Why We Need To Rethink Our Notion Of "Self-Esteem," According To This Mental Health Expert


On this week's episode of Girlboss Radio, Dr. Lauren dishes on her journey of becoming the feminist therapist we all need, as well as tips for dealing with those pesky negative thoughts.

Before she was a ever a therapist with ambitious ideas, Lauren Hazzouri was a dancer with ambitious ideas; the ubiquitous bows that her fellow tiny dancers would wear in ballet class led to her first entrepreneurial pursuit was at age 11 or 12. "There was this little boutique called Cynthia's Creations, I remember. She was selling my bows at her store and that was in sixth grade. That was the first time that I actually started a business. It was a bow business."

Bow-making ambitions aside, as an adolescent, Hazzouri absolutely believed herself to be on a path of pursuing dance. But by the time college rolled around, the pressure to "make it" led to her having to choose between dance and her own wellbeing. She chose herself, and as a byproduct, stumbled into the study of psychology. "I was interested because I was going through my own shit, trying to figure myself out," she recalls.

Her passion for psychology eventually led to an undergrad, master's, and doctoral degree. But even with a newfound "Dr." attached to her name, Lauren Hazzouri struggled to find her place.

"I was afraid to be out on my own. When all of my friends were living in New York City and getting apartments and doing what they want to do, I was just too afraid to do it. Oftentimes, people would say, 'Wow, that’s amazing. You’re a doctor. I’m like, 'Yes. Well, I am a doctor. I’m freaking afraid to do anything else.'"

But fear didn't get in her way forever, and Hazzouri's work has made it as far as Berlin, the UK, and the Girlboss Rally. And while her clinical practice may outwardly resemble a standard setup, her practice stands out from the norm in that it incorporates holistic care that focuses on a healthy lifestyle—with a side of tearing down the patriarchy. It's a wellness plan she's implementing with clients two blocks from her childhood home in Scranton, PA, though she treats women from as far away as New York and New Jersey.

This week's Girlboss Radio is full of Dr. Lauren's unique and powerful perspectives on healing, as well as more detail about her newest project called The Practice, a healing-session pop-up that she describes as "a workout for your whole being IRL," which you can sign up for here. Check out the episode below.

And in the instance that you simply can't get enough of Dr. Lauren, we have some good news: You can also catch her on the new Girlboss Radio network podcast, Self Service

On why pathologizing women's behavior is so dangerous:

“If you look at the diagnosis rates of women, our diagnosis is twice a rate of men. Women have been pathologized since the beginning of time.”

On the real problem with our insecurities:

"The problem is society and social norms and the patriarchy. We’re not the problem. We’re the solution.”

On her definition of self-esteem:

"Self-esteem is confidence in your own value. You have a place here. Your place here matters.”

On what success looks like:

"I think the better I get in practicing ego deflation, the clearer I am at what success looks like, because I still get screwed up with that a lot.”

On her definition of self-care:

"The way that I define self-care today is just doing the next great thing for you.”

On why girls struggle with self-care:

"If you think about what the 'good girls' do, a good girl is not somebody who cares for herself, but it’s somebody who takes care of other people.”

On what mental health is all about:

"Even with the mental health that we talk about, it’s not about learning new things. It’s about shedding the impact of social norms.”

Words: Eva Grant
Photo: Courtesy/Composite