Inspired by Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty, Ontario Psychotherapist, Thomson Scarlett, Provides Strategies for Individuals with Low Self Esteem

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As highlighted in Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty, people with low self esteem develop negative thinking, and self-destructive attitudes. Thomson Scarlett, a Psychotherapist at Sounding Board Counselling Services, provides strategies on how to expose the inaccuracies associated with low self esteem.

Improving one’s self esteem is an ongoing lesson for many.

In 2013, Dove released a commercial that consisted of several women describing themselves to a forensic sketch artist. However, this campaign is only the tip of the iceberg. Low self esteem impacts many different people in society including, but not limited to: women, men, children, the elderly and ethnic minorities.

Self-esteem can be defined as how one values their own worth or abilities. In this age of social media, the general public has access to an abundance of information at the click of a mouse. Anyone can find anything they want on Google or Yahoo. People also spend hours on Facebook looking at profiles of others. Additionally, there is exposure to advertising on how one should look or act. As a result, people develop an unrealistic sense of how society should be.

In many situations, people have the general concern of what others think. Whether it is fear of being judged or a fear of rejection, people have a tendency to be self-conscious. How many times has one failed to express their true opinion? How many times has one attended a party and acted a specific way in order to fit in? How many times is one fearful of saying, “I don’t know the answer” or “Can you explain this again”?

Individuals become self-conscious of their own opinions or special interests. If what they do or think is not considered to be mainstream, then these individuals can become sad and feel they cannot genuinely express themselves without being judged. This impacts their self-esteem which results in questioning their own worth and negatively labelling their identity. Over time, people develop attitudes that are self-destructive. They have a tendency to discount their own accomplishments or achievements. They tend to dwell on the negatives and begin to jump to conclusions on how others will perceive them.

So how can this damaging way of thinking be overcome? How can self-worth be improved? There are no quick answers or solutions. Improving one’s self esteem is an ongoing lesson for many.

First, it is critical for one to genuinely learn how to accept themselves. They do this by recognizing that it is them and no one else who lives their lives. Every person has to get up, go to work, and use their blood, sweat and tears to get through a difficult day. Any neighbour, colleague, family member or friend is not completing these tasks for them.

Second, an individual’s opinion and behaviours must reflect who a person is and not what others want them to be. Others will always have an opinion about something. Others will always say how things should look. However, it is important on how one embraces it. Carefully considering another person’s opinion is very different than having unconditional faith in what others say.

Finally, it is also important to step back and look at why others may have expressed judgement or have given unsolicited advice. What is going on in their lives right now? Do they have the expertise to provide this advice? Are their opinions more reflective of their own experience or situation? Does it appear that providing unsolicited advice a natural part of their personality?

All people are on this earth for a number of years before they perish. A life is one chance for happiness and satisfaction. People should live their lives according to their own terms while still carefully considering and evaluating the advice and judgement from others.    

Thomson Scarlett is a Psychotherapist who has been helping individuals and couples for the past six years in private practice and is the founder of Sounding Board Counselling Services. Sounding Board Counselling Services is a private practice that provides individual and couples counselling at affordable rates in the Hamilton and Toronto area. Sounding Board therapists use humanistic and cognitive behavioural approaches and address such areas as low self esteem, depression, anxiety, communication skills and anger management. Visit Sounding Board Counselling Services online at:

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