Living with low self-esteem can be tremendously exhausting. We have seen people with a low opinion of themselves spend countless hours worrying about how people perceive them — at work, home and even at the movie theater or grocery store. Second guessing decisions is a regular pastime. Rarely asking for what they want or deserve is another. But the amount of time and energy it takes to try and feel better on any given day can be streamlined into feeling better all the time with one of our confidence building courses. See below for more information. It’s time to take a retreat from feeling low and join us at the Option Institute in the beautiful Berkshires of Massachusetts!

How Does Low Self-Esteem Affect Our Lives

This is certainly no surprise, given what most of us are taught about ourselves. Over and over again, throughout our lives, we are taught to distrust ourselves and to be self-critical as a way to take care of ourselves. As a result, we learn to find things “wrong” with ourselves, and to measure ourselves based upon external standards.

We can tell ourselves that we are too fat, too thin, not smart enough, or not kind enough. We’re not good enough parents, not competent enough at work, not giving enough as lovers, or perhaps not valuable enough in our friendships. The list of self-criticism can on and on.

While it may sound extreme when we put it all together as we just did, the truth is that is exactly what so many of us tell ourselves day after day. Is it any wonder that so many of us struggle with low self-esteem?

And it doesn’t stop with us feeling down on ourselves. Our level of self-esteem and self image has far-reaching effects on other aspects of our lives.

Understanding Our Self-Worth

According to research by Jennifer Crocker, Ph.D., a psychologist at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research (American Psychology Assoc., Vol. 33, No. 11, 12/2002), college students who based their self-worth on external sources – including their physical appearance, the approval they do or do not receive from others, and even their academic performance – reported a higher level of stress, greater levels of anger, problems with their academic performance, conflicts in their interpersonal relationships, as well as higher rates of drug and alcohol use, and various symptoms of eating disorders.

After noting a huge correlation between self image and employment outcomes, a recent longitudinal study of all the children born in the UK in 1970 (“In Defense of Self-Esteem”, National Association for Self-Esteem) concluded that self-esteem may have a far greater impact on future success than intelligence or talent.

Even more startling, a study published in 1990 (Sagan) found that, overall, the healthiest people are those with strong self-esteem and a sense of personal control. Those who feel good about themselves, the report found, are actually more resistant to illnesses such as cancer. In fact, the study placed self-esteem above such factors as drugs, new medical procedures, and the high-tech equipment of modern medicine in terms of impact on health.

But there is good news.

Build Self-Esteem at the Option Institute

Helping people improve self-esteem is one of our core competencies at the Option Institute. It is, quite literally, a centerpiece of everything we teach. We have helped thousands of people build greater confidence. Not with platitudes… Not with affirmations…

We have no interest in getting you to act like you have high self-esteem while you’re still nursing a gnawing self-doubt. Rather, we seek to enable you to change your beliefs – the messages that you are sending yourself. After all, our level of self-esteem and self-confidence is based upon our beliefs about ourselves. All self-criticism such as “I’m too fat,” “I’m not competent enough,” “I’m stupid,” etc.) is, in actuality, a litany of beliefs.

If these beliefs sound familiar to you, we have two important ideas to propose to you. First, we hold these beliefs for a reason. We think that we must tell ourselves these things in order to take care of ourselves in some fashion. That is why, in our programs, we give you tools to help you uncover what your reasons are. The second key idea to consider is that our beliefs are changeable. Even if we have been sending ourselves the same messages for decades – and even if others have been telling us these things about ourselves – it is never too late to radically shift these beliefs.

We have worked with countless individuals who, after finding fault with themselves for a lifetime, learned to find the beauty within themselves instead. And, truly, there is no bigger step to a better life than this.

Programs for Self-Esteem


If there is one by-product of low self-esteem, it is the denigration and second-guessing of our own internal wisdom. Yet, it is precisely this inner wisdom that can save us from feeling lost, ungrounded and self-critical. Would you like to have absolute confidence when making choices? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to feel rock-solid in choosing your own path? This week-long program provides the concrete, practical tools you need to achieve the self-esteem and self-confidence you want. Our nonjudgmental, non-directive questioning process can help you uncover self-limiting and self-defeating beliefs you hold about yourself.   READ MORE

At the same time, our innovative curriculum will furnish you with an array of tools you can apply anywhere to access you own wisdom, direction and self-trust. Imagine knowing-really knowing-that you matter, that you are worthy, that you are lovable. And picture having a toolbox that you can open anytime, anywhere and find your own answers, your own direction. Is this something you would like to have? If so, take a week out of your life to achieve the level of self-esteem you may have secretly wished for but never experienced.



Many people seek to boost their self-esteem by attempting to change their physical appearance, style and behaviors to match what they believe others find more desirable. They change their diets, exercise, wardrobes, hair-styles, houses, jobs and even try plastic surgery in hopes of feeling stronger, more secure and wanted. However, no matter how many push-ups we do, how many protein shakes we consume, we’re never quite prepared for the heavy lifting that comes with the everyday tribulations of money, relationships, health and the general uncertainties of life. Inner Strength is an intensive two-week fitness program for your mind and soul that will help you to develop Herculean capacity for whatever comes your way.



How often has someone asked how you’re feeling and you’ve replied, “OK”, when you really felt insecure, stressed or overwhelmed? How would you like it if you could say “I’m doing great!” and mean it… Really!

Empirical studies have shown that people who are happy have greater confidence and self-esteem, perform better at work, have stronger relationships at home, make clearer decisions about their lives, exhibit greater self-control and coping skills. In the Happiness GPS program you’ll learn how to transform happiness from something that happens to you to something that you can choose at any time, in any situation.


Personal Stories from Real Option Institute Participants

I arrived at The Option Institute ‘The Queen of Low Self-Esteem.’ In 2 weeks of classes I feel worthy, loved, lovable, loving and aware that I am fully responsible for choosing or not choosing happiness. I am no longer a victim or a martyr. I have also let go of a variety of psychotropic medications during my stay (depacote, wellbutrin, and zoloft). In 5 years of therapy with a psychiatrist/MD, I only acquired more and more medication. In my short stay here, I have acquired infinitive self-worth and many tools to maintain a happy, self-honoring and self-loving state of being.

Jackie J.

Administrative Assistant, Florida

I came to the Option Institute really worried about what other people thought of me, which to me was a very limiting way to live my life. Going to a program gave me the opportunity to explore that, and the greatest revelation for me was that my belief is all about me and has nothing to do with other people. When I am focused on me, I free myself up to be more loving and a lot less worried. It feels great!

Elizabeth B.

Sociology Student, Denmark

During my program at the Option Institute I experienced exactly what I came for. It was an opportunity for me to overcome situations which I felt no control over and my feelings of inadequacy-(not good enough). It has been an opportunity for me to work through these feelings and come out ‘on top’ feeling better than good enough-feeling powerful for myself.

Darleen B.

Office Manager, Maine

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