© 2013 by BKO Counseling Services                    AFFORDABLE SAN DIEGO THERAPIST - Brian K. Oltman Psy.D., LMFT

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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, (e.g. "I am a worthwhile person") or it may be negative, (e.g. "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 un-achievable 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 judgments 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 issue - Make your Appointment today!


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