What are Self-Confidence and Self-Esteem?
Self-confidence can be defined as having belief or trust in yourself and your abilities.
Self-esteem can be defined as the belief of your own worth or personal value.
They can be linked to many different mental health problems, often being the bit “behind the scenes” that is the true root of the problem. This is especially true if it’s something that keeps occurring again and again. Take them down to the bare bones and the phrases “I’m not capable” or “I’m not good enough” will come up.
How do they fit into the world of mental health problems?
Depression can often have a root of a lack of self-esteem. A feeling that someone isn’t “good enough” and that won’t change so what’s the point in bothering any more?
Anxiety can often have a root in a lack of self-confidence. A feeling that they “can’t do that” and that things will go wrong if they try.
Both are “protection” behaviours – the brain wants to keep you safe and usually that’s a good thing. Sometimes though, the way it does that isn’t ideal. Trying new things, or even keeping on doing something you’re already doing to a great standard can be tough. It’s a position of uncertainty, and the brain doesn’t like that, it likes things that are solid and certain. The risk that by trying something new, or keeping doing something that doesn’t quite seem enough, but just might lead to e.g. promotion in the future because it’s consistent, creates a prolonged state of uncertainty that the brain tries to settle in to a state of certainty. So it begins to reinterpret things.
You might find yourself thinking “What’s the point of trying something, it never gets me anywhere?” or “I can’t do that, I always get things wrong.”. And you start to believe it. But it’s not true.
So how does knowing that help?
“Never” and “always” are generalisations. If you begin to think about your life in a wider context, you’ll realise that. You might have tried a different route to work, because the road was shut. It was new and you tried it, and it got you there. You might have gone round the supermarket in a different direction from usual because you were following your shopping list rather than just wandering the aisles. It wasn’t “wrong” to do it in that different way, it was just different – you still succeeded in getting all your shopping. It doesn’t matter that it was a small and trivial thing, it was still something.
But if I know that, how does Hypnotherapy help?
Sometimes, we all need a bit of help or encouragement to do something that’s difficult. And changing your mindset into recognising the positive things again can be difficult because it’s going against your brain’s protective measures. Sometimes we just need a bit of reassurance that what we’re trying to do is safe. Sometimes we need someone to hold us to account to give us the motivation to get through it. And sometimes we just need the odd nudge here and there to start recognising the positive things we achieve by being in this state of uncertainty, instead of focusing on the negatives. Hypnotherapy is great at nudges towards noticing something, or perhaps paying less attention to other things. Plus, the support of a therapist whilst you work through it can be that point of safety that you need until you feel secure again in yourself. If you want to find out more, please contact me.