How do psychologists boost their own self-esteem? Three leading experts share the strategies they use to feel happier and more self-assured.
Method: Take small steps to success
Who uses it
Clinical psychologist and relationship expert, Dr Cecilia d’Felice
When I was younger, I didn’t feel confident enough to go to university, so I got married instead. I later regretted it, but still put it off.
Eventually I started with small steps, just doing a few short courses. Then in my early 30s, I finally went to university to study psychology.
I was anxious but thought- I’m just going to get on with it. Even though I was older than the other students and had children, I loved it. I spent the next 10 years studying while the children were at school and after they went to bed, until finally I got my PhD. Now I run a team of 17 people and love my job.
Method: Be true to your feelings
Who uses it
Psychotherapist and writer, Susie Orbach
Sometimes I feel totally overwhelmed with work and battle to get anything done.
Instead of trying to deny the feelings of anxiety, I tell myself, “Okay, accept you’re feeling overwhelmed and just work your way through things step by step”. I try to have a harmonious relationship with whatever I’m feeling, and accept those feelings are legitimate rather than trying to cheat them.
I want to express my feelings, so whenever I have a major challenge, I accept that I might feel scared, but that’s part of what keeps life interesting.
Before going on stage to give a talk to thousands of people, I’ll tell myself, “This is a challenge, it’s scary, it’s exciting, but remember you have lots of things to share with those people.”
The truth is, you won’t build confidence if you keep pretending you’re feeling different from how you really are. Your self-esteem can only be high if it’s based on truth.
Method: Detach from yourself as a witness
Who uses it
Psychologist and counsellor, Lynda Field
In the past, if I didn’t hear back from someone about a work project, I’d be down-hearted.
Now I step back, look at the situation objectively as a witness and remind myself, “It doesn’t mean I’m no good.” Recently I submitted a proposal to a company about a major project.
I was invited to a meeting but three weeks later, I still hadn’t heard anything. So I detached myself from the situation and thought logically, “Perhaps they didn’t get the funding they needed or it just wasn’t meant to be.” The bottom line is you shouldn’t attach your self-worth to external factors, such as potential jobs or other people’s opinions.