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Low Self Esteem Advice

Low Self Esteem Advice and Definition

Webster’s dictionary defines self-esteem as a confidence and satisfaction in oneself; self-respect. Self-esteem (or self-image) is how you think and feel about yourself.

Someone with healthy self-esteem feels they are worthy and able to cope with life’s challenges. They have a positive, yet realistic view of themselves and their abilities. Even when things seem to go wrong, they are able to accept themselves and feel they are worthy. People with low self-esteem or low self-confidence doubt their abilities and have unrealistic expectations for themselves. Their sense of self-worth is excessively dependent on what others think and they often put themselves down or judge themselves very harshly.

To summarize, self-esteem is made up of the thoughts and feelings that you have about yourself and is influenced by the way you talk to yourself (i.e., your inner dialogue). As humans, one of our unique abilities is the awareness of ourselves. We are aware of what we do and our impact on others and ourselves. This ability allows us to live in a world with others and develop close relationships. Our internal voice judges our behavior on a daily basis and makes adjustments based on feedback from others. A person with low self-esteem has an overly critical voice with a negative slant; nothing is good enough, failures are highlighted and you are always criticized. Psychologist Eugene Sagan terms this voice “the pathological critic” – always looking for the negative and never seeing the positive.

How Does Self-Esteem Develop?

Our sense of ourselves develops throughout our lives. As infants and young children, much of our sense of self comes from our parents. When parents provide an accepting and nurturing environment, children develop a solid foundation on which to develop good feelings about themselves. If parents are excessively demanding or critical (or discourage moves toward independence), children may begin to doubt themselves and feel inadequate or unworthy. As children grow, attend school and develop peer relationships, successes and failures in these relationships affect self-esteem as well. Thus, the messages we are sent eventually become internalized and can become the messages we send ourselves. We then develop a set of assumptions and beliefs about ourselves based on prior experiences.

Critical Beliefs and Thought Patterns that Create Low Self-Esteem

There are many ways in which people talk to themselves. We may encourage ourselves during a difficult task, “Keep at it. You’re almost done. You can do it.” We may also talk to ourselves in a negative voice. Although it is important to evaluate ourselves accurately, if this voice is constant or very negative it can do harm to our self-esteem and is termed the “pathological critic”. The pathological critic keeps up a negative stream of self-talk. “You can’t do it. You’re stupid. You’ll never make it.” Frequent techniques used by the pathological critic which undermine self-esteem are:

Overgeneralization. If you did not do well in one situation, the pathological critic overgeneralizes to all situations – “I got a D on the quiz in Math today. I’m going to flunk that class and all the rest. I’ll never be able to graduate from college.”
Global Labeling.Your pathological critic uses pejorative labels to describe yourself rather than accurately describing your qualities. If you withdraw from a class you’re having difficulty in, you’re pathological critic may label you – “I’m a quitter. I never finish anything. I’m a loser.”
Minimization of the Positive.With the pathological critic, good things don’t count nearly as much as bad ones. You focus on the negative and discount the positive – “I won four tennis matches but lost one and that makes me feel terrible about myself.”
Comparing Yourself to Others.The pathological critic scans the room and finds the people who are better in some way. Person A is prettier, person B is smarter and person C is a better athlete. Somehow, these all get combined into one perfect person who has everything you should have and you are unworthy in comparison.
Ways to Improve Your Self-Esteem

Be Patient – Change takes time and is an ongoing process. Remember a time in the past when you learned a difficult skill. You didn’t learn to ride a bike or swim or rollerblade the first time out. It involved many attempts and many mistakes (and many bumps and bruises). Improving your self-esteem is the same kind of process.

Challenge your Pathological Critic

Notice the ways that you put yourself down. Make a list of the negative statements you make to yourself everyday.
Challenge each negative statement
a. “Just because I got a D on that test, doesn’t mean I won’t be able to graduate from college. I just need to talk to the professor and learn a new way of studying that material.”

b. “Dropping one class doesn’t mean I am a quitter. I’ve finished many other things in my life. It means that subject was difficult for me.”

Emphasize the Positive – Give yourself credit for everything you try, whether you succeed or not. Focus on the effort rather than on the end product.

Utilize “Thought Stopping” – When you find yourself thinking a negative thought about yourself, imagine a large stop sign and tell yourself to “STOP”. Switch to a more positive thought such as “I’m okay.” “I’m a good person”.

Set Realistic Goals – Start with small steps and give yourself credit for each little step you achieve. When your confidence is low, it takes an extra effort to even begin. Instead of worrying about being perfect, praise yourself for making an effort.

List the Positive – Make a list of positive things about yourself and post them in a place you see every day. Spend a few moments accepting the positive.

Fake it “Til You Make it – Tell yourself positive things even if you don’t believe them at first. Sometimes it may take awhile to see that you really are a worthwhile person, that others like you, and that you are succeeding.

Be Compassionate with Yourself – Frequently, we are more compassionate and accepting with others than with ourselves. Give yourself the same understanding and acceptance you give others.

Recommended Books to Read

Self-Esteem, Revised Edition. Matthew McKay & Patrick Fanning, Oakland, CA: New Harbinger, 1995. This book describes self-esteem and the negative messages we give ourselves. It follows with a discussion of ways to counter the “pathological critic” and how to deal with shoulds, mistakes, and criticism. Discussion of other techniques such as visualization and hypnosis are included

The Self-Esteem Companion: Simple Exercises to Help You Challenge Your Inner Critic and Celebrate Your Personal Strengths. Matthew McKay, Patrick Fanning, Carole Honeychurch & Catharine Stuker, Oakland, CA: New Harbinger, 1999.

Ten Days to Self-Esteem. David D. Burns, NY: William Morrow, 1993. This workbook has many exercises focusing on the interrelationships of depression, anxiety and self-esteem. The emphasis is on self-exploration and on changing your moods through changing your thinking.

Cause: Constant criticism early in life; abuse or bullying by others.

Effect: Having low self esteem tends to make a person withdraw from social situations. You may feel you are in constant emotional turmoil and suffer from anxiety problems, eating disorders or depression. You may also find it difficult to function in social situations and impossible to accept compliments. People with low self esteem generally have low expectations from life and often neglect their physical and psychological health.

Solutions: Believe in a better opinion of yourself.

Do activities you enjoy on a regular basis.

Develop social skills and interact with other people.

Take credit for your successes.

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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Help

Group therapy helps you build relationships with others who understand what you’ve been through, PTSD groups have a number of advantages, including provision of a natural support group, the ability to reach more patients, and greater cost efficiency. It can also help you feel more in control of your emotions, have fewer symptoms, and enjoy life again.

A growing percentage of PTSD patients now receive successful treatment as more is learned about the condition and multiple therapies are employed to fight its often-devastating effects on health and quality of life. Group therapy is one of those therapies, which have been found very beneficial, as the groups are usually rather small and the survivor can get to know and feel comfortable in small groups. So even therapists now are suggesting group therapy as a form of processing the trauma.

Sharing with the group also can help you build self-confidence and trust. The participants with trauma-related symptoms and depression in a group can also improved significantly on trauma-related symptoms and depression, it can also reduce symptoms by encouraging the affected person to talk about the event, to express feelings, and share their experience of the event.

One reason that treatment is often unsought by victims of the condition is that virtually any address or discussion of the offending trauma is bound to be quite painful, and stirs in the victim memories and emotions tied back to the event. This is where a group has its advantages, they do not need to sign up or fill out any forms, or feel that attending the group will be traced back to them, for employment reasons or family reasons; it all very antonymous

It is recommended that at the beginning of each PTSD group meeting that an inspirational reading or other form of centering is done for the survivors, it is best if this is something non-denominational as any sort of affiliation to groups or religions can feel like a threat to them. Then at the close of the meeting another type of closing so that all the attendees can get emotional balance prior to leaving.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is experienced by more than 10 million people in the US according to the National Institutes of Health, and that number is growing with veterans returning from war; so group meetings have a beneficial effects for the psychological distress, depression, anxiety and social adjustment for the survivors. It is also very cost effective and many are unable to hold steady, productive employment.

Stop Self Harming

Steps to Stopping Self Harm

Step 1
The very first step is telling yourself that you have a problem and admitting it. If you find yourself going for the knife, or hurting yourself another way whenever something bad happens, or if you do it just for the feeling – you have a problem. No matter if you just cut a few times, you still have a problem. Once again, please know that you’re not alone, and there is help out there for you.

Step 2
After you’ve realized that you have a problem, get out some paper. You need to talk with someone that you feel comfortable with and trust. On that paper write down the people you trust. Some don’t always feel good talking with family members first, so write down some close friends that wouldn’t tell anyone. Give them a call, and tell them what’s going on in your life. If you don’t trust anyone, talk with the person that’s in charge over you, rather that be your parents, aunt, foster family, etc. You don’t need to tell them what’s going on, but ask them if you can talk with a professional about something. If they start asking “what”, tell them that after you get professional help you might feel better telling them. You can always trust a professional counselor to guide you the right way. There are also free clinics that do help if you don’t have any money.

Step 3
When you’re talking with someone you might start craving to self harm yourself again. Sometimes the person you talk with might not be around. If this is happening, write your feelings down in a journal. Make sure to put the date, and time. Just write until the feelings stop. Later you can take the journal and show it to the person that’s helping you if you feel comfortable with that. When you’re finished writing and you still crave it find something to do. Watch TV, dance, listen to upbeat music, read a book, go out with some friends, find a new hobby, try collecting rocks, write poetry, role play online, write a thank you card to the person helping you, google and learn some new things on wikki, say positive statements like ” I no longer self harm and this is now behind me. ” or ” I am beautiful, and loved. ” Say those over and over. When you’re craving to cut do not get some food. This will create just another bad habit. Find something else to do.

Step 4
Do not talk, and say bad things about yourself. Don’t say “I will never get over this” and don’t call yourself ugly. Every person is beautiful in there own way. You might laugh at that and think “Yeah right” but it’s true. Each of us have gifts that go far beyond the eye can see. You are here for a reason. Just because you’ve not found your calling for life, or that special gift doesn’t mean that you’re not unique, or beautiful.

Step 5
Research online, and try finding some support groups. There are a lot of support groups that help people when they are struggling. If you don’t like groups, why not try forums or find a local support group in your area. Just type in your local area, and type in self harm support groups.

Step 6
Sometimes medications can make you even more depressed. If you’ve just been put on a new medication and find yourself wanting to self harm more please talk with your doctor. Chances are the new medication might not be working. If you’re not on any medicines, consider talking with your doctor and seeing what’s out there for help. If you don’t want any medicines there are a lot of herbs, and natural remedies to overcome depression that you could also talk with your doctor about, or research online.

Step 7
If you are a person that likes sports, and Exercise when you start wanting to self harm, go outside for a walk, or exercise inside. If you need to lose weight this will be great for you to do as well. If you like sports, go outside and throw the ball around, or do kick ball. See if you can find someone that would like to join you if not try doing some basketball.

Step 8
Meditation is another wonderful thing. If you’re having a hard time saying good things about yourself, find a quiet area of the house, turn on classical music, or change the lights, make them bright. Clear your mind, and focus on positive, and beautiful things such as nature, and your favorite animals. See the beauty of nature, and run free in the woods. Scream in your mind. Release your feelings. Cry during meditation if needed. Don’t hold feelings back. If it’s hard finding quiet time, just ask people not to disturb you for at least five or ten minutes.

Step 9
Cleaning helps a lot. Change the sheets on your bed, put some bright pictures up, dust, and tidy up. This will help you keep busy, and you’ll be so focused on cleaning that you’ll forget about wanting to self harm yourself. Plus it will make people around you very happy and who knows you might earn some money!

Step 10
If you’re a teenager, think about getting a job. A lot of places hire teens now for help, and plus you can even babysit. If you’re a guy and don’t want to babysit think about calling a local store and see if they have a teen program, and if you can help bag things.

Step 11
The very last thing I am going to say is that you should never hold your feelings in. If you don’t like crying – get over it and just release your feelings! Put away your pride for just a few seconds. Cut up a onion that will help make you cry if you have problems with that. Crying is a great way to let go of your feelings. Don’t feel ashamed if you cry to the person you talk with. That’s what they are there for! Once you cry, and let go – stop thinking about it and move on! Letting go of past failures, is one way to overcome depression. It’s in the past, and it’s time to let it stop bothering you in the “now”. You’re giving a past situation victory, and 9 times out of 10 the other people have already moved on from it as well. When you don’t let go of things think of all the people you’re hurting, and when you self harm yourself not only do you hurt yourself, but others around you. You are loved and cared about so please use these steps to stop hurting yourself, and become a victor!

Causes: Self harm is often a coping strategy for dealing with emotions like rage, sadness, grief, fear and guilt. People may feel they are getting rid of painful emotions. It may also be an attempt at self-punishment, or to gain control over situations and overwhelming feelings. Childhood trauma, abuse and bullying can cause people to self-harm, particularly if they repressed their emotions at the time.

Effects: Cutting yourself with a knife or razor, scratching, bruising, neglecting your physical and psychological health or abusing drugs or alcohol.

Solutions: Keep a diary of your feelings and how you cope with them. Identify what triggers you to self-harm.

Talk to your doctor, close friends, family or a counsellor.

Build your self-esteem and learn to respect your body.

Reduce stress in your life.

Exercise regularly as a way of coping with feelings.

Keep the phone numbers of friends and help-lines close by in case of a crisis.

Learn anger management techniques. Don’t turn anger on yourself.

Take up creative activities like drawing, painting or writing.

Discuss your self harming

Help with Low Self Esteem

People don’t like me or don’t care about me, I’m not smart enough, I’m too fat, I’m not good looking, I’m not good at that, I can’t get up in front of people to speak, etc., etc…. These are the kind of things that refer to people with low self-esteem, right? That is what most people probably think but there are those that are outgoing, successful, attractive, who have lots of friends and typically seem to have it all together, but still may feel or make a comment like the ones I mentioned. So would you say they have low self-esteem? What is low-self-esteem anyway?

Is it just lack of confidence in your abilities? That does not explain the person who is good at everything but is unhappy with their appearance. Is it the lack of social interaction skills, because some people are the life of the party but will not get up and speak in front of a crowd. People have been labeled as having low-self-esteem who are just shy or very reserved.

I don’t think you can say someone has low self-esteem just because they feel inadequate in some area of their life. They just need to work on that issue to give them the confidence or skills or the right mindset or physical improvement so they can have joy and peace with themselves and not worry about what anyone else thinks about them. Then they will be labeled as having high-self-esteem and everyone will think they are arrogant and full of themselves! Just Kidding! The truth is they will feel better about themselves and live better lives.

In the case of someone saying negative things about themselves all the time or not living life because of thoughts like those mentioned then it might be a more serious problem like depression in which case they need to see their doctor to get help to overcome it.

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