Tag Archive for self esteem

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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Fear of Intimacy Advice

Cause of fear of intimacy: Being hurt in the past, having an emotionally and socially isolated childhood, and an introverted personality can all cause people to fear intimacy.

Effect of fear of intimacy: If you fear social intimacy you will build an emotional wall around yourself, withhold personal information from friends and family, and be afraid to reveal your true self. Even your partner may not know you emotionally, intellectually or spiritually. You may withdraw from people, lie, or be overly talkative to hide your real feelings. This leads to anxiety.

Solutions to fear of intimacy: Practice expressing your true feelings to people instead of hiding them. Eventually this will become a habit and you will feel less tense and vulnerable. Don’t be afraid to tell people when you are angry or upset- they will most likely have picked up on it by your body language anyway. Sharing negative emotions with your friends or partner can be very beneficial. Talk about personal and everyday experiences in an open, honest manner until it becomes second nature. Let people get to know the real you.

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Feeling Bored, Cures for Boredom

Causes of Boredom: Lack of stimulation or interesting activities. Being trapped in a dull, repetitive job or life pattern. Being unable to get out and about due to illness, agoraphobia or other health problems.

Effects of Boredom: You may feel that there is no purpose to your life. Boredom may make you feel worried and depressed, or abuse drugs or alcohol. Sleeping too much, daydreaming excessively, over-eating and difficulty concentrating are other signs of boredom.

Solutions to Boredom: Inject interest into your life by starting new projects. Try getting involved with voluntary work, socializing with new people or learning a new craft or hobby. Step outside your comfort zone. Consider changing your job or doing a further education course. Take on challenges, eat healthily and try to exercise every day.

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Embarrassment Help, Coping with Feeling Embarrassed

Causes of Embarrassment 

Loss of poise or self-control, feeling incompetent, receiving public praise or criticism, or having people intrude on your private life can all make you feel embarrassed. It may be something as simple as dropping your shopping on the bus. Other situations include making a mistake during a work presentation, having rumours spread about your love life, or saying something taboo at a social event.

Effects of Embarrassment

Blushing, sweating, feeling exposed, self-conscious and intensely uncomfortable. You may be unable to make eye contact with people and go out of your way to avoid them.

Solutions to Embarrassment 

Remember that everybody is human. Try to see the funny side of the embarrassing situation. Chat to friends about it, then put it out of your mind. Read the ‘embarrassing moments’ page in a magazine. Apologize if appropriate, and fix any damage you have caused.

Embarrassment Help in our messageboard

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 Summer Depression

Cause: The cause is unknown, but thought to be linked to an increased amount of sunlight and higher temperatures. People may feel overwhelmed and exposed by the increase in daylight hours.

Effects: Summer depression can cause a low mood, loss of interest and enjoyment in activities, anxiety, insomnia, irritability, agitation, intolerance to heat, decreased appetite and weight loss, increased sex drive and thoughts of suicide. You may feel the need to stay indoors with the curtains closed.

Solutions: Talking about your feelings, counselling and anti-depressants may help. Include plenty of fresh fruit and salads in your diet, take cool showers, and use fans or air-conditioning to prevent overheating. If you feel the need to stay indoors, take up new indoor interests such as reading, crafts, music and creative projects.

Prevalence of Summer Depression

Summer SAD is thought to affect less than 1% of the US population. These sufferers appear to live in hotter regions and, as is the case with other depressive disorders, they are more likely to be female. It is hard to determine the true number of sufferers and significance of gender variation, as people may feel uncomfortable coming forward. Some may manage their symptoms themselves, without seeking advice.

Treatment for Summer Depression

The symptoms of summer depression may have a significantly negative impact on sufferers’ lives, making it difficult for them to function. As with the causes, there is very little evidence on how best to treat to treat summer SAD, though a few possible treatments have been highlighted by researchers.

Sufferers often attribute their symptoms to the summer heat, reporting relief from symptoms by staying indoors and keeping cool. Some find relief in air-conditioned environments and/or taking regular cold showers.

So far, summer SAD has been shown to respond to antidepressant medication, which helps to elevate mood by altering levels of certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin. These chemicals are strongly linked to mood and have shown to be effective in treating other types of depression, including winter SAD. Since it may take several weeks for antidepressants to kick in, a doctor may suggest beginning a course of medication in the late winter, before the onset of symptoms.

In non-seasonal depression and winter SAD, sticking to a healthy diet, doing regular exercise and accessing talking treatments have all been shown to be helpful, though it is unclear if these will help summer SAD sufferers.

For some self-help strategies, including information on sleep and diet, read Self-help for Summer Depression. Anyone suffering symptoms of summer SAD should seek advice from a qualified health professional.

Get Help with Summer Depression

Feeling Envious

Cause of Envy

Low self esteem, dissatisfaction with life or a poor self-image.

Effects of Feeling Envious

Longing for something someone else has, for example a big house, more money, a better body, youth or a different job. This can lead to feelings of anger, sadness, bitterness andaggression.

Possible Solutions to Feelings of Envy

Write a list of all the things you are thankful for in your life until it outweighs those that you don’t have. Include the little things too and focus on your talents and the opportunities you have. Remember that other people are probably envious of many of these.

Make positive changes in your life and chase your dreams. Do things that make you feel happy and fulfilled, like changing career path, voluntary work, learning a new skill or travelling.

Discuss your jealousy in the forum

Lack of Sex Drive

Lack of Sex Drive Causes

Emotional stress, depression, anxiety, hang-ups from past, sexual abuse, lack of privacy, anaemia, alcoholism, drug abuse, certain prescription medications, hormonal changes and the trauma of childbirth.

Effects: Reluctance to have sex, no interest in sex, feeling angry or frustrated with your partner, not enjoying sex, and relationship difficulties.

Lack of Sex Drive Solutions

Counselling,

psycho-sexual therapy,

‘Desire Cream’; increases blood flow to the genitals,

‘EROS’ suction device,

‘Intrinsa’ testosterone skin patch.

SheKnows.com: What exactly is libido?

Kelli Young: Libido refers to one’s sex drive or appetite for sexual activity, either alone or with a partner. A woman’s libido encompasses her sexual thoughts, fantasies, desires and interest in engaging in sexual behaviors.

SheKnows.com: Is there such thing as a normal sex drive?

Kelli Young: In a word… no. There really is no such thing as a “normal” sex drive. Women vary greatly in their desire for sex. It is not uncommon to experience a temporary decline in sex drive and, in fact, many women do at various times in their lives.

SheKnows.com: When should a woman worry about her libido?

Kelli Young: If a woman notices that this drop in sex drive persists, or that her formerly normal sex drive is gone completely, it may be cause for concern. In medical terms, low sex drive, or hypoactive sexual desire disorder, is defined as a persistent or recurrent lack of sexual fantasies, thoughts and/or interest in sexual activity that causes personal distress. Women experiencing low desire may notice signs such as: a decline in the frequency of sexual thoughts and fantasies; reduced sexual desire; reluctance to initiate or engage in sex; and less frequent masturbation.

Many factors dampen sexual desire

SheKnows.com: What can affect a woman’s sex drive? Why does it change?

Kelli Young: All women will notice natural and normal fluctuations in their sexual appetites over time. Many of these changes result from hormonal fluctuations (during menstruation, pregnancy, perimenopause, etc.) and may affect a woman’s body image and self-image (she may feel less desirable or sexy, and, in turn, less sexual).

Lack of arousal can also be associated with insufficient vaginal lubrication, which can lead to vaginal irritation or pain and may even trigger vaginal or urinary tract infections. When sex is unfulfilling or painful, a woman is unlikely to desire it, and she may begin to fear or avoid it.

Many physical and mental illnesses can negatively affect a woman’s libido, as can the medications often used to treat these illnesses. Several medications have serious sexual side effects.

Lifestyle, nutrition and stress level can also play a role in dampening sexual desire. The demands of juggling work, family and other responsibilities can be exhausting and overwhelming; there may be little energy and enthusiasm left for sex. Negative sexual experiences can also impact a woman’s enjoyment of and desire for sex. Finally, relationship problems and difficulties in communication can have a major detrimental influence on a woman’s sex drive.

Natural ways to liven your libido

SheKnows.com: How can a woman increase her libido/sex drive?

Kelli Young: There are some relatively simple steps women can take to improve their libido.

These may include:

Talk to a doctor. Consult with a medical and/or naturopathic professional who can test for, and treat, potential underlying illnesses or physiological causes of low libido. If you are prescribed medications, be sure to discuss possible sexual side effects. Sometimes, an equally effective medication can be prescribed that has fewer (or no) sexual side effects.

Consider a natural libido supplement. Many women have noted significant improvement in vaginal lubrication and sensitivity while using a natural libido supplement, such as FemMED’s Libido formula.

Get to know your own body, sexually. Self-stimulation (masturbation) can be an excellent way for a woman to develop a good understanding of the types of stimulation she finds arousing.
Use a water-based lubricant. Even if you have adequate natural lubrication, the extra slipperiness afforded by a water-based lubricant can be highly arousing for women and their partners!

Make lifestyle adjustments. Moderate exercise and a healthy diet are vital to maintaining a good sex drive. Chronic dieting can have a devastating impact on your energy level, metabolism and body image. Moreover, diets that are very low in fat are particularly problematic because your body needs some fat to make hormones such as testosterone, a hormone essential for sexual drive and response. Yoga, mindful meditation and courses in assertiveness and stress management can also help women acquire important tools to deal with the daily stressors that can dampen one’s sexual desire.

Do Kegels. Kegel exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which can improve sensation and enhance sexual pleasure.

Address relationship issues. The quality of a relationship, particularly a couple’s communication, has a significant impact on their sexual satisfaction.

Seek counseling when necessary. At times, it may be helpful to seek counseling from a sex therapist or couples counselor skilled in addressing sexual issues.

Help with Alcoholism

Possible Alcoholism Causes

People may use alcohol as a way of relaxing, coping with trauma, or numbing painful feelings. If this becomes a habit you might become addicted to alcohol and feel unable to cope with life when sober.

Effects of Alcoholism

You will feel a strong urge to drink. If your body becomes dependent on alcohol you will experience withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop, like sweating, nausea, agitation and shaking. Stopping suddenly can be fatal. Alcoholism may also cause hepatitis and cirrhosis of the liver, certain cancers, inflammation of the stomach and pancreas, high blood pressure, brain damage, heart failure, accidents due to being drunk, financial problems, loss of employment and relationship break-ups.

Try these Solutions to Alcoholism

  • Do not stop drinking suddenly. Talk to your doctor about starting a detox program
  • Think about why you started drinking heavily and address problems in your life
  • Group therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Medications such as Antabuse, which change the way your body reacts to alcohol and may help you give up

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Help with Eating Disorders

Causes: Eating disorders are usually caused by the desire to gain control over your life and to be thin. They typically affect people who have low self-esteem, emotional problems and a distorted view of their own body.

Effect: If a person has anorexia, they fear food, restrict what they eat and exercise excessively, feeling they are overweight even when in reality they are dangerously thin. This causes all sorts of health problems, including brittle bones, malnutrition, dehydration, infertility, fainting and heart damage. Anorexia may lead to death.

A person with Bulimia also fears gaining weight, but unlike anorexia they binge on high-calorie food in between periods of fasting, then make themselves vomit or abuse laxatives to try to get rid of the calories. People with bulimia usually have a normal body weight. The effects of bulimia include an irregular heartbeat, kidney damage and eroded tooth enamel.

Solutions

  • If your bodyweight is very low, it’s important that you seek professional help from your doctor or an eating disorders clinic
  • Keeping a diary of your food intake and feelings may help
  • Follow an eating plan
  • Eat small, regular amounts of food that is high in nutrients
  • Counselling
  • Family therapy

Free Help with Eating Disorders Online