I have had many clients that sought me for helping to increase their self-esteem. Almost all the time, the real issue is much deeper than wanting to build a more positive self-esteem. When I perform a thorough assessment of their negative thoughts, assumptions, and core beliefs, I help them go back and remember their childhood. I asked them to repeat what they thought of themselves as children, what their parents called them or each other, or if there was any emotional, physical or sexual abuse. Usually the answer is yes to one or more of the above.

Those are the same messages, they tell themselves as adults. They are now their own critics. The critic is always inside their mind and belittles and humiliates them. The key to healing is to recognize and disarm the critics. It’s only then that they are free to forgive the critics, forgive themselves, let go of the shame and embarrassment, and start the healing process.

Roya Haghighat, MS, LMFT