African Americans and Counseling
September 10, 2015
Life Transition
September 10, 2015
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Self Esteem

Self Esteem

Article by M. Joy Young, LCSW, ACSW Portland Oregon
(503) 309-1163

Do you criticize yourself about the way you look, your weight, or some personality trait that you just don’t like?

Do you spend a lot of time comparing yourself with others?

Do you rehearse, scrutinize, or obsess about things you have said, done or thought?

Do you dream of doing something you feel passionate about but feel “not good enough” to even try?

Do you minimize your accomplishments, abilities, goals?

In our culture there are many who suffer from compromised self esteem and self worth. Our culture rewards those who appear self assured, confident, and bold no matter if those attributes are inauthentic, grandiose, or disingenuous.


Many people know that you can’t really fake liking yourself yet we try to all the time. Exaggerated and compulsive consumerism, bravado, intellectual one-upmanship, put downs of others, superior attitude, and lots of other emotional masquerading can be a defense for compromised or low self esteem. Somehow we seem to believe that if we look good on the outside then we are okay on the inside. Wrong.

Tricking yourself into believing that all of this equals good self esteem doesn’t work for the long haul. It is as if our hearts know this already. We have an intuitive understanding of what real self esteem is and what it takes to have it. Self understanding, compassion, emotional maturity, personal development this is the stuff of real self esteem and requires real inner work. That means time, slowing down, effort, and commitment. And guess what? Because we intuitively know it is a lot of work we rebel against it with all our might.

Well balanced, authentic, and lasting self esteem takes inner work and there is no substitute for the real thing. At some point you just have to do the work

If you are someone who has tried the “fake it till you make it” way or some other types of quick consumer route like compulsive shopping, excessive working out, alcohol, prescription medications, drugs, or some other external thing as a way to gain better self esteem or even just to tolerate yourself better but realize that it doesn’t work then you are probably ready to start looking within, and a good counselor who is not going to label you can help…

No more fakin’

It may be surprising to you that many people who appear self assured and confident do not necessarily feel that way inside all the time or necessarily have good self esteem.

Our culture supports appearances not authenticity. So many people can pretend to feel good about them selves or proclaim liking themselves without having to actually mean it, prove it, or be it. Many do not even know what they really feel inside because they never take the time to find out.

I offer professional counseling to help you…

  • Understand and explore how you define real self esteem
  • Practice skills that can increase self worth
  • Gain insight and understanding about harmful patterns that keep you disliking yourself
  • Explore your relationship with the larger culture and ideas of self esteem, worth and values.
  • Increase your sense of self esteem and self worth.

As a professional counselor I know the challenges we all face. It is difficult to move towards self acceptance, loving all the parts of your self, and moderating anger towards others and a culture obsessed with consumerism and saturated with fake self esteem amongst many other issues – These are all obstacles that can keep you from discovering and practicing real self esteem.

If you are ready to love yourself more and embrace who you really are, not a fake or superficial imitation but the real YOU, contact Joy at (503) 309-1163 and lets talk about how we can begin a respectful and non-labeling counseling relationship.

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