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Low Self Esteem, Self Acceptance and REBT

6 Jan

According to Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT), one of the main schools of cognitive behaviour therapy offering a humanistic and philosophic model, low self-esteem occurs when a person makes a demand on himself or herself, others or the world that is not met and then self-depreciates in some way.

The following are examples of themes that are commonly involved in low self-esteem. These themes are inferential in nature and people react to them as if they are true, whether they are or not.

* Failing to achieve an important target or goal.

* Acting incompetently (in public or private).

* Falling short of one’s ideal.

* Failing to live up to one’s standards.

* Breaking one’s ethical code.

* Being criticised.

* Being ridiculed.

* Not being accepted, approved, appreciated or loved by significant others.


According to REBT theory, people do not disturb themselves about events because of the assumptions they make about these events; rather they disturb themselves because they hold irrational or unhealthy beliefs about these events. When low self-esteem predominates in people’s problems, their unhealthy or irrational beliefs largely take the form of rigid demands and self-depreciation beliefs. Albert Ellis has argued that self-depreciation beliefs are derived from rigid demands. Rigid demands are essentially non acceptance beliefs.


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There are four types of unhealthy or irrational beliefs that disturb you and four corresponding health beliefs that can help you become rational in the face of life’s adversities.

Those beliefs are:


A demand is the rigid expression of a desire for something and takes the form of an absolute such as ‘must,’ ‘I have to’, ‘I absolutely should’ e.g. ‘I must not fail’.


‘Awfulising’ is an unrealistic rating of how bad it is that your demand has or has not been met. The badness of the situation is rated at 100% or more bad. You believe that it is the worst thing that you can ever experience. e.g. ‘it’s awful that I failed’.

Low Frustration Tolerance

Also known as LFT, this is an irrational rating of your ability to handle or cope with difficulty or frustration e.g. ‘I cannot tolerate failure’.

Self/Other/World Damning

This is a global negative rating of the self, other people and, even, the world around you. The self/other or the world is rated as ‘totally bad’, ‘total failure’ and so on e.g. ‘I am a failure or worthless because I failed’.

Each unhealthy belief will have a corresponding healthy alternative.

According to REBT theory, self acceptance or unconditional self-acceptance is the healthy alternative to self-depreciation or low self-esteem. Unconditional self-acceptance is found when people hold healthy beliefs. These are desires about the way they want themselves, others and the world to be, but which are not then transformed into rigid demands.

At The College of Cognitive Behavioural Therapies we specialise in accredited courses in REBT. To learn more please see more information on our website

How do you rate your own Self Esteem?

8 Jun

The College of Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy (CCBH) has carried out a number of surveys into self esteem over the past 12 months, and what is constantly interesting to see and understand is how people rate their own self esteem; what they believe self esteem to be and of course, the factors in our lives that we feel influence our self esteem. There is currently a Self Esteem questionnaire running on the CCBH website right now, so please take just a few moments to complete it, and then come back to this blog post.

If you are a keen reader of this blog then you will already have read a few posts on Self Esteem. You can have a look at some of the findings of a previous questionnaire and read the corresponding blog post here. That post focuses on the male or female differences and similarities in terms of self esteem, however this post is more about how we rate our own self esteem, and the factors we believe that influence it.

Solving Self Esteem: It's actually about Self Acceptance

Solving Self Esteem: It’s actually about Self Acceptance

How do I measure my Self Esteem?

Many of us believe we know what self esteem is, but can we actually describe it? Do we actually know how to measure our self esteem?

Self esteem is influenced by our beliefs.  It is based on beliefs that evaluate the self based on certain conditions like success, failure, negative judgement and so on.   For example if someone judges themselves as worthless or a failure because they failed at something then they will have self esteem problems.  This means that they only rate themselves as worthwhile if they succeed.  This all or nothing measurement of the self is at the heart of self esteem problems.  Can you legitimately measure the human self?


In the College of Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy’s latest questionnaire on Self Esteem a number of key questions were asked to find out what impacts on our self esteem. 

Interestingly, there were 2 statements that had the biggest impact on self esteem, and these were the same for both males and females.

  • If I was wrong or made mistakes at work
  • When I am criticised or unappreciated

This means that many people put themselves down if they got things wrong or made mistakes at work and when they get criticised or were unappreciated.   Understanding these factors allows us to deal with problems of self esteem.

Self Esteem Problems

Low self esteem can lead to a host of mental health issues. Often low self esteem is linked to depression, self imposed isolation, feelings of rejection, insignificance and detachment, even a dissatisfaction with current social relationships.

It’s important to recognise low self esteem in oneself, but also in our friends and family members. A person with low self esteem may show some of the following characteristics:

  • Heavy self criticism and dissatisfaction
  • Hypersensitivity to criticism with resentment against critics and feelings of being attacked
  • Chronic indecision and an exaggerated fear of mistakes
  • Excessive will to please and unwillingness to displease others
  • Perfectionism, which can lead to frustration when perfection is not achieved
  • Neurotic guilt, dwelling on and exaggerating the magnitude of past mistakes
  • Floating hostility and general defensiveness
  • Pessimism and a general negative outlook
  • Envy

Solving Self Esteem: It’s about Self Acceptance

The concept of self esteem is psychologically harmful and wrong, striving for enhanced self esteem is quite unsound, and instead, we should strive for self acceptance. With this in mind, treating and solving self esteem problems is very possible by changing our responses to the factors that may influence our self esteem.  This is a concept that the College of Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy has been instructing on in Master Classes over the past 18 months. These Master Classes are open to anyone with an interest in solving self esteem problems, and they help provide the tools that allow us as individuals to move to self acceptance.


Self-esteem, relationships and our happiness

6 Mar

Do you know what things in life make you happy? More often than not, if we sit and think about that question, we often start to wonder what “happiness” really is…But that’s a different blog post.

Two important factors in our happiness are our own self-esteem and our relationships.

Self-esteem and relationships have a massive role in our happiness

Self-esteem and relationships, two factors of your happiness


The Happiness Survey

Measuring your happiness is tough, but that was something the College of Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy and Top Sante magazine attempted to do with a jointly held “happiness survey”.  The results showed that there are many influences on our happiness, but ultimately, we feel how we think. So, when unpleasant things happen or when we experience frustration and difficulty,  we have two sets of beliefs about them. Healthy or rational beliefs about the unpleasant things provoke sadness, annoyance or even regret, while unhealthy ones provoke unhealthy negative feelings anxiety, depression, guilt hurt etc.

You can read more on the Happiness survey here:



Our emotional state can have a big impact on our relationships, if your thoughts or beliefs about your partner are unhealthy, then your relationship will become unhealthy too. When it comes to relationships, we must remember that we are ultimately responsible for our own thoughts, feelings, our behaviours and the types of relationships we tolerate and or enjoy.

You can read more about investing in your relationships here:

Self esteem

There are many factors that play a part in our own self-esteem. In a previous blog post we explored these in more detail, see our post

Our own self-esteem can have a positive impact on other aspects of our lives, such as our relationships and happiness, but a low self-esteem can have equally as powerful negative impact on these areas of our lives.

Throughout life we all need to use different tools to take control and deal with self-esteem issues.  This can be hard, especially if you are the type of person who struggles with low self-esteem. The College of Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy is running a Master Class in dealing with self-esteem issues (the previous master class was very popular). For more information on this master class and the things and tools you will learn from it, please visit


Feel how you think…

The way in which we think is ultimately the way we feel. If we feel good, then our self-esteem, our relationships and our overall happiness all benefit.

All about self-esteem

23 Sep

Many of us think we know what self-esteem is, but do we? How does self-esteem impact our daily lives? Equally what things play a role in our self esteem, and are these things different between men and women, and do they change as we go through our lives?

People suffering with issues such as depression or anxiety often suffer from low self-esteem, so understanding self esteem is an important issue.

In a recent survey conducted by the College of Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy (CCBH), a number of self-esteem based questions were raised and the results were rather interesting…

Male Female divide

When asked to rank how you feel about your own self-esteem, there was a clear difference between the answers men gave to those of women (although we should point out at this point that 71% of the people who answered the survey were women). The average self esteem score for females was ranked at 5.66 (0 being no self esteem and 10 being the highest amount). The average score for men was higher, at 5.8, so there wasn’t a large difference between the two.

Noticeably, there is was small difference between men and women when it came to financial situation. Men were slightly more concerned with this, and 53% stated that this has a big impact on their self esteem and 50% of women agreed.

When it came to body shape, 59% of women stated it had an impact on their self esteem; men were less worried, with only 45% stating their self esteem is impacted by their body shape and size.  27% of men surveyed said not being as slim as they would like, had an impact on their self esteem, whereas 46% of women said it had an impact. Yet more men (48%) stated that if someone doesn’t find them
attractive, then it had an impact on their self esteem, while only 33% of women said it had an impact on them. This is interesting then – could women’s self-esteem be affected more by how they view their own appearance, while men’s is affected more by how they think others view them? What do you think?

When we look at being happy in a relationship, 54% of women stated this had an impact on their self esteem, while only 45% of men agreed.

Another big divide though is shown when we look at how our self esteem is effected by having someone criticise us, or when we are unappreciated. 63% of men said this had an effect on them, while a whopping 77% of women said it played a big part in their self esteem.

Where are men and women similar?

It seems when it comes to work, the differences between men and women are far smaller.

67% of females surveyed stated that making a mistake at work had a big impact on their self esteem. The figure for men wasn’t that different; with 65% agreeing. Regarding success in work, the difference between men and women, was again very small. 62% of women felt success at work had an impact on their self esteem, and 60% of men surveyed agreed with.

Interestingly, being single had a similar impact on self esteem for both men and women, with around 22% being questioned stating it had an impact.

Does age make a difference?

More women took the time to enter the survey, and as such, CCBH looked at different responses to answers based on their age ranges. Focusing in on the 26-35 year old females, we notice different impacts on their self esteem, compared to the full age range of female respondents (26-70+).

Looking at the workplace, it was interesting that both age groups had similar views on how success or failure at work impacted their self esteem.

However, the difference comes when we ask questions about our body size and shape. 59% of all women surveyed said their body size and shape impacted on their self esteem. This figure rockets to 71% of those between the ages of 26-35. Similar gaps are shown when asked about whether feeling attractive or not, impacted on self esteem. 63% of all women surveyed noted that it did, while again, this figure jumps massively for the age range 26-35, to 76%.

Big differences are also apparent when it comes to people liking us, with 48% of all women surveyed stating that this had an impact, while 71% of women aged 26-35 felt this played on their self esteem.

The tables are turned though when we look at feeling unappreciated and criticised. It seems that for the younger age range this impacted less on self esteem, with only 58% of them stating it played a part. However, looking at all the women surveyed, 77% felt this played a part in their self esteem…

Impacts on self esteem

What these figures highlight is that different factors for genders may have an impact on our self esteem. It also shows that as we age, different things may impact our self esteem at different times in our lives, so self esteem is an ever changing thing within our lives.

Throughout our lives we need to use a variety of tools to deal with self esteem, and the factors that play a part in affecting our self esteem, for good or worse. The College of Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy is running a master class course, which is open to anyone, and is designed to provide people with all the tools they need to take solve their self esteem problems, no matter what the factors are that impact us.

For more information on Self Esteem and the CCBH self esteem master class, please visit their website