Although we, as human beings, mature physically relatively early in life, psychological maturity is something that, for many of us, takes a lifetime to achieve. There is a natural drive in us to develop, grow or change parts of ourselves for the better, though it may be dormant until it is activated.
Sometimes, our natural need for personal development can be awakened by, for example, a sense that something is ‘missing’ from our lives or that something doesn’t feel quite right within ourselves although, we may not know what exactly it is. At other times, personal development may be called for by more specific challenges and difficulties, which make us feel less able to cope with life, relationships, and responsibilities. In these situations, we may experience feeling ‘stuck’, ‘broken’, ‘inflexible’, ‘defensive’, or ‘withdrawn’, etc.
These challenges and difficulties in our present lives often provide helpful indications that some parts of us may not have developed as well as they could have. For nobody grows up in a perfect world — there is almost always too much or too little of something and this commonly results in skewing our development.
Arts therapy provides a safe and supportive environment in which you can explore your challenges and difficulties as well as your hopes and dreams, and heal and foster the parts of you that were adversely affected.
Often when a therapist asks a client what has made him or her decide to seek help the client will reply “I have low self-esteem”. What does this mean and how does one overcome it?
People with healthy self-esteem usually respect themselves and show themselves to be comfortable with their lot in life. They usually interact positively with others, are respected by them and are aware of this. They demonstrate that they can set themselves reasonable goals and achieve these.
Those who see themselves as having low self-esteem often reveal a poor self-image with a sense of personal powerlessness in the world. They may not know what they want. They may have had goals in the past but have found them to be unattainable. They frequently believe that others have gifts and abilities denied to them.
They may try to hide low self-esteem by pretending to be competent and capable but internally they will still feel themselves to be a fraud or a fake. This often results in losing intimacy and authenticity in relationship to others and frequently this results in anxiety or depression.
How therapy can help
What can a therapist offer to someone with low self-esteem? The seeds of low self-esteem are usually sown in childhood, nurtured by parents and other significant people, so that the growing person takes on a belief in their own lack of ability. Such a belief system needs to be uncovered and challenged as it will have perniciously influenced everything a person has done. Challenging a belief can lead a person to recognise its invalidity and thus become able to replace it.
As well as investigating the origins of low self-esteem therapy, needs to be future-oriented. A person seeking help needs to learn how to take control of life and how to be in charge of it. The therapist can help the client explore what is currently going wrong and encourage the client to find ways to change this.
So a two-pronged approach can be undertaken, with one prong seeking to understand how the low self-esteem arose and the other prong seeking to change current manifestations of the low self-esteem. All psychotherapists will be able to assist with this.