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  • Writer's pictureFiona Hewkin Counselling

How Counselling can Improve Your Self-Esteem

How to improve your self-esteem

This blog will look at what self-esteem is and how to improve it. Simple ways to improve your self esteem and live a happier and more fulfilling life.

Having good self-esteem or self-image is fundamental to our wellbeing. It changes how we see ourselves and how we relate to the world. It impacts our mental health our relationships and our overall quality of life.

Low self-esteem can cause anxiety, depression, and a lack of self-confidence. Thankfully counselling can play a large role in helping us build a healthier self-image. Read on to see how counselling can your self-esteem

Self Esteem. Fiona Hewkin Counselling
Scrabble pieces saying Self Esteem

What is Self-Esteem?

Self-esteem is our concept of self-worth and self-value. It is literally what we think and feel about ourselves. This includes self-acceptance, self confidence, and self-respect. High self-esteem is shown by a positive self-image, whereas people with low self-esteem-often encounter self-doubt, negative self-talk, and self-criticism.

Negative Beliefs

Negative beliefs about ourselves are often at the core of low self-esteem. Very often these are rooted in childhood, especially if we have experienced difficult or neglectful childhoods. As children we believe what our parents tell us, that is a basic survival skill. Unfortunately, the messages we hear about ourselves often aren’t true. Parents don’t need to explicitly say “you are bad” or “you are ugly”, as children we often pick up on what isn’t said. We get a sense of who we are and our worth from the way our parents respond to us. Counselling can allow us to drag these implicit, often unspoken beliefs into the light and let us ask a fundamental question, is this actually true.

Addressing Past Trauma

For some of us past traumas can significantly impact our self-esteem. Counselling with a trained trauma therapist can provide a safe place process these trauma memories.

Building Self -Compassion

This is vital to self-esteem. Most of us would benefit from having a much kinder relationship with ourselves. Many of us are overly critical of ourselves. The key to self-compassion is to try and treat ourselves in the same way we would treat a valued friend. Which brings us on to self-talk!


When we become aware of how we speak to ourselves, it can be quite shocking. How often have you called yourself a silly cow for making a mistake? Called yourself stupid? Been exasperated with yourself?

Seriously, would you talk to your best mate like that? If I spoke to my friends, the way I sometimes talk to myself I wouldn’t have any friends left!

Changing my self-talk has been one of the hardest and yet most powerful things I have ever done for myself. I can reframe “oh you daft bint you got that wrong” to “I am human I am allowed to make mistakes”. My counsellor was excellent at pointing out when I was talking to myself harshly.

Setting Realistic Goals

Setting and achieving realistic goals is a fairly crucial aspect of building self-esteem. Achievable is the key here. Don’t set yourself up to fail. If you can barely walk round the block aiming to climb Kilimanjaro next month is not an achievable goal.

Improve Your Self-Care.

If we think we are rubbish, we are not likely to take care of ourselves well. Self-care is integral to improving self-esteem, and it’s not all about bubble baths and spa days. It can be as simple as eating right, getting enough sleep, and doing a bit of exercise.

Find something you like doing, that makes you smile and do more of it. I know we are all busy but make the time.

Get Creative

Self-expression through art or creative activities is so good for us. You don’t even have to be any good at it! Studies suggest that just looking at art can make us feel better! Take a look at my blog about why art is good for us if you don’t believe me.

If we let go of the idea that art or creativity must be “good” it can be so much fun. Here is a terrible painting of a pig that I did a while back to prove my point! It’s pretty ropey, but I had fun doing it.

Self esteem. Watercolour Pig. Fiona Hewkin Counselling
Beginners water colour painting of a pig

Cultivate Positive Relationships

So often we see ourselves through the eyes of others. How other people treat us can confirm what we think about ourselves. If that’s the case, isn’t it quite important that we surround ourselves with people who make us feel good about ourselves? Let’s hang out with the people who think the very best of us!

Do Estimable Things

A wise man once told me that to have self-esteem I needed to do estimable things. If we are doing stuff that does not align with our core values, we are not going to feel good about ourselves. It’s worth giving that some thought.

Continuous Process

Building our self esteem is a continuous process., but one that is so worth undertaking. It’s lifetimes work really. Do feel free to get in touch via the

contact page if you would like to address any of the things in this blog.


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