How I Recovered From a Self-Esteem Setback

April 7, 2016 Emily Roberts MA, LPC

No matter who you are, you've likely experienced a self-esteem setback. When it feels like the world knocks you down, your self-esteem can diminish greatly. Whether it's a breakup, breakdown, broken promise, tragic event or career challenge, other people and situations outside of our control do impact our emotions and how we see ourselves (Anxiety and a Sense of Control). I recently recovered from a self-esteem setback and know how hard it can be. However, the rewards to you, your self-esteem and self-respect are worth it.

It's natural to have a self-esteem setback when others have hurt your feelings and you've felt betrayed, right? There were days when I was consumed with blame and anger (both at myself and the other party involved) and it took some time to get out of the old habits that were creeping up. It wasn't the other person's fault my self-esteem suffered, it was just one of the major triggers, the straw that broke the self-esteem's back, if you will.

Avoid a Self-Esteem Setback by Practicing Acceptance and Awareness

I recently suffered a self-esteem setback after a project didn't workout the way I hoped. I blamed them, blamed myself and spent so much time feeling bad I forgot about all the good in my life. I was anything but happy and confident. Has this ever happened to you? Something outside you triggers all the insecurities that you thought you worked through? It sucks, but you can get through it (How to Handle Self-Esteem Setbacks).

A self-esteem setback can happen to anyone, even this therapist. Here's what to do to heal from a self-esteem setback. Check it out.I noticed that small things started to really take a toll on my self-esteem. I was more insecure when making decisions and started questioning myself more. I asked myself things like: "Did I spell that right? and "Will others like this blog/article/video?"

These things came up because I wasn't aware of how much insecurities can bleed into other areas of my life. This was a career insecurity and all the sudden, I was questioning what to eat for dinner, who to call for help, or debating if I should post something on social media or not. I never used to question these things, but my lack of awareness and mindfulness made it very easy to slip into a stream of insecurities.

You've likely been here, too. After a crushing experience, maybe you noticed that you don't trust yourself or your decisions as much. I've found that it's because we lack awareness when we are suffering. So one of the ways I bounced back was to adopt a mindfulness practice. I began to do a few minutes each day. When I noticed that my insecurities were high or I wasn't making a decision, I would stop, breathe or do a mindfulness exercise. Over time, I learned to start trusting myself again.

Heal from Self-Esteem Setbacks by Accepting Your Emotions

The more I discounted my emotions, the worse I felt. I wasn't able to look at the situation logically and lost sight of the facts, as well as solutions. This got in the way of me feeling confident. I was more insecure in asking for what I wanted and deserved in this area of my life (and in others). It was so frustrating and exhausting.

I began to accept the anger and the pain I was feeling. Anger at others and myself. I may not be able to do much about what the person did but after turning my mind (over and over again) I've been able to find more compassion for both myself and the other person. I'm allowed to be mad, but I noticed it wasn't serving me. It was making me angry at the world; I wanted to move forward and get out of this self-esteem setback fast. So I tried to accept what happened, not approve of it, just accept that it occurred (How Radical Acceptance Can Help Your Self-Esteem). The more I did this, the more confidence I gained and the less I was consumed by negative emotions.

One thing that really helped me recover from my self-esteem set back was to avoid assumptions. Become aware of the assumptions you're making but don't let them become facts. Ask; don't assume; that's what I say in my book. Assumptions only mess with your self-esteem. At one point, I assumed, "The person did this to intentionally make me suffer." No the person didn't, but it felt that way. The more I asked questions (to the other person and myself) the less this felt true. Accidents happen, people make mistakes, and that is what really occurred.

Instead of letting a self-esteem setback take over your life try to build more awareness of your emotions and acceptance into your daily life. This will also help you improve your self-esteem and confidence in a profound way. Good luck.

Emily is a psychotherapist, she is intensively trained in DBT, she the author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Being Who You Are. You can visit Emily’s Guidance Girl website. You can also find her on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

APA Reference
Roberts, E. (2016, April 7). How I Recovered From a Self-Esteem Setback, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 25 from

Author: Emily Roberts MA, LPC

Emily is a psychotherapist, she is intensively trained in DBT, she the author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Being Who You Are. You can visit Emily’s Guidance Girl website. You can also find her on FacebookGoogle+ and Twitter.

April, 7 2016 at 11:37 pm

Set backs happen. How far they set you back is what can lead to depression and distrust. What you said us true. A person must first accept that something happened and deal with it positively.

April, 14 2016 at 9:39 pm

I just had an academic setback. I feel so much better after reading this article! THANK YOU!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 15 2016 at 10:44 am

Glad to hear hope you get things worked out soon!

Leave a reply