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Low self-esteem & self-worth

Low self-esteem and low self-worth are debilitating phenomena many are familiar with. It is the feeling of not being good enough, not feeling worthy, not feeling lovable, not feeling comfortable asking for help, not being pretty enough, not being clever enough, not being good at anything… the list goes on.

For expats, these problems can be amplified when you are out of your usual comfort zone. When you don’t understand the host culture or the host language. When you don’t have a good support network, or when you have a general sense of not fitting in, of feeling like the odd one out.

I can help you unpack and explore the roots of your low self-esteem and low self-worth, heal the wounds, and move on with a greater sense of agenda in (expat) life. 

The difference between self-esteem and self-worth

The concept of self-esteem refers to how you feel about your own ability to carry out certain tasks in life, e.g.: Am I good at my job? Am I good a parent? 

The concept of self-worth refers to how you feel about yourself: Am I good enough just because I am?

You might be considering how your upbringing and life in general have affected your self-worth, as well as how your self-esteem has affected your self-worth over the years. It may be that you feel comfortable in yourself and don’t question these; it may also be that you can list several things which make you proud of yourself and that you can see how these enhance your sense of self-worth. Or it may be that you are struggling in both areas.

Just as it’s perfectly normal to suffer from both low self-esteem and low-self-worth, it’s also not uncommon to have good self-esteem, but poor self-worth.

What are the causes of low self-esteem and low self-worth?

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The underlying causes of low self-esteem and low self-worth can have many roots, often originating in childhood experiences, such as:

If you haven’t been met with empathy or compassion, if you haven’t been made to feel you’re good enough, or you were subjected to high demands and high levels of criticism. Perhaps you have been bullied or have been surrounded by highly self-critical people which have become role models for how to treat yourself. It may also have roots in an extremely critical and demanding partner or boss.

Suffering from low self-esteem and low self-worth can be debilitating and a pre-cursor for procrastination, depressionanxiety, and stress.

How can therapy help your self-esteem and self-worth?

By engaging in therapy, you will gain an understanding of the roots of your self-worth, you will achieve a deeper contact to yourself and what keeps you from leading the life you would like to. 

By connecting to yourself on a deeper level, you will begin to understand your needs and wishes. And when you begin to implement these in your life, ask for your needs to be met and set boundaries with other people, you will slowly begin to feel a greater sense of self, a greater sense of agenda in your own life.

You will learn how to be more self-compassionate as well as take up more room and as such, begin to feel comfortable with setting boundaries and asking to have your needs met. 

You can read more about individual therapy here.