“Depression often distorts thinking, making a once-confident person feel insecure, negative and self-loathing,” said Deborah Serani, Psy.D, a clinical psychologist and author of the book Living with Depression.
Past positive or neutral thoughts become “I am incompetent,” “I suck at everything,” or “I hate myself,’” according to clinical psychologist Dean Parker, Ph.D.
(On the other hand, “High self-esteem is associated with certain positive cognitions or beliefs, such as ‘I am good,’ ‘I am a success,’ [or] ‘I am valuable to others,’” he said.)
While low self-esteem may be deeply rooted, you can start chipping away at the layers of loathing. Each day, you can engage in an activity that improves your self-esteem. Below, Serani and Parker share their tips on strengthening self-esteem, whether it’s in the moment or over time.
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