Dyslexic self-esteem

“Improving your self-esteem is probably the best thing anyone with dyslexia can do for themselves”.

I found this nugget of advice in the Dyslexia Association of Ireland’s booklet ‘Living with Dyslexia – Information for Adults with Dyslexia’. It’s prompted me to share with you:

  1. The booklet’s definition of low self-esteem
  2. 3 things that have helped me rebuild my self-esteem
  3. Further information

The booklet’s definition of low self-esteem

“Low self-esteem means that the person does not value themselves as a human being deserving of respect and fulfilment”.

3 things that have helped me rebuild my self-esteem

1)    Giving myself credit

Once when I was speaking to another dyslexic adult, I told him that I’d failed a postgraduate course. He pointed out that although I’d failed it, I’d passed my undergraduate degree.  ‘You should give yourself credit for that’, he said ‘- it’s a huge achievement’.  This helped me because in my mind, my failure had superseded my success.

2)    Counselling

Until I was identified in mid-adulthood, my unaddressed dyslexia generated many problems in my functioning, e.g. relating to others, learning, and work. These problems led to negative experiences which eroded my self-esteem.

Being identified helped me understand the problems and start to address them. But I still had the negative experiences to deal with.  So I went to see a counsellor.  He told me that:

  • I can’t undo my negative experiences; I can only learn to live with them. This stopped me wanting to set right what had gone wrong.
  • Forgiving those who caused me grief would help me move on, whereas continuing to resent them would do me harm.
  • I could use my negative experiences to my advantage, by finding ways to grow from them positively, for example by learning from them.

This helped me deal with my negative experiences.

3)    Adult learning

Another thing that damaged my self-esteem was repeatedly failing to achieve my potential in learning. So in order to improve my self-esteem, I needed to prove to myself that I could learn successfully.

I now know what adjustments I need in a learning context. Using that awareness, I’ve been able to learn successfully for the first time in my life, at adult learning classes provided by my local authority. That has let me see for myself that I can learn.  


Further information

‘Living with Dyslexia – Information for Adults with Dyslexia’

– A booklet by Anne Hughes, with contributions from Mary Ball, Rosie Bissett and Wyn McCormack

– Published 2009 by the Dyslexia Association of Ireland

– Available to download free from Dyslexia Association of Ireland’s website  or directly from the link below:


– Available to borrow / consult from Dyslexia Scotland’s resource centre

– ISBN 978-0-9532427-4-0

Improving your self-esteem

·       Self-help

In addition to giving yourself credit, the booklet recommends the following. (These are all clearly explained on pages 87-91 of the booklet).

  1. Don’t be your own worst critic
  2. Don’t expect the worst
  3. Don’t dwell on the past
  4. Trust yourself
  5. Be positive

Here are 2 other self-help resources:

Wellbeing Glasgow


·       Counselling

The NHS provides free counselling. Your counsellor might find this list helpful: Resources for counsellors on counselling dyslexic adults.

How about you?

  1. Do you have low self-esteem?
  2. What do you think has caused it?
  3. What tips on self-esteem would you give yourself and others?

Please feel free to post a comment or use these questions for self-reflection.

Content in this blog post from the ‘Living with Dyslexia’ booklet detailed above is reproduced with kind permission of Dyslexia Association of Ireland.

By an anonymous adult member of Dyslexia Scotland

Faster than the speed of thought

How many different alternate realities or lives can I have played out in my mind before I decided to sit down and write this blog? The answer’s countless, that’s how my mind tends to function.

It can often be a daily grind or struggle to function in a world that doesn’t truly know how to compute my way of thinking. But with all that said, dyslexia isn’t a bad thing, it’s a good thing. Let me explain it this way – imagine being a hero, specifically The Flash from the DC comics universe.

When he runs everything in the world around him becomes slower and gets left behind.

At the age of 11 is when I was diagnosed with dyslexia. I’m sure many reading this post can identify. That moment where it feels as if a black hole formed right in front of you and pulled you in. School was difficult too, because you can feel alone and like nobody understands what you’re saying.

Is there hope?

Let me tell you, there is hope and you are not a failure or any of the negative words teachers of people have you used to describe you. I know from personal experience what it’s like to live via the negative words of lack of encouragement spoken into your life. Dyslexia isn’t a disease or a syndrome it’s a Super Power gifted especially to us and you can do the impossible and be the best you that’s possible.

What’s next?

If you feel like you need help and support then get in touch with Dyslexia Scotland and someone will be happy to chat with you or guide you, wherever you are in Scotland.

Encouragement from me to you

If you’re a creative person and dyslexic side-projects are a must and there is never an end to them. I created my own YouTube web series called Psalm Lab Go. Follow me on my adventures through life with dyslexia, Pokemon GO and I also do Tech reviews & music to encourage others just like you and me.

Visit youtube.com/psalmlab to tune in on Wednesday & Friday evening for new episodes.

Smart Hopewell, Guest Blogger