|>>|| No. 23080
It's great to hear that you're making progress. You're doing the work and you're seeing results - that's something worth celebrating. Don't worry about internalising things, it always takes time to develop new habits. As long as you keep remembering to apply the techniques you've learned, they'll gradually become more automatic.
Self-esteem is a bit of a controversial issue in modern psychotherapy. A lot of modern practitioners believe that the idea is inherently harmful. The more modern concept is that of self acceptance.
Building up your self esteem carries the danger that something will knock you back down. It's inherently fragile, because it's based on a subjective evaluation of your own merits. You're trying to judge yourself more positively, but you're still judging yourself. Self-acceptance is durable, because you work to accept the good and bad parts of yourself equally.
You don't need to weigh your plusses and minuses on an imaginary scale, you don't need to justify yourself to the world. You are who you are, and you're OK. Success doesn't make you a good person, failure doesn't make you a bad person, it's just stuff that happens. If you can develop that mindset, you don't need to win the approval of others and you don't fear their disapproval. You don't need external validation, because you have internal acceptance. Accepting yourself as you are allows you to live in accordance with your own values, rather than the values of others.
Think about how you treat the people you care about. You try to treat them with kindness and forgiveness, you give them the benefit of the doubt, you empathise with them when they struggle. If you can treat someone else like that, why not yourself?
Think about yourself as an eight year old child. If that child was stood in front of you now, how would you treat it - with criticism and judgement, or with compassion and care? If you can step outside of your own perspective, then self-acceptance becomes obvious. Gaining that perspective is one of the core purposes of meditation practice in ACT.
Here's some homework:
Modern psychotherapy leans heavily on Buddhist and Stoic thought, so you might find it useful to study those schools of philosophy.