Low self-worth? – This article will uncover the signs and symptoms and is a step-by-step guide on how to build and increase self-esteem!

Our self-esteem reflects how we perceive ourselves.

“My house, my car, my job” – Many people define their self-worth over material things or let society dictate it. Low self-esteem is often the result when we fail to achieve a high enough role or status in society or don’t meet certain expectations.


Table of Content:


What do self-esteem and self-worth mean? (Definition)

What are the reasons for low self-esteem? And why do I have low self-esteem?

Signs of low self-esteem – What does low self-esteem lead to?

How to deal with low self-esteem – Build and increase your self-esteem

Dealing with low self-esteem – Goodbye Self-Esteem Issues

No or low self-esteem and self-worth? Stop it! Build and increase your self-esteem in four steps

Low self-esteem in relationships

Self-esteem in Therapy, CBT, Counseling, and Coaching


Let’s take a closer look at the specific reasons for low self-esteem and how to deal with them successfully. You will also learn which activities, worksheets, and exercises are ideal to increase self-esteem.


What do Self-Esteem and Self-Worth mean? (Definition)


In psychology self-esteem or self-worth is defined as the emotional assessment of one’s worth. It is the subjectively felt value that we ascribe to ourselves.

Everyone has different criteria for measuring their self-worth. Typical factors are talents, skills, status, intelligence, competencies, and character traits. In addition, our life experiences, upbringing, and personal values play an important role in assessing self-esteem.

It becomes clear that self-esteem is very subjective and everyone uses different standards and criteria for evaluating it.


What are the Reasons for low Self-Esteem?

And why do I have such Low Self-Worth?


There’s a variety of reasons for low self-esteem. Our childhood experiences play an important role in how we perceive ourselves. All the interactions with our parents, teachers, and other children are particularly formative and influence our self-worth.

For example, constant criticism and parents’ high demands that can hardly be met lead to low self-esteem for many children. This perceived self-worth is often taken into adulthood.


“If I don’t become a lawyer or doctor, I’m a worthless good-for-nothing”.


We often adopt the expectations, values, and even goals of our parents and those around us. We then continue to pursue them blindly when we are adults without questioning whether these are our own. Many feel bad, worthless, and a failure when they fail to live up to these expectations and ideals.

At the same time, people with low self-esteem often neglect their wishes, desires, and true nature just to fit in and to fulfill what is expected from them. This lack of mindfulness and self-reflection can even lead to compulsive perfectionism, which is the safest way to become unhappy.


Signs of Low Self-Esteem – What does Low Self-Esteem lead to?


  • People with low self-esteem will miss many opportunities and invaluable experiences in life because they underrate themselves.
  • The negative self-image pulls them down and affects their everyday life.
  • They might curse themselves for mistakes and they are true masters of self-criticism (also a typical trait of perfectionists, by the way).
  • People with low self-esteem often can’t take criticism.
  • Low self-esteem often results in low resilience. With healthy self-esteem, our resilience automatically increases. A strong resilience helps us deal with and overcome challenges in life.
  • Perfectionism is encouraged by pursuing external goals that do not match the person’s true needs and desires. They try to increase their self-worth through the appraisal of others
  • They perceive the opinion and assessment of other people as superior to their own.
  • There’s often a huge fear of failure. (Especially people with depression or anxiety disorders tend to have low self-esteem).


How to Deal with Low Self-Esteem – Build and Increase Your Self-Worth

Why is Self-Esteem important?


Healthy self-esteem is the foundation for a fulfilled and happy life. It ensures that we trust ourselves to overcome even the most difficult challenges and hurdles (strong resilience). High self-esteem is also the key to true and authentic self-confidence. People with healthy self-esteem are aware of their abilities, values, qualities, and believe in themselves. They know their strengths and weaknesses and how to best deal with them.


The Number One Activity for more Self-Esteem is Self-Reflection!


The first step in dealing with low self-esteem is to become aware of your self-worth. A wonderful activity to train this awareness is self-reflection. Self-reflection will help you identify all the unique talents, traits, skills, and qualities you have.

Having high self-esteem doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. We all have our flaws and weaknesses. But instead of cursing ourselves, we should try to accept these negative traits and try our best to improve. Condemning ourselves for every little mistake makes it impossible to develop healthy and high self-esteem. Instead, we should be kind and forgiving to ourselves.


Dealing with Low Self-Esteem – Goodbye Self-Esteem Issues


The terms self-awareness, self-esteem, and self-confidence are often used as synonyms. But if we take a closer look at these words, it becomes clear that while they are connected, they are by no means identical.

Self-awareness means being aware of your strengths, weaknesses, opinions, values, ideals, and beliefs. Self-aware people know what they are capable of and what they should refrain from. Self-awareness can therefore be equated with knowing oneself.

Getting to know yourself better is therefore the first necessity before you can take the next step towards higher self-esteem and ultimately a strong self-confidence.

The Self-Esteem Worksheets Toolkit contains an exercise that will help you to get to know yourself better with all your strengths and weaknesses.

A high level of self-awareness is the foundation for more self-esteem. When we say self-esteem we mean accepting, appreciating, and loving ourselves as we are. People with high self-worth acknowledge their unique personalities and no longer make their self-esteem dependent on external factors like social status or paradigms.

How to Build and Increase Your Self-Esteem in Four Steps

Knowing Your Self-Worth – Train your Self-Awareness through regular Self-Reflection


Training our self-awareness is the first step and regular self-reflection is the go-to method for it. Take your time to get to know yourself better. Keeping a daily journal for a few weeks is a great way to train self-reflection. Writing down your thoughts, feelings, and understanding why you do or don’t do certain things will help you to gain clarity and more awareness.


Train Self-Acceptance – Be Kind to Yourself!


Now that you know yourself better, it’s time to train self-acceptance (also self-respect). Embrace what makes you unique and special. Understand that nobody is perfect! Let go of things you can’t change and overcome your perfectionism. Accept and love yourself for who you are. You can train self-acceptance with an exercise that is included in the Self-Esteem Worksheets Toolkit.


Build and Increase Your Self-Esteem


Once you’ve mastered self-acceptance, you can start to build and increase your self-esteem. Focus on all your positive qualities, traits, and all the things you’ve already accomplished. Identify and challenge your negative and limiting beliefs. Try to be more assertive and learn to say no. The Self Esteem Worksheets Toolkit includes an exercise to train these elements.

Eventually, you will be able to take full responsibility for your thoughts, beliefs, and actions. By knowing and fulfilling your own needs and desires, you can create your happiness. Knowing your self-worth allows you to leave the trap of waiting for outside salvation. You’ll be in a constructive dialogue with your inner critic and have the ability to influence and control your thoughts and beliefs. It’s time to take the last step.


True Self-Confidence – The Ultimate Goal

A strong sense of self and high self-esteem, eventually allows you to build genuine and authentic self-confidence. At this stage, you know exactly what your strengths are, what you’re capable of, and in which areas of your life you need help from others. Knowing your self-worth eventually turns you into a charismatic and assertive person who exudes authentic self-confidence. The Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence Worksheets Toolkit includes various exercises that will help you along the way.


Low Self-Esteem Symptoms in Relationships


As already mentioned, many people base their self-worth on the evaluation of others. One of the symptoms of low self-esteem in relationships is that one of the partners (and sometimes even both) constantly asks for confirmation, recognition, and attention. This can become a real problem over time.

At the beginning of a relationship, the self-esteem of both partners often gets a big boost, but a study by Ulrich Orth from the Institute of Psychology at the University of Bern shows that this effect isn’t lasting for long. The self-esteem is back to its original level after a maximum of one year. So counting on the relationship to increase one’s self-esteem isn’t the solution.


How to improve Self-Esteem in Relationships


The foundation of a fulfilled relationship is that both partners have a healthy level of self-esteem. If one partner tries to increase their low self-esteem through the other’s love and affection, it won’t work. We learned that these things can bring a short self-worth boost but they won’t prevent arguments or even a serious relationship crisis.

The attempt to improve the partner’s low self-esteem through one’s actions or some magic pill will also fail. Eventually, there’s only one way because each person has to build healthy and authentic self-esteem on their own.

True self-esteem and self-worth have to come from within. It’s a great idea to support your partner along the way with the tips outlined in this article. But they have to take action on their own.

If you both have a desire to build and improve your self-esteem and confidence, you can work on it together with these exercises.


Self-esteem in Therapy, CBT, Counseling, and Coaching


Our self-esteem and self-confidence often decide whether we truly believe we can accomplish our goals and plans or not. High self-esteem increases resilience and therefore the ability to overcome challenges and hurdles.

Therefore it totally makes sense to support clients with low self-esteem to increase it no matter if it’s in Counseling, CBT, Therapy, or Coaching. Self-esteem and self-confidence will help clients to overcome setbacks and increase the chance that they accomplish their goals.

The success rates increase significantly if you help clients in getting to know themselves better and accepting their unique personality with all its strengths and weaknesses.

A high level of self-esteem and self-confidence is invaluable in situations where clients need to find solutions to their problems, overcome doubts and fears, or just put their intentions into action. If clients know they can rely on themselves everything becomes much easier. These self-esteem and self-confidence worksheets have been designed for Counseling, Coaching, CBT, and Therapy.