Low Self-Esteem Treatment Plan – 11 Helpful Techniques (2024)

Low self-esteem hinders growth and happiness. It keeps you focused on how bad you are, how worthless you are, and all kinds of negative thoughts. 

However, through the following low self-esteem treatment plan techniques, you can attain healthy self-esteem. 

But before you start reading, understand the nature of self-esteem through the video below:

Let’s dive right into it.

Low Self-Esteem Treatment Plan
Image from Canva

1. Identify Self-Defeating Thought Patterns

When you keep thinking negative things about yourself, you’ll keep feeling negative emotions. That’s how you keep experiencing low self-esteem.

Therefore, unless you know what these thoughts are, you can’t see their relationship with the emotions you’re feeling to retrain your mind to develop healthy self-esteem. So let’s trace back from the emotions.

  • Do you feel worthless? 
  • Do you feel like you have to earn love? 
  • Do you feel like you’re bad and you can’t change it? 

So what thoughts make you feel that way? Anytime you feel these emotions, trace back to what you’re thinking.

2. Determine Psychological Roots

Negative statements in your mind don’t always make you feel bad. Some make you feel empathy, compassion, love, and all kinds of positive feelings. This is because you pass these thoughts through a filter called belief in order to feel an emotion. That belief is the psychological root of your emotional experiences.

So when you feel a particular emotion because of a certain thought, ask “Why?”

Why do I feel like I have to earn love? Is it because my parents only told me they love me when I passed my exams? Is it because they only told us we’re amazing when we scored straight As?

Many people are conditioned with a negative self-image by their family, teachers, school bullies, society, and workmates among others. They carry this image of themselves and keep processing information through it hence reinforcing low self-esteem. Therefore, look into where the belief making you feel low came from. 

Related Articles on Self Confidence

3. Develop Self Compassion

You’re frequently told to be kind to yourself. Yet if you have self-esteem issues, chances are, you might think you don’t deserve kindness.

But you have to understand that you’re human. Doing a bad thing doesn’t make you a bad person, it makes you flawed. Also, doing a good thing doesn’t make you flawless, it reveals your ability to do good. Therefore, we all simply strive to express our goodness. When we err, we pick ourselves up and continue trying to do good. It’s the best we can do.

Think about it this way; when your friend does something bad, would you tell them they’re a naturally horrible person incapable of doing anything right? I doubt you would. Chances are, you’d point out the bad choices they’ve made and encourage them to do better. 

In the same manner you’d like to talk to your beloved friend, give yourself a similar self-talk.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

4. Challenge the Negative Thoughts

When you repeat a thought in your mind over time, it becomes a belief. Remember, this belief forms a basis for your self-esteem. Fortunately, through  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), you can change your thinking to change beliefs and alter your reality.

So in this technique, you have to challenge the thoughts that are making you feel down. For example, if your negative self-talk goes like, “I can’t do anything right,” reject it and recall evidence of times you were successful at what you did, no matter how small.

Learn to challenge your negative thoughts by rewriting your life story to shift your beliefs and change your life.

5. Battle Compare Despair

If you have low self-esteem, chances are, you keep comparing yourself to other people only to feel bad for coming short.

Negative comparison is a consistent reality in someone with low self-esteem. It keeps them from achieving what they want and also from staying happy with what they have. You can check out this article on the compare despair cycle to find solutions to this problem.

6. Starve the Negative Thoughts

Since negative thoughts create negative beliefs which in turn degrade your self-esteem, you have to inhibit their presence by starving them. What does this mean?

See, negative thoughts are fed by negative ideas. Being around perpetually negative news, friends, and other toxic environments develops negative perspectives. 

So to attain positive views of the world and of yourself, you might have to get away from your toxic home when you can, reduce your news consumption, get away from social media, and even some of your friends who make you feel bad about yourself.

Eliminate negativity in your life in whatever manner possible so you can have a chance to develop positive thoughts, positive beliefs and subsequently, raise your self-esteem.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

7. Master Positive Thinking

After starving your negative sources of information, you remain with a void. If you don’t do anything to fill that void, you’ll easily get sucked back into negative thoughts.

To overcome negative thinking, you need to start surrounding yourself with positive people, reading positive views of the world and you’ll start growing, forgetting your negative beliefs gradually. To attain positive thinking, check out How to Feed Your Mind For Growth.

8. Take Care of Yourself

It’s easy for someone with low self-esteem to completely let go of themselves. “After all,” they think, “it’s all pointless.” They might neglect their appearance, underutilize their intellectual potential, and refuse to follow rules among other rebellious behaviors.

However, regaining your self-esteem doesn’t mean you stop caring about your self-image altogether. It means you start caring about yourself without obsessing over what other people think of you.

Therefore, determine how best to present yourself and show up to the world expressing yourself with confidence.

9. Acknowledge and Accept Our Diverse Purposes

Be attentive to this technique for it gives you a clearer foundation of your self-esteem.

Each individual is meant to occupy a role in impacting humanity. Some are meant to do it in significant ways, others in supportive roles. Some to be leaders, others as followers. Along with these roles are qualities for helping them carry out the tasks required. They may be beauty, intellect, charisma, and many others that help each excel in their area of specialty.

However, society conditions many to believe some people are better than others (based on their roles and qualities) which pressures them to develop self-esteem-shattering comparisons. When you start looking at someone else’s role, wishing you were like them, you lose focus on your role and get into the low self-esteem rabbit role. But you’re smarter than that.

You’re here for a reason and those reasons are aligned with your interests. When you do your best to apply your natural talents and acquired abilities to those interests, you’ll become proud of who you are not because others validate you but because your sense of self is established.

The truth is, you’re worthy of success, happiness, and all good things in life as long as you keep finding and occupying positions that fit your interests. 

10. Deal with Criticism Smartly

Low self-esteem makes you accept most criticism as true and it affects you negatively. However, you must understand how to deal with criticism in a healthy manner.

Here are some steps to take when getting criticism:

  1. Listen and understand: Instead of getting all defensive about something said, listen attentively to get what’s being said so you can objectively evaluate it.
  2. Politely respond: If you think the criticism is unfair, you can graciously stand up to the person or you can instead tell them, “I’ll think about it,” “Maybe you’re right” to give yourself space to think further.
  3. Take constructive criticism: If they’re saying something that you could work on, acknowledge it and change.
  4. Avoid overthinking: Instead of ruminating over what someone said, find solutions, speak to someone about it or move on from the worry before it solidifies to create anxiety

The difference between those with high and low self-esteem is that the former can take constructive criticism and ignore unfair criticism while the latter mostly ruminates the negativity.

Photo by Alex Green from Pexels 

11. Acknowledge and Focus on Your Progress

As someone with low self-esteem, it’s easy to overlook the great things you’ve been able to do. However, acknowledging progress is the beginning of realizing your worth.

Instead of believing that you have fixed abilities and fixed outcomes, start acknowledging the times you’ve amassed new abilities and were able to achieve better outcomes. Keep your eyes on the progress you’ve made and focus on the progress you want to make in the future.

Your Low Self-Esteem Questions Answered

Before you go, understand self-esteem more by going through these common questions most clients ask.

What is the best therapy for low self-esteem?

One of the best therapies for low self-esteem is cognitive behavioral therapy. However, others like Competitive Memory Training (COMET), compassion-based therapy, and psychodynamic therapy work great for self-esteem patients as well.

How do you treat low self-esteem?

Using the treatment plan techniques above, you can treat self-esteem. The steps help people recognize their self-worth, love themselves, and also deem themselves worth loving.

What is self-esteem therapy?

This is a combination of science-backed techniques to help you restore a positive self-image with confidence regarding your abilities to handle life’s challenges. Therapists, coaches, and other psychology professionals use it as a treatment for low self-esteem.

What are 4 ways to improve self-esteem?

You can improve self-esteem by boosting self-confidence, creating a positive identity, promoting a sense of belonging, and believing in your competence through these 11 techniques.

Before you go, check out this video to visualize how to use these techniques in your life.


Final Word

Low self-esteem is the killer of dreams and happiness. But with these techniques, you can boost your self-image and live up to your potential. If you have unbearable mental health problems, it’s best to seek help from a professional.

Love what you just read? Comment and share this guide to change lives.

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About The Author

Bijan Kholghi is a certified life coach with the Milton Erickson Institute Heidelberg (Germany). He helps clients and couples reach breakthroughs in their lives by changing subconscious patterns. His solution-oriented approach is based on Systemic- and Hypnotherapy.