips for incorporating mindfulness into daily life

You can start by taking a few minutes each day to focus on your breath or observe your surroundings without judgment. Try mindfully setting your intentions for the day as you start your morning or taking a few minutes before bed to reflect on how your day went. And if it helps, try scheduling a time to practice mindfulness so you’re incorporating it into your day.


2.      Rewriting Your Inner Dialogue and Negative Self-Talk

Your inner dialogue consists of all the thoughts you have with and about yourself. Negative self-talk is when that conversation becomes harsh or critical.

Strategies for changing how you relate to your thoughts

Our thoughts create our experience and reality, and therefore, affect our mood and how we feel. Practice noticing your thoughts without being flooded by them and getting hooked by the emotions they bring up. Take a minute or two to picture your thoughts as leaves floating down a stream or words floating on clouds in the sky. By acknowledging their presence without getting entangled, you can create distance and defuse their impact on your emotions.

3.      Embracing Imperfection

We all have parts of ourselves that we don’t like, feel insecure about, or that make us feel flawed. Being imperfect and feeling inadequate about our shortcomings is a part of the human experience. Learning to embrace imperfection is like appreciating the quirks and qualities that make you who you are.

Reflecting on imperfections through writing

Take a moment to write down what makes you feel insecure – whether it’s your appearance, life circumstances, or relationships, etc. Reflect on how this makes you feel, and then imagine what an unconditionally loving friend would say to you about these things from a nonjudgmental and compassionate perspective. Try speaking to yourself in this way with unconditional positive regard when you notice your harsh inner critic showing up.

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4.      Gratitude Reflection

Take a moment each day to reflect on the positive aspects of your life, no matter how small. This practice helps shift your focus from what you may be lacking to appreciating the present, which can help foster a sense of self-compassion through gratitude.

Daily acknowledgment of positives

When you wake up in the morning – before picking up your phone, checking emails, or going on social media – take a moment to identify three things you're grateful for. Being grateful shifts our mindset from one of judgment and negativity to openness and fulfillment, which makes way for us to be kinder and more compassionate with ourselves.

Cultivate Self-Compassion for your Low Self-Esteem through Therapy for Self-Esteem in La Mirada, CA Today!

As you begin incorporating these practices into your daily life, keep in mind that developing self-compassion is a gradual process – much like building a skill or achieving a goal. In moments of doubt, imagine a supportive friend by your side, reminding you that you're capable, worthy, and deserving of self-compassion. The practices explored in this blog, from mindful self-awareness to embracing imperfection, equip us with tools to foster self-compassion and treat ourselves with the kindness we readily offer to others. As we uncovered in this blog, while self-esteem hinges on external factors and judgments, self-compassion is an internal wellspring of support that remains accessible to you even in the face of adversity.

Are you ready to start your journey towards a healthier self-esteem? Adaptive Resolutions Counseling Services is here to support you every step of the way through Therapy for Self-Esteem in Brea, CA. Take the first step towards a more compassionate relationship with yourself by following the steps below:

  1. Reach out to schedule a free consultation.

  2. Meet with me, Jasmine Wilson, LCSW, a compassionate self-esteem therapist.

  3. Create a lasting change in your self-esteem!

Other Therapy Services Offered at Adaptive Resolutions Counseling Services in Brea, La Mirada and Online Throughout CA + AZ

In addition to Therapy for Self-Esteem, my practice at Adaptive Resolutions Counseling Services offers a diverse range of services tailored to your unique needs. As a self-esteem therapist, I specialize in providing personalized approaches to support individuals through Therapy for Life Transitions and Therapy for Anxiety. Whether you opt for Individual Therapy or Group Therapy, my commitment is to assist you in enhancing your self-worth and confidence. Contact me today to learn more about my services. As well as how I can support you on your journey to improved self-esteem!

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