Self-Esteem – confidence in one’s own worth or abilities; self-respect. (English Oxford Living Dictionary).
Self-acceptance, self-respect, self-worth and self-esteem. These statements are ways in which we see ourselves.
Mainly positive –
- I accept who I am
- I respect myself
- I feel good about myself
Mainly negative –
- I can’t accept who I am
- I don’t respect myself
- I feel bad about myself
It is when we see ourselves in a mainly negative light that we may be suffering from low self-esteem.
Before we get onto my top 5 self-help books for improving self-esteem I will take a short look at what low self-esteem is, some causes and how it can affect us.
What is Low Self-Esteem and What Causes It?
Are any of these feelings familiar?
- Negative thoughts
- Lack of self-confidence
- Feeling worthless
- Feeling nobody likes you
- Not liking yourself
- Fear of failure
- Not able to accept positive feedback
- Finding it hard to express your needs
Yes? Then you have probably experienced low self-esteem. Sometimes these feelings are just short term and you are able to move on, and this is great. However, if these feelings become long term then they can impact negatively on your life, health and ability to achieve your potential.
The causes of low self-esteem are varied and many. It does appear that low self-esteem often starts in childhood. All the messages we receive from our peers, family or teachers for example, plus all the images we see in the media have an impact on how we feel about ourselves. For example a child facing mainly negative messages is more likely to think negatively about themselves and have low self-esteem. Unfortunately it is often the negative messages that tend to stay with us and the positives forgotten.
Other factors which may impact on your self-esteem include,
- Your personality, some people do appear to naturally be more prone to low self-esteem.
- Serious illnesses.
- Difficult experiences in your life such as bereavement
How can Low Self-Esteem Affect us?
Low self-esteem can affect our health emotionally, mentally and physically.
- Relationships can suffer – those with low self-esteem may tend to put up with behaviours from their partners that are unacceptable.
- Be prone to anxiety and depression from constant negative feelings.
- Be more likely to neglect themselves – drinking too much alcohol, taking recreational drugs, not eating properly etc.
- Be more likely to demonstrate self harming behaviour such as eating disorders or self harming.
As we can see low self-esteem can impact people in so many ways. If you believe you are suffering from low self-esteem then please take action now. Self help books aimed at low self-esteem are really great at working through tasks to help you feel more positive about yourself. If your symptoms are really severe then please talk to a medical professional.
My Top 5 Self Help Books for Treating Low Self-Esteem
- Overcoming Low Self-Esteem; A Self Help Guide Using Cognitive Behavioural Techniques. By Dr Melanie Fennell. Available in paperback and Kindle Edition. This is the best-selling self-help guide now in its second edition. Its clear and concise layout along with practical tasks and the use of Cognitive Behavioural therapy techniques, will help you overcome self-destructive thinking and learn the art of self acceptance.
- Happy: Finding joy in every day and letting go of perfect. By Fearne Cotton. Available in paperback, hard cover, audio book and Kindle edition. Many will have seen Fearne Cotton on the TV or heard her on the radio but Fearne is also a best-selling author. You may also not know that Fearne has had episodes of depression so this book is very close to her heart. This book is a great read with workbook elements, written exercises, simple practical tasks and visualizations.
- The Self-Esteem Workbook. By Glenn R Schiraldi. Available as paperback in large print. Although six years old now, The Self-Esteem Workbook has brought together the authors’ research and resources into a self-contained self directed guide, covering twenty activities to lead to achieving healthy self-esteem. Very good.
- Six Pillars Of Self-Esteem. By Nathaniel Branden Ph.D. Available in paperback, hardcover, audio cassette, audio book and Kindle edition. Split into three parts, part one explains why self-esteem is so important to our psychological health, achievement and positive relationships. Part two introduces the ‘six pillars’ or six practices. Including exercises to build personal awareness. Part three looks at five key areas of life and the importance of self-esteem within these areas. Recommended.
My Suggestion for the Younger Reader
The Art of Being a Brilliant Teenager. By Andy Cope, Andy Whittaker, Darrell Woodman and Amy Bradley. Available in paperback, audiobook, mp3 CD and Kindle edition. It is easy to see why this is the best-seller, easy to read with plenty of comic style illustrations and helps you to become your very best self – and figure out what that is. A great book for all teenagers and those caring for teenagers.
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There we go, my five top recommendations for self-help books to help boost self-esteem. Hopefully I have provided a short explanation on what low self-esteem is, what may cause it and the affect it can have on us.
What do you think? Do you have any recommendations of your own or examples you would be willing to share? Please comment below, it would be great to hear from you.
All the best