Self-confidence & Self-esteem

Creating a positive sense of self

“Self-confidence” is an attitude we hold about our own ability to achieve and to make good judgments. When we have healthy self-confidence, we set realistic yet positive expectations for ourselves. We know our limitations, but still have faith in our abilities even when our expectations are not met. We trust that we are able to make good decisions for ourselves and do not often feel the need to question our judgement or seek approval from others before going ahead with our plans.

At some point in our lives everyone will have moments where we do not feel confident in ourselves or our abilities. When these attitudes persist they can have a debilitating effect on our motivation, performance and sense of self.

As children move into adolescence and then adulthood, their sense of self is constantly changing. Unsure of who they are and what they want from life, young people often feel lost and question what they may be capable of.

What can cause low self-confidence?

The most common causes of low self-confidence are:

  • Unrealistic expectations and demands
  • Overly critical parents and teachers
  • Bullying and teasing by peers
  • Past experiences of failure

Sometimes however, despite all the positive encouragement they are given, children and young people still struggle with self-confidence.

Low self-confidence is not always associated with lack of ability

When people set expectations for themselves, or attempt to meet others expectations, that are unrealistic, they may feel as though they have failed or their efforts were not good enough. From an outsider’s perspective, these people are consistently achieving, often above what is necessary. Despite this, the inner perfectionist tells them that they have failed to meet expectations, and therefore what they have achieved is not good enough.

Lack of performance is not always an indicator of a person’s ability

If they believe that they are not capable of succeeding, often a child will lack the motivation to push themselves. They will tell themselves that they wouldn’t be able to do it anyway, so why should they bother. These limiting self-beliefs can often cause a child to be quiet and withdrawn. They may shy away from any opportunity which they perceive may cause them to be judged, such as speaking in front of the class or getting involved with extra-curricular activities.

Not all children with low self-confidence will behave in this manner however. Sometimes the least confident children are the loud ones, the troublemakers in the classroom. They will act as though academic performance is not important to them, as a way of protecting themselves from potential failings. Their foolish behaviour is their way of avoiding judgement from their peers and teachers when they do not meet expectations. This ensures that their performance is not taken as a reflection of their ability, but rather that they didn’t care enough to put the effort in.

This can be very frustrating for parents and teachers as they can see that the child has so much untapped potential, if only he or she would try harder. It is important to set realistic expectations for their achievement, but also to remember that the child may not share your beliefs about their ability. A lack of confidence in themselves could be holding them back from reaching their potential.

Self Esteem

“Self-esteem” is how we feel about ourselves. It is a judgement we make and the beliefs we hold about our personal worth. When we have healthy self-esteem, we perceive ourselves to be worthy of happiness, love and affection. We feel as though we are valued by others, and are deserving of their time and acceptance. When a mistake is made or we experience failure, we are still able to view ourselves positively.

Low self-esteem often stems from insecurity, a feeling that in some crucial way we are inferior to others. Physical appearance is a source of insecurity for many people, in particular weight, height, skin and hair colour. Peer pressure and bullying often contribute to the development of low self-esteem. Such negative personal attacks often leave a young person feeling rejected by their peers. This rejection is then internalised, leading them to believe that they are unworthy of others attentions.

People with low self-esteem are often:

  • Overly critical of themselves
  • Hypersensitive to perceived criticism or rejection from others
  • Dissatisfied with their achievements
  • Indecisive as they fear making mistakes

Low self-esteem can make it difficult for young people to interact socially with others. Because they view themselves in a negative light, it is often hard for them to believe that they will be liked and accepted by others. If they have had experiences with bullying or rejection in the past, they may also struggle to form close relationships because they feel unable to trust other people.

People with low self-esteem often over conform in an attempt to be accepted by others. They find it challenging to stand up for themselves and their opinions because they fear that in doing so they will be rejected. Consequently they may go along with things that they do not agree with or find uncomfortable to gain acceptance.

Some mental illnesses, such as depression and mood disorders, can contribute to the development of low self-esteem.

Lyn Nicholls Family Therapist/ Counsellor

A practical and supportive family therapy service for parents and children, to help empower all members of the family to have an easier and more enjoyable life.

Locations

  • Central Auckland
  • North Shore

Specialities

  • Anger
  • Anxiety, Fears & Phobias
  • Behaviour Concerns
  • Self-confidence & Self-esteem
  • Trauma & Grief
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The Kids Coach

Inspired Kids coaching, classes and resources, brought to you by The Kids Coach, are designed to empower children and help them develop the mindsets, skillsets and tools they need to thrive in the modern world.

Locations

  • Central Auckland
  • East Coast Bays
  • North Shore

Specialities

  • Anger
  • Anxiety, Fears & Phobias
  • Bullying
  • Family Relationships
  • Self-confidence & Self-esteem
  • Social Skills
  • Teacher & Parent Education
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Howick Village Optometrists

A friendly, family-owned practice providing diagnostic assessments and solutions for your child’s eye health and vision challenges.

Location

  • East Auckland

Specialities

  • Eyesight
  • Self-confidence & Self-esteem
  • Testing for Learning Concerns
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Anne Doyle – Cranial Osteopath

With 20 years’ experience in Cranial Osteopathy, Anne works in a unique way to gently address and support your child's physical, psychological and spiritual needs, using a wide range of techniques to assist in supporting change.

Location

  • West Auckland

Specialities

  • Anxiety, Fears & Phobias
  • Behaviour Concerns
  • Bones, Muscles & Joints
  • Digestive Disorders
  • Self-confidence & Self-esteem
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Mary Ashby-Green

Specialising in children struggling at school with learning, dyslexia, behaviour & anxiety, Mary can help your child thrive with a toolbox of strategies to make life & learning fun again.

Location

  • Rodney

Specialities

  • Anxiety, Fears & Phobias
  • Behaviour Concerns
  • Bullying
  • Reading
  • Self-confidence & Self-esteem
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Kereru Psychotherapy & Counselling

Are you battling with a situation you need to discuss in a supportive environment? We believe that with specialised support, children, young people and their families can discover the strength to endure the toughest of times.

Location

  • North Shore

Specialities

  • Anxiety, Fears & Phobias
  • Bullying
  • Family Relationships
  • Parenting Skills
  • Self-confidence & Self-esteem
  • Trauma & Grief
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Carol-Anne Begbie

Counselling for children, young people, adults & families. Gain insight, overcome obtstacles and develop strategies to cope with family issues, anger, anxiety, trauma & grief. Individualised, specialised, safe, confidential!

Location

  • North Shore

Specialities

  • Anger
  • Anxiety, Fears & Phobias
  • Family Relationships
  • Self-confidence & Self-esteem
  • Trauma & Grief
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Paterson Burn Optometrists – Waiuku

At Paterson Burn we care about encouraging good eye health in every sense which is why we aim to be leaders in the New Zealand optics industry by following a simple principle, to focus on you and your family, providing comprehensive and advanced eye examinations and treatments.

Location

  • Hamilton

Specialities

  • Eyesight
  • Self-confidence & Self-esteem
  • Testing for Learning Concerns
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New Zealand Girls Choir

At the New Zealand Girls Choir, we thoroughly believe everyone has the ability to sing and that everyone deserves to be heard. It is our goal to inspire, challenge, create and build confidence in a nurturing and supportive environment where young girls can understand their voice and how to take control of their place in this world.

Location

  • North Shore

Specialities

  • Music
  • Self-confidence & Self-esteem
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Rocket Ropes

Rocket Ropes is a high ropes adventure park offering a unique mix of exciting aerial challenges for all ages, across low and high ropes. A thrilling and challenging fun day out for the whole family!

Location

  • South Auckland

Specialities

  • Coordination, Motor Skills & Mobility
  • Outdoor Sports & Activities
  • Self-confidence & Self-esteem
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