So how to counteract and change unhealthy self esteem?
A start is to honestly recognize your abilities and accomplishments, without qualifying or deflating them, as in “Oh, anyone could do that.”
Another effective approach is the cognitive therapy strategy of getting aware of demeaning statements – especially automatic thoughts – you make about yourself (or accept from others), such as “I’m no good at doing that…” – then arguing the logic, validity, merits and faults of the statement, such as: “Well, maybe I am not as skilled as whoever.. but I have been told my work is good and I can get better if I choose to work at it.”
Overcoming impostor feelingsAlso related to insecurity is the reaction that a number of talented actors and other people talk about: feeling oneself to be an “impostor.”
Research into this impostor phenomenon or syndrome began with the work of psychotherapists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes, who found many women with notable achievements also had high levels of self-doubt which could not be equated with self-esteem, anxiety, or other traits, and seemed to involve a deep sense of inauthenticity and an inability to internalize their successes.
They often had the belief they were “fooling” other people, were “faking it” or getting by from having the right contacts or just being “lucky.” Many held a belief they would be exposed as frauds or fakes. [From my article Gifted Women: Identity and Expression.]
Gifted and talented but with insecurity and low self esteem