So look, I know this might seem a little hinky, but check it out. Don’t be put off by the fact that the author was “ordained into the Order of Interbeing by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh in 2005.” I give you a Buddhist psychotherapeutic approach to low self-esteem:

Once he felt ready to move on, I asked him to get back in touch with the self-critical voice in his chest. When he said he could feel it, I asked him to try saying, “Thank you for trying to keep me safe from Mom. I know you’re trying to help me.” He immediately started crying, and said he felt a huge relief. He talked about feeling reunited with a part of himself that had been cut off. I suggested that, between sessions, every time he noticed the self-critical voice, he express this kind of gratitude for its desire to protect him….Over time, he became adept at using compassion to disarm his inner critic, and had a much easier time loving himself.

(The hinky-sounding “Order of Interbeing” =/=spirit-channeling crystal-vibrating cult; =the Buddhist order founded in the 60s by Thich Nhat Hanh, =/= obscure sketchy guru, = respected Buddhist scholar and monk. Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by MLK Jr for inspiring the latter’s non-violent civil rights movement by his peace activism in the Vietnam War. I tend to be skeptical of guys like this, who are the center of movements and who have clearly monetized their teachings (he’s written 100+ books). But there doesn’t seem to be much controversy attached to him, at least as concerns his sincerity or behavior. No cult stuff or anything, anyway.)

(Here’s a bit of Nhat Hanh’s teaching that may not be new, but is kind of lovely and inspiring in its simplicity.)