Overcoming Low Self-Esteem, 1st Edition: A Self-Help Guide Using Cognitive Behavioral Techniques (Overcoming Books) eBook: Melanie Fennell. Overcoming Low Self-Esteem - Download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read Download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd Melanie J. V. Fennell . One of the most effective ways to overcome anxiety is to challenge the fears underpinning it. .. Overcoming Low Self Esteem: A Self-Help Guide Using Cognitive by Melanie Fennell soundofheaven.info soundofheaven.info
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Self-Esteem and Overcoming Low Self-Esteem Self-Help Course. She currently works as The right of Melanie J. V. Fennell to be identified as the author of this . OVERCOMING LOW SELF-ESTEEM. SELF-HELP PROGRAMME. A 3-part programme based on. Cognitive Behavioural Techniques. Melanie Fennell. Melanie Fennell's acclaimed and bestselling self-help guide will help you to understand your low self-esteem and break out of the vicious circle of distress.
Keep a sheet of paper or a notebook by you. Stand back and take a broader view. If so. And what about self-presentation posture. Once you know their stories. At the left-hand end would be found people who experience occasional moments of self-doubt.
And what about self-presentation posture. Does he or she. Look for clues in what your person says. And low self-esteem may be having a painful and damaging effect on your life. This will give you an opportunity to reflect on your own opinion of yourself. The Impact of Low Self-Esteem on the Person Negative beliefs about the self — which form the essence of low self-esteem — express themselves in many ways.
To get a sense of this. Now the question is: What is about them that tells you they have a problem in this area? Jot down as many things as you can think of that give the game away. Negative beliefs about yourself constitute the essence of low self-esteem. They may seem straightforward reflections of your identity. Thoughts and statements about the self.
You may still find ideas in this book that will interest you or open up avenues that you have not previously thought of. Look at what your person does. What happened? What did you talk about? How did your person look? What did they do? How did you feel with them? And this essence may have coloured and contaminated many aspects of your life. Remember recent times when you have met.
Personal relationships In their relationships with others. Low self-esteem can be an aspect of current problems Sometimes a negative view of the self is purely a product of current mood.
Your observations show how holding a central negative belief about oneself reverberates on all levels. Their belief is that. Variations in the Role and Status of Low Self-Esteem Not everyone is affected to the same extent by central negative beliefs about the self.
The impact of low self-esteem depends in part on its exact role in your life. Behaviour Low self-esteem is reflected in how a person acts in everyday situations. Self-care People with low self-esteem may not take proper care of themselves. People with low self-esteem may avoid any activity in which there is a risk of being judged art classes. Leisure activities How people spend their leisure time can also be affected. Some people adopt a policy of always being the life and soul of the party.
School and work There may be a consistent pattern of underperformance and avoidance of challenges. Look out too for small clues like a bowed posture. Negative beliefs about the self find expression in what people habitually say and think about themselves. Look out for self-criticism.
If you were observing yourself as you have just now observed another person. Look out for signs of sadness. Body state Emotional state is often reflected in uncomfortable body sensations.
What would be the telltale clues in your case? Consider how this may apply to you. These are the recognized signs of clinical depression: Low mood feeling consistently sad. Look out for telltale clues like difficulty in asserting needs or speaking out. This is true even for depressions which respond very well to antidepressant medication. Emotions Low self-esteem has an impact on emotional state. Look out for signs of fatigue. They may struggle on when they feel ill. People who are clinically depressed almost always see themselves in a very negative light.
People with low self-esteem find it hard to give themselves credit for their achievements. Enduring relationship difficulties. Their fears and their negative beliefs about themselves may be powerful enough to cause widespread disruption in how they go about their lives — opportunities missed. This is simply the way things are. If this is your situation. When people at this end of the scale have difficulties.
At the left-hand end would be found people who experience occasional moments of self-doubt. Long-standing anxiety problems. All of these difficulties may result in demoralization and loss of self-esteem. Successfully treating the depression could even restore your confidence in yourself without you needing to work extensively on self-esteem. If this is true for you.
You may also find it helpful to consult another book in this series. In this case. They might feel mildly apprehensive in a challenging situation. And unless the issue of low self-esteem is tackled directly. Research has shown that low self-esteem lasting negative beliefs about the self may contribute towards a range of difficulties. In addition to the negative perspective on the self triggered by challenges. Low self-esteem can be a vulnerability factor for other problems Sometimes low self-esteem.
People who learn to manage panic and anxiety. It may have been in place since childhood or adolescence. Variations in the Impact of Low Self-Esteem Whether low self-esteem is an aspect or consequence of other difficulties.
When people like this have difficulties in life. The slightest thing is enough to spark off a torrent of self-critical thoughts. Such people should find it relatively easy to isolate the situations in which they experienced self-doubt. If your current poor opinion of yourself started in the context of this kind of depression.
For them. Even then. It could also be worth your while to consult other titles in this series to see whether any of them address your problems directly. That said. At the other end of the scale would fall people whose self-doubt and self-condemnation were more or less constant. They may well find it easy overall to relate to other people. This point is illustrated on the following scale: Low Self-Esteem: Variations in Impact A person with low self-esteem might fall anywhere on this scale.
So it is hard to step back far enough to see things clearly. Difficulty concentrating. That is. The Approach: This is because it provides an easily grasped framework for understanding how the problem.
You will probably get most out of it if you set aside a certain amount of time every day say. The most common way of dealing with things that distress us is to talk to someone else about them. Throughout the book. A note of caution This book will not help everyone who has low self-esteem. Then go back and read the chapter more carefully.
It was first shown to be effective as a treatment for depression in the late s. Since then. If you find that focusing on selfesteem is actually making you feel worse instead of helping you to see clearly and think constructively about how to change things for the better.
This is undoubtedly a real commitment. The key things are: Keeping an open mind Being willing to experiment with new ideas and skills Being willing to invest time and effort in regular self-observation and practice.
This is especially true if you find yourself becoming depressed in the way that was described earlier. You may decide to skip quickly through it. It is intended to help you to understand the origins of your poor opinion of yourself.
If you feel comfortable with the approach described in the book. If you do decide to work through the book systematically. You may be able to help each other out. This book may have limited relevance for people falling right at the left-hand end. Cognitive behavior therapy is an ideal approach for low self-esteem. It takes the time it takes — and you are worth it. You can use this overview to notice stories and examples that ring bells for you. Or you may be someone who is plagued by self-criticism and finds it hard to think of anything good about yourself.
It is an evidence-based approach with a solid foundation in psychological theory and clinical research. You may also find it helpful to work through the book with a friend. How to Use This Book You may be a person who is generally self-confident but suffers from occasional moments of self-doubt in particularly challenging situations.
You will find other books in this series dealing with some of these problems. The chances are. Sometimes a book is not enough.
Two heads are often better than one. If so. Do not move on to the next chapter until you feel you have got a good grasp of the change methods introduced — a sense that you understand what they are and how to use them.
There is nothing shameful about seeking psychological help — any more than there is anything shameful about taking your car to a garage if it is not running properly. It could. You will learn how to use close self-observation as a basis for introducing changes designed to help you to challenge your negative sense of yourself and to develop a new.
If you rush on. For those who fall at the far right-hand end of the scale. Most of us fall somewhere between these two extremes. We need to see someone professionally trained to help people in distress — a doctor. Its main use will be for the people who fall in the broad middle area of the continuum — people whose low self-esteem is problematic enough for them to wish to do something about it.
Or you may decide. It means taking your journey towards self-knowledge and self-acceptance with the help of a concerned and friendly guide.
Whatever the intensity and breadth of impact of your particular brand of low self-esteem. Exactly how you use the book will be up to you. Seeking help means opening a door to the possibility of a different future.
There are lots of practical exercises and record sheets. You do not have to believe that this book will revolutionize your life and make a new person of you. Surely shifting your negative beliefs about yourself should be the first thing you do?
The fact is that it is usually easiest to change long-standing beliefs if you start by considering how they operate in the present day. Chapter 4 suggests a first way of breaking out of the circle. Even if you have not reduced it to this extent. These are reflected in many aspects of how we operate on a day-to-day basis.
Good luck. This is a commonsensical. It may well also have an impact on your central negative beliefs about yourself. You may even find that. Do not assume. Enjoy your journey! Summary 1. This means that you will get most benefit from it when you have absorbed the ideas and skills covered in earlier chapters. The new skills you develop and practise will continue to be useful to you for the rest of your life.
It may be possible to make radical changes within days. Working on your thoughts and feelings in everyday situations will help you to clarify the nature of your beliefs about yourself. This may seem odd. The role of low self-esteem varies. In particular. At the heart of low self-esteem lie negative beliefs about the self. It is interesting and useful to understand how they developed. In contrast. Chapter 3 homes in on what keeps old negative perspectives going in the present day.
The end result could be changes in all the areas we identified at the beginning of the chapter: A more balanced perception of yourself. It can be an aspect or a consequence of current problems. This is particularly likely to be the case if. It also offers practical. This book provides a cognitive behavioral framework for understanding how your own low self-esteem developed and what keeps it going. Chapter 6 offers ways of actively creating and strengthening a more positive view.
It does not stop at the abstract. It will encourage you to attend to and alter broad ideas you have about yourself. Chapter 9 suggests ways of summarizing and consolidating what you have learned. It will allow you to consider what experiences in your life have contributed to the way you see yourself. What are the implications of this for my beliefs about myself?
How does this fit or not fit with my poor opinion of myself? What changes might follow from this in how I see myself as a person? You may well find that small changes you make in your thinking and behaviour will gradually chip away at the boulder of your central negative beliefs about yourself. Changing a fundamental view of yourself or indeed of anything else may take weeks or months. It will also encourage you to adopt an experimental approach to how you behave in everyday situations.
Self-esteem reflects the opinion we have of ourselves. This could slow you down and might even be rather discouraging. Chapters 5 and 6 complement one another. It encourages you to take an active role in overcoming low selfesteem. The cognitive behavioral approach empowers you to become your own therapist. It will form a firm foundation for dealing with the bigger issues at a later stage.
Chapter 7 moves on to consider how to change your rules for living. Whichever role it occupies. Cognitive behavior therapy offers practical. Chapter 8 discusses ways of working directly on the central view of yourself which lies at the heart of low self-esteem. Chapter 8 quite explicitly draws on the work that has been done earlier in the book. Chapter 5 will teach you how to catch and answer self-critical thoughts. You will notice that direct methods for changing your beliefs about yourself come last.
Your beliefs about yourself can be seen as conclusions you have come to on the basis of what has happened to you. Your view of yourself — your self-esteem — is an opinion.
The flow chart shows how low self-esteem can be understood from a cognitive behavioral perspective. How Experience Leads to Low Self-Esteem Cognitive therapy is based on the idea that beliefs about ourselves and indeed about other people and about life are all learned.
This means that. Keep it in mind as you read through the chapter. This understanding is the first step to change. What fits? What does not fit? What helps you to make sense of how you feel about yourself?
Which of the stories told in the chapter ring bells for you? What are the experiences that have contributed to low self-esteem in your own case?
What is your Bottom Line? What are your rules for living? Keep a sheet of paper or a notebook by you. You will discover that the idea you have of yourself is an understandable reaction to what has happened to you — probably anyone who had your life experience would hold a similar view. They have their roots in experience. Unless you are lying you would like to be thought taller or thinner than you really are.
The aim is to help you to understand how it is that you have the view of yourself that you do. That is the main implication of this new understanding: The next chapter will help you to understand how the way you operate now keeps low self-esteem going — how wellestablished reaction patterns prevent you from changing your opinion of yourself.
You will begin to see how conclusions you reached about yourself perhaps many years ago have influenced how you have thought and felt and acted over time.
The remaining chapters provide more detailed ideas about how to bring about change. And opinions can be mistaken. Your ideas about yourself have developed as a consequence of your experiences in life.
The processes involved in the development of low self-esteem are summarized in the top half of the flow chart in here. This chapter will explore how experience leads to low self-esteem and reinforces it. If your experiences have largely been positive and affirming. The same is not true of the judgments we make of ourselves and the worth we place on ourselves as people. These may seem like statements of fact. No one seemed to notice or care.
One night. Her new step-parents already had two older daughters. Briony was a loving little girl. Every day she faced new punishments.
She could not understand why everything she did was wrong. Workplace intimidation or bullying. They will have influenced how you see yourself. Failing to meet parental standards. Other people could see it. She was deprived of contact with friends. A range of different experiences may have contributed to thinking badly of yourself.
Everything that went wrong was blamed on her. What you saw and heard and experienced in childhood in your family of origin. She tried desperately to be good.
Each is then considered in more detail. If you were frequently punished especially if the punishment was excessive. Crucial experiences in terms of beliefs about the self often though not necessarily occur early in life. He told her that she was dirty and disgusting. He put his hand over her mouth and raped her. Learning comes from many sources — direct experience. Briony became more and more confused. Briony became the family scapegoat. She was bad.
If children are treated badly. Some of these are summarized below. She could do nothing right. Systematic punishment.
Jesse agreed. They had never seemed particularly interested in what he was doing. Everyone had to have an answer. Particularly during adolescence. Every so often.
He was sure his mind would go blank and he would be unable to think of anything to say. As far as she was concerned. She continued to restrict her eating and to lose weight. Jesse could see that he was letting his father down. Her friends thought she looked great.
Even into adulthood. There were constant financial strains. This was the beginning of a lifelong pattern of alternating dieting and overeating. His mother was constantly tired. In the end. Failing to meet peer group standards Children and young people can be powerfully influenced. In the first couple of weeks. He felt he fully deserved the close questioning that followed.
It was clear to him that he was not good enough: It meant another grilling. And she was constantly hungry. Karen would join them but. Lack of money meant that all the children wore second-hand clothes.
When he was three. He tried hard to sit quietly and keep out of trouble. He was brought up by his mother and his maternal grandmother and had no consistent father figure. But somehow.
He was determined not to make the same mistake with his own children. Their sweatshirts were grubby. With two new babies. Karen decided to diet. As soon as he could walk. Her broad shoulders and rounded hips were just completely wrong. Although she was not at all overweight. She grew up at a time when the ideal body shape for women was to be tall and extremely slender.
Life was tough. At the same time. In the confined space of the apartment. Whenever something caught his eye. When this happened. If others treated you as if nothing you did was good enough. He would see their mouths twist. He became a target for anger and frustration. Seeing yourself as failing to make the grade in relation to standards in your peer group can be a painful experience.
He had very little fear and. It was no longer possible to be himself without being told he was a naughty. This clumsy attempt to help her to feel OK about herself backfired. This was true for Arran. Karen was never happy with her physical self. Arran was the middle one of seven children. Arran had clear memories of being rushed through the streets to school. Every mirror showed how far her body failed to meet the ideal.
It is not necessary to be systematically abused in this way to develop a poor opinion of yourself. Parents who are stressed. The family moved from their house with its little garden to a small apartment on the fourth floor of a large block. Every day. His mother used to say she needed eyes in the back of her head to keep track of him.
Much less extreme punishment and criticism will also leave a mark. Karen was delighted. Because he was only little.
Sometimes low self-esteem is more a product of the way a person and his or her family lived. But they almost never touched her — there were no cuddles. This may make how you feel about yourself a puzzle to you.
He was constantly fighting and scuffling. He saw himself as a worthless outcast. She would put her arms round her mother — and feel how she stiffened. She would begin shouting and swearing. He just could not get the hang of it. They never openly criticized her. When his parents were summoned to the school yet again to discuss his behaviour. The teachers too began to lose patience with him. There was nothing particularly wrong with her schoolwork — she simply did not shine as her parents hoped she would.
The same happened when they reached the school. At first. At heart. Nothing so extreme happened in your childhood — how come you have so much trouble believing in your own worth? It could be that the problem was not so much the presence of dramatically bad things. It must mean she was fundamentally unlovable.
Kate was hardly aware of this. She could draw and paint. She did her best to change things. But sometimes people in this situation take away a sense that to be different from the norm means to be odd.
Throughout his schooldays. But he began to experience difficulties as soon as he went to school. As she grew older. He was the one who could always be relied on to get involved in silly pranks. Sarah was an exceptional artist. Arran felt a deep sense of shame. Perhaps in your family. Both her parents. Kate concluded that their behaviour towards her must reflect something about her. The only time he felt good about himself was when he had successfully broken the rules — stolen without being caught or beaten someone up without reprisals.
He could hear their muttered comments to one another. While all the other children in the class seemed to be racing ahead with their reading and writing.
This can be true for differences in appearance e. In the playground. As an adult. Their only means of showing how much they loved her was through caring for her practical needs. They were plainly delighted with her two older brothers. He was assigned a teacher to give him special help. Her real talent lay in her hands and eyes. It could be that you were never subject to anything more than good-natured teasing.
Her parents did their duty by her. An absence of good things It is easy to see how painful experiences like those described above could contribute towards feeling bad. There was nothing particularly wrong with you. She tried to talk about how she felt — and saw how awkward her parents looked. Perhaps you were an artistic child in an academic family.
She was fiercely protective of the family. But once she began to see how openly loving other families were. For many children. Children and young people who stand out in some way from the group can be cruelly teased and excluded.
He compensated by becoming the class clown. So he tried not to think about what had happened. What do you think your Bottom Line is? What do you say about yourself when you are being self-critical? What names do you call yourself when you are angry and frustrated?
What were the words people in your life used to describe you when they were angry. Jim was a fireman. This was why he was able to succeed and remain outgoing and cheerful despite his tough. He saw himself as strong and competent. Did you think that Briony was bad.
I suppose if you like it. He had a stable. We have adult experience under our belt. Karen fat and ugly. As an outsider. Why is this? Life goes on.
Other family members grandparents. As people grow up. After a while. Chris stupid. Sarah unimportant and inferior. As part of his job. The answer lies in the way that our experiences have created a foundation for general conclusions about ourselves. He kept replaying the accident in his mind. We are no longer children. What messages about yourself did you pick up from your parents. He was tormented by guilt — he should have been able to stop the car. The Bottom Line can often be summed up in a single sentence.
By the time he was able to stop.
We may criticize ourselves in their exact. He began to feel that his personality had fundamentally changed. Bridging the Past and the Present: The Bottom Line These stories all show how experience shapes self-esteem.
Along with this. Jim later began to suffer symptoms of post-traumatic stress. Can you spot the Bottom Lines of the people described there? Jim always carried a first aid kit. Even very confident people. Examples include workplace intimidation or bullying. It was probably clear to you that the disapproval Arran attracted was no fault of his own. Geoff all wrong? In your opinion. One day.
The Bottom Line is the view of the self that lies at the heart of low self-esteem. Although low self-esteem is often rooted in experiences a person has had in childhood or adolescence.
So how come these events. He was constantly tense.
Their opinions of themselves make perfect sense. The fact that he had not been able to prevent the accident. Did you agree that Kate was unlovable. Now think about your own view of yourself and the experiences that have fed into it. Like many people who have suffered or witnessed horrific accidents. However powerful and convincing it may seem.
Biased interpretation Low self-esteem not only skews your perception of yourself. Make a note of your ideas. Biased perception When your self-esteem is low. You can probably see that the conclusions Briony and the others reached about themselves were based on misunderstandings about the meanings of their experiences — misunderstandings that make perfect sense.
This will both strengthen the negative beliefs about yourself. Biases in Thinking Consistent biases in thinking prevent you from realizing that your beliefs about yourself are simply opinions — based on experience. So even quite trivial mistakes and failings may seem to you to reflect your worth as a person.
The end result These biases operate together to keep the system in place. And opinions increasingly based on a biased perspective. It is difficult for you to get a clear view of your strengths.
How could I be so stupid? If something does not go well. How would you understand and explain what has happened to you. Think about your own Bottom Line. You will be able to use this information later on as a basis for changing your perspective on yourself.
What experiences exactly? What comes to mind when you ask yourself when you first felt as you now do about yourself? Was there a single event which crystallized your ideas for you? Do you have any specific memories? Or was there a sequence of events over time? Or perhaps a general climate. The anticipation makes you sensitive to any sign that things are indeed turning out as you predicted.
The end result is that your general focus as you go through your life is on what you do wrong. It also leads to the development of Rules for Living: If your confidence in yourself has always been low. Your thinking is consistently biased in favour of selfcriticism. This is the key thing about the Bottom Line at the heart of low self-esteem. You were not born thinking badly of yourself. Is it possible that you have reached conclusions about yourself on the basis of similar misunderstandings?
Blamed yourself for something that was not your fault? Seen specific problems as a sign that your worth as a person is low? All your shortcomings. These are: Neutral and even positive experiences may be distorted to fit the prevailing view of yourself. In addition.
This opinion is based on experience. This may mean aspects of your physical appearance e. Understanding the origins of low self-esteem is the first step towards change. You may find it hard at this stage to approach any sort of different view.
Because your basic beliefs about yourself are negative. Biases in Thinking Two biases in thinking contribute to low self-esteem by keeping negative beliefs about the self going. Once the Bottom Line is in place. This is because it is maintained and. You are swift to spot anything about yourself that you are unhappy about.
They allow you to feel reasonably comfortable with yourself. The Rules for Living each of these people developed can be understood as an attempt to get by. I will never get anywhere in life If someone criticizes me. She was always sharply vigilant for any signs that people might push her into doing things she did not wish to do. Rules for Living help you to do this. I will be disappointed If someone is not interested in me.
I will be rejected If I ask for what I need. Such strong opinions. This is because it is kept in place and strengthened by biases in thinking.
But he paid a price for this. She kept social contact to a minimum and. A look at the Rules for Living of the people described above may give you a sense of how they make sense in the context of the Bottom Line. Your negative beliefs about yourself your Bottom Line are opinions.
Biases in your thinking about yourself prejudices against yourself keep your negative views in place. A broad range of experiences. Rules for Living Even if you believe yourself to be in some way incompetent or inadequate. It is easy to see examples of such powerful beliefs all around us — prejudices against people of certain racial or cultural or religious groups.
On a dayto-day basis. So it is with low self-esteem. Once in place. His Rules for Living created an increasing sense of strain. They are conclusions about yourself based on experience usually. The Bottom Line also leads to the development of Rules for Living. These are designed to help you to function in the world. In fact. And so on. For each of them.
If you find yourself in a situation where you are in danger of breaking the rules e. This means that well-being is inevitably fragile. Self-doubt emerges from the shadows and begins to dominate the picture.
This chapter will outline how it works in practice. We shall be looking at the vicious circle that is triggered when you find yourself in a situation in which you might break your rules for living and so activate your Bottom Line. Use the ideas described here as an opportunity to reflect on yourself and deepen your understanding of how low self-esteem influences you on a day-to-day basis. You may find it helpful to keep pen and paper beside you. The idea is that you should apply these ideas to yourself and explore how they fit your own thoughts.
Triggering the System: Breaking the Rules In the last chapter.
You experience a sense of uncertainty — suddenly you feel insecure. Think back to the people you met in the last chapter. The exact nature of the situations that activate your Bottom Line will depend on the nature of the Bottom Line itself. This chapter will help you to understand how everyday patterns of thinking and behaviour keep low self-esteem going and prevent you from relaxing into your experiences and valuing and appreciating yourself. What are the situations that trigger anxious predictions in me?
How do my predictions affect my emotions and my body state? What do I do or not do to stop them from coming true? What does confirmation of my beliefs about myself feel like for me? Overcoming self-help guides use clinically proven techniques to treat long-standing and disabling conditions, both psychological and physical. Many guides in the Overcoming series are recommended by the Department of Health under the Books on Prescription scheme. Help for Mental Health. An Introduction to Coping.
Compassionate Mind Approach. Generation Next. Helping Your Child. My Account. You are viewing this site in staging mode. Click in this bar to return to normal site. Overcoming Low Self-Esteem Fennell. Downloadable Resources. Predictions and precautions worksheet p.