How do you see yourself and how do you treat your successes, failures and goals? Building a balanced self-esteem and a strong self-image can be a challenge, but we will help you along the way.

What is self-esteem?

Self-esteem is the foundation of our psychological well-being and a central part of personal development. It reflects how we view ourselves, our worth, and our ability to cope with life’s challenges. Strong self-esteem gives us the courage to try new things, while low self-esteem can lead to anxiety and prevent us from reaching our full potential. Compare self-esteem with self-compassion, which is closely related to self-esteem.

The impact of self-esteem

Positive self-esteem: Leads to better decisions, increased resilience and happiness.

Negative self-esteem: Can cause anxiety, depression and limit our ability to develop.

According to Beyond Blue, 3 million Australians are living with anxiety. Anxiety is the most common mental health condition in Australia. 1 in 4 people will experience anxiety at some stage in their life.

What set our therapist apart was her genuine empathy and personal insight. Not only did she possess a deep understanding of neurodiversity, but she also shared personal experiences that resonated with us, creating an instant connection and fostering a sense of trust!

Benedetta Osarenk


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CBT and self-esteem

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is an effective method for improving self-esteem. Through CBT, individuals are given tools to identify and transform negative thought patterns that affect their self-image.

How CBT helps

Identify negative thoughts: Learn to recognize and challenge destructive thoughts.

Change behavioural patterns: Develop new strategies for dealing with difficult situations.

Therapy for self-esteem

Seeking therapy to boost your self-esteem is a brave step. Therapists can offer support and techniques to work on self-image and self-evaluation. They can also help manage the anxiety that can result from low self-esteem. In discussion with your coach or therapist, you can agree which path is best for you, or whether a mixture of different types of therapy has the greatest potential to help you. One thing to consider, for example, is whether you want to stick to individual therapy or find group therapy more interesting. In the former case, you will have the opportunity to receive personalized guidance tailored to your needs; in the latter, it is about sharing experiences and learning from others in similar situations to your own.

The way forward: Improving your self-esteem

  • Self-reflection: deepen your understanding of your thoughts and feelings.
  • Set realistic goals: Create achievable goals to build self-confidence.
  • Practice self-compassion: Be kind to yourself and acknowledge your progress.
  • Seek professional help: A psychologist can give you tools and support.

Building and maintaining a strong self-esteem

After understanding the basics of self-esteem and its impact on our lives, the next step is to explore how we can actively build and maintain strong self-esteem.

Long-term strategies for self-esteem

  • Regular self-reflection: Dedicate time each week to reflect on your thoughts, feelings and behaviours. This can be done through journalling or meditation.
  • Evaluate and set goals: Set personal goals, both big and small, and evaluate your success regularly. This builds self-confidence and provides a sense of achievement.
  • Develop positive relationships: Surround yourself with people who support and encourage you. Avoid relationships that are destructive or negative.
  • Take care of your physical health: regular exercise, a balanced diet and enough sleep are essential for mental health and self-esteem.

Challenges and solutions

  • Negative self-criticism: Turn self-criticism into constructive self-reflection. Ask yourself, “Is this really true?” and “How can I improve?”
  • Comparison with others: Remember that everyone has their own journey. Focus on your personal development instead of comparing yourself to others.

CBT exercises for self-esteem

CBT exercises can be particularly effective in improving self-esteem. Here are some exercises you can try:

Rethinking: When you notice a negative thought, stop and ask yourself if there is a more positive way to look at the situation.

Role play: Practice different social situations with a therapist or a friend to build confidence and self-esteem when interacting with others.

Self-esteem in everyday life

In everyday life, there are small steps that can be taken to boost self-esteem:

Give yourself recognition: give yourself credit for your successes, no matter how small.

Challenge yourself: Try new things and go outside your comfort zone. This can be anything from trying a new hobby to taking on new challenges at work.

Building and maintaining strong self-esteem is a continuous process. Through self-reflection, goal setting, and surrounding yourself with positive influences, you can gradually improve your self-image. Remember that professional help, such as therapy and CBT, can offer additional support and tools on this journey.


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Self-esteem at different stages of life

  • Childhood and adolescence: This is where the foundation for self-esteem is laid. Encouragement, support and positive feedback from parents and teachers play a key role.
  • Young adults: This period is often characterized by finding one’s identity and place in society. Challenges such as studies, career choices and relationships can have a significant impact on self-esteem.
  • Middle age: The middle years of life can bring new responsibilities such as parenthood and career development. Work-life balance is important for self-esteem.
  • Older age: Retirement and ageing can change self-perception. Finding new purposes and maintaining social networks is crucial.

Dealing with life changes

Accepting change: Accepting and adapting to change is a key to maintaining a strong sense of self.

Finding new roles: In each new stage of life, explore and embrace new roles and identities.

Self-esteem and relationships

Self-esteem affects and is affected by our relationships, how we experience them and the response we receive in them.

  • Positive relationships: Strengthen self-esteem through support, appreciation and love.
  • Negative relationships: Can reduce self-esteem through criticism, neglect or misunderstanding.

Building healthy relationships is key to building good self-esteem.

  • Communication: Be open and honest in your relationships.
  • Boundary setting: Set healthy boundaries to protect your self-esteem.

Self-esteem and working life

Just like other relationships, our professional relationships can have a big impact on our self-esteem. How we feel about our work environment and career has a big impact, so it is important to be aware of how to manage our work life.

In the workplace, it is important that we actively seek and evaluate what is good for us and our personal development as much as what benefits our employer. Good well-being and self-esteem ultimately lead to better, more focussed and more conscious performance, precisely because it gives meaning and value to our daily lives. Finding that kind of symbiosis between our personal goals for our well-being and the goal of our work is what builds long-term sustainable relationships-even professionally. To find a harmonious exchange between your self-esteem and your work, you can focus on:

  • Appreciation and feedback: seek and value constructive feedback.
  • Career development: see challenges as opportunities for growth.

Managing work-related self-esteem is important so that we don’t run out of resources to look after ourselves or risk exhaustion. The way we approach our work creates the conditions for our development. Important concepts to consider are:

  • Work-life balance: Prioritize work-life balance.
  • Professional development: Continue to learn and develop professionally.

Why is it important to build self-esteem?

Understanding and managing self-esteem through the different stages of life is a continuous process that requires self-awareness and adaptability. By knowing how different life events and relationships affect our self-esteem, we can better navigate these challenges.

Our psychologists and therapists can help you explore these aspects of self-esteem further. Contact us for guidance and support tailored to your unique needs and life situation.

Self-esteem and mental health

Self-esteem is strongly linked to our overall mental health. Taking care of your mental health is therefore crucial to promoting and maintaining a positive self-image.

Strategies for mental health

  • Mindfulness and meditation: These practices can help reduce stress and increase awareness of one’s own thoughts and feelings.
  • Emotional regulation: learn how to manage and express your emotions in a healthy way.

Lifestyle choices and self-esteem

Our daily choices and routines have a direct impact on our self-esteem. A healthy lifestyle can strengthen our self-image and self-confidence. Therefore, it is important to create healthy habits that put us in the best possible position. These basic aspects are worth keeping in mind:

  • Regular physical activity: Exercise has been shown to have a positive effect on self-esteem.
  • Balanced diet: A nutritious diet contributes to better physical and mental health.
  • Adequate sleep: Good sleep is essential for both physical and mental well-being.

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20 common questions and answers about self-esteem

What is meant by self-esteem?

Self-esteem is our perception of our own worth and ability to cope with life’s challenges. It is about how we see ourselves, both our strengths and weaknesses. A balanced self-esteem means that we feel valuable and capable, regardless of external circumstances.

How does low self-esteem manifest itself?

Low self-esteem can manifest itself in many ways. Common signs include negative self-criticism, difficulty accepting praise, avoiding new challenges or feeling less worthy than others. This lack of self-evaluation can affect both personal and professional relationships.

What is the difference between self-confidence and self-esteem?

Self-confidence is about how confident you feel in your abilities, while self-esteem is more related to how you value yourself as a person. You can have high self-confidence in certain situations, such as in your work, but still have low self-esteem.

What can be done about low self-esteem?

To improve low self-esteem, you can start by identifying and questioning negative thought patterns. Practice self-compassion and set realistic goals. Sometimes it can be useful to seek professional help, such as therapy or counselling, to work through the root causes of low self-esteem.

What are the long-term effects of not working on self-esteem?

Not working on self-esteem can lead to chronic stress, anxiety and depression. It can also affect the ability to build healthy relationships and make it difficult to achieve personal and professional goals. Therefore, it is important to actively work on improving self-esteem.

Does social media affect our self-esteem?

Yes, social media can have a significant impact on our self-esteem. Comparison with the lives of others, which are often portrayed as perfect, can lead to feelings of inadequacy and self-criticism. It is important to remember that social media often shows an idealized version of reality.

Can you have high self-esteem?

Excessive self-esteem, bordering on self-overestimation, can be problematic. It can lead to unrealistic expectations of oneself and others, as well as difficulties in receiving feedback and learning from mistakes. Being balanced in your perspective of yourself is key to a healthy self-perception.

How can you build your child’s self-esteem?

Building children’s self-esteem involves encouraging them, showing appreciation and love, and helping them learn from their mistakes. It is also important to listen to them and acknowledge their feelings, which helps them develop a strong sense of self-worth.

Is self-esteem something you are born with?

Self-esteem is not something we are born with, but develops over time through our experiences and relationships. Parents, teachers and important people in our lives play a major role in its development as we grow up.

Can physical activity improve self-esteem?

Absolutely, physical activity has been shown to have a positive effect on self-esteem. Regular exercise can improve our body image, reduce stress and increase feelings of well-being, which in turn can be empowering.

Is it possible to change your self-esteem in adulthood?

Yes, it is absolutely possible to change and improve your self-esteem in adulthood. It requires self-awareness, the willingness to question and change negative thought patterns, and sometimes professional help. Personal development is a lifelong process.

How does our self-esteem affect our relationships?

Self-esteem plays a major role in how we interact with others. Low self-esteem can lead to problems such as insecurity in relationships, difficulty setting boundaries, or constantly seeking validation from others. Healthy self-esteem contributes to healthier and more balanced relationships.

What role does self-esteem play in working life?

At work, self-esteem is important for how we deal with challenges, accept criticism, and cooperate with colleagues. Being balanced can lead to increased productivity, better decision-making and stronger leadership skills.

Can meditation and mindfulness help boost self-esteem?

Meditation and mindfulness can be effective tools for boosting self-esteem. They help reduce stress, increase self-awareness and promote a more accepting and non-judgmental attitude towards oneself.

Are there any specific exercises that can help improve self-esteem?

Yes, there are several exercises that can help. Daily self-reflection, writing down positive qualities about yourself, setting realistic goals and regularly challenging negative thoughts are some examples. Engaging in activities that you are good at and that give you satisfaction can also help.

How to distinguish between low self-esteem and depression?

Low self-esteem and depression are related but distinct conditions. Low self-esteem involves a negative perception of oneself, while depression is a mental illness with symptoms such as persistent sadness, loss of interest in activities, and physical problems such as difficulty sleeping. However, low self-esteem can be a risk factor for depression.

What impact does the family have on the development of self-esteem in children?

The influence of the family is very important for the development of children’s self-esteem. A supportive and loving family environment, where the child receives encouragement and positive feedback, helps to build strong self-esteem. Feeling accepted and valued by the family is fundamental to a child’s self-image.

Can a person have good self-esteem but poor self-confidence?

Yes, it is possible. A person can have a positive view of themselves as an individual (good self-esteem) but feel insecure about their abilities or skills in certain situations (low self-confidence). These two concepts are related but different aspects of self-perception.

How can you help someone else build their self-esteem?

Helping someone build their self-esteem can be done by providing sincere encouragement, listening and showing understanding, and helping them to feel valued and respected. It is important to avoid negative criticism and instead focus on the person’s strengths and progress.

Can a person’s self-esteem be measured or quantified?

Self-esteem is subjective and varies over time, so it is difficult to accurately measure it. However, there are psychological rating scales and questionnaires that can give an indication. These tools should be used by qualified professionals in psychology and psychiatry.

Steps towards better self-esteem

Working on your self-esteem is a process you can start whenever you feel ready. If you feel you need help along the way, you are always welcome to contact one of our coaches or therapists who will be happy to guide you and give you advice. To give you an idea of what the process of building self-esteem might look like, we’ve put together the list of steps below.

Identify your strengths and weaknesses

Together with your coach or therapist, explore your personal strengths and areas where you feel less confident. This provides a foundation to build on.

Set realistic goals

Set concrete and realistic goals for your personal development. These should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART).

Work on self-acceptance

Learn to accept yourself as you are. Your therapist can help you develop a more forgiving and understanding attitude towards yourself.

Challenging negative thought patterns

Using cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or similar methods, identify and challenge negative thoughts that affect your self-esteem.

Practice gratitude and positive thinking

By making daily notes of things you are grateful for, you can begin to see life and yourself in a more positive light.

Develop self-compassion

Learn to be kind and supportive to yourself, especially during difficult times. This can include self-care and encouraging yourself as you would a friend.

Improve social skills

Work with your therapist to develop skills for better social interactions and relationships, which can boost your self-esteem.

Evaluate and adapt

Together with your coach or therapist, make regular assessments of your progress and adjust the plan as needed.

Maintain successes

As you make progress, take time to acknowledge and celebrate your successes. This builds a sense of achievement and strengthens your self-esteem.

Keep growing

Self-esteem is an ongoing process. Continue to work with your therapist to further develop and maintain your self-esteem over time.

Remember: The process of building better self-esteem takes time and patience, and it is important that you have support on your journey. We make the hard stuff easier by being there for you every step of the way.

Lavendla – Making the difficult easier

Written by melissa

Melissa is a Certified Kinesiologist who focusses on a client-centred, holistic and integrative approach to health and wellness. She has extensive experience in managing stress, anxiety, fears, phobias and trauma in her clients. Melissa uses visual and auditory feedback to directly access and solve the cause of psychological stressors in the body so that optimal well-being and balance is achieved.