In the previous installment, we discussed the three self’s and how they affect the way view and relate to ourselves. In this article, we will discuss self-esteem a little more in-depth as well as cover some art therapy exercises that will help you relate more positively to yourself.
What is Self-Esteem and How Does it Affect You?
Self-esteem can be defined by the personal value that we believe we have when considering our skills, traits, achievements, and abilities.
Self-esteem is mostly a subconscious evaluation based on a summary of opinions about ourselves as opposed to concrete facts. Suffering from low self-esteem is, unfortunately, extremely common and can be easily developed by negative life experiences.
It’s also important to note that self-esteem refers to a long-lasting view of yourself, not how you feel in this moment. For example, after a huge accomplishment, you may feel increased pride and joy over what you have achieved; however, if you suffer from low self-esteem, the temporary feeling of pride may quickly fade.
Low, High, and Secure Self-Esteem
Unfortunately, professionals don’t agree on how to move from low self-esteem to a secure and realistic self-esteem without the risk of developing a potentially egotistical narcissistic attitude from a lofty view of yourself.
Self-esteem can be categorized into these three groups:
- Low — poor view of self
- Fragile high — egotistical, entitled, self-serving
- Secure — stable self-esteem with a realistic recognition of both positive and negative traits and a positive sense of personal worth.
Drawbacks of Low Self-Esteem
- Pursue unhealthy interpersonal relationships
- Exhibit unhealthy health habits
- Show dysfunction in emotional expression
Benefits of Secure High Self Esteem
- Increased social status
- Decreased feelings of rejections from social groups
- Reduction of depression and anxiety
- Improved healthy habits
- Improved work and academic outcomes
Art Therapy Exercises That Help With Self-Esteem and Self-Worth
Just as self-esteem can be impacted by life experiences, it can also be improved through therapy. As you become more familiar with the underlying reasons for your self-esteem, you can take strategic steps to improve it.
Phases of Self-Esteem Therapy
- Assess current self-worth
- Discover the origins of your self-esteem
- Develop a plan to improve your self-esteem
- Measure self-esteem after treatment
Here are some helpful exercises that may assist you in developing a healthy self-esteem and reduce negative thoughts about yourself:
- Write a list of 10 strengths or skills
- Explore the concept of your uniqueness in the crowd of society
- Draw or paint your fear of rejection
- Create a piece of art that reflects your negative image, then adjust it to reflect your positive traits.
- Create an image of your compassionate self and define the qualities of a compassionate self.
- Create a collage of things you like to do that make you feel proud.
- Create a tower of self-esteem. Explore positive statements about yourself and place each statement on top of the other to build the tower higher. Explore qualities, talents, skills, achievements, and strengths.
- Create a circle of negative statements that shows the impact of negative statements in a feedback loop; then, explore how to break that cycle.