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What is self-esteem?
Self-esteem describes the values, beliefs and attitudes we have towards ourselves.
It reflects the overall opinion we have about ourselves. Our opinion may be positive, (eg "I am a
worthwhile person") or it may be negative, (eg "I am a bad person"). Healthy self-esteem is about
accepting ourselves for who we are, warts and all.
Here are five of the most common thinking traps that people with low self-esteem fall into. When
you catch yourself using a thinking trap, look at all the evidence and try to find an alternative view
of the situation that leads you to a gentler opinion of yourself.
•Jumping to negative conclusions - people with low self-esteem usually jump to whatever
conclusion reflects badly on them without first considering all the evidence.
•Setting unachievable standards - typically people with low self-esteem are very hard on
themselves, setting higher and more rigid standards for themselves than they would expect others
to meet.
•Black and white thinking - Do you see things in black and white terms? For example, "If failed that
unit; my whole course is ruined; nothing ever works out for me" or "I'm always useless at
everything I try". This type of thinking oversimplifies things. Things are rarely all good or all bad
but usually somewhere in the middle.
•Losing perspective - if you have low self-esteem then you are likely to judge yourself on only one
aspect of yourself. Difficulties may often lead you to such global judgements as 'I'm useless" or
"I'm worthless".  Take a step back and look at the big picture and remember that low self-esteem
leads you to look at the world with a negative filter, only spotting things that confirm your negative
opinion of yourself.
•Discounting or disqualifying the positive - you reject successful experiences by insisting they
don't count for some reason or another. In this way, you can maintain a negative belief that is
contradicted by your everyday experiences. For example, you manage to take the bus all the way
to work, but discount it by saying, "It wasn't really full today, so it doesn't really count."
Low self-esteem can often be part of a larger problem - Make your Appointment today!
Brian Oltman, Psychotherapist
MA, M. Div., LMFT #41932

2231 Camino del Rio S. Suite #308 - 92108
Mailing Address: 1286 University Avenue #568 - 92103
San Diego, CA
Contact Me:
New Hope, New Insight, New Understanding - A New Dimension!
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have about the counseling services I provide by using the
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appointment, please include the day and time it is best to
contact you to arrange an appointment.
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