Really struggling with self-esteem - please help(10 Posts)
Regular user but have name-changed for this post.
I've struggled with really low self-esteem and a lack of self-confidence for quite a few years now.
I'm now in my mid-twenties, and perhaps I've always been fairly 'timid' or cautious. Some of my cautiousness (in all areas of my life) has perhaps come from seeing how my parents behaved (my Mum is extremely cautious and perhaps a bit overprotective, but in a good way IYSWIM, and my Dad has always been quite quiet and reserved.
However, these feelings of low self-confidence and low self-esteem really started to have a negative impact on me from when I was a teenager (perhaps when I was around 14 or 15), and it led, in part, to a couple of suicide attempts at this age. When I was 17 and 18, somebody I knew of took their own life, and shortly afterwards in an unconnected event, a very close friend of mine, who I'll call A, took their own life. (This is just to give a bit of context). Both of these events (A's death in particular) had a huge effect on me. And recently, at the end of last year, shortly before I resigned from a training course, one of my coursemates passed away after taking their own life.
Not long before I resigned from the training course, I went to see my GP, who referred me to counselling. I do feel a lot better since resigning, and also since starting the counselling, which is based around CBT techniques. Through the counselling, I have also been referred to a careers guidance counsellor, which has been invaluable in building up my confidence both after leaving the training course and also in a more general sense, which I'm really grateful for. I'm still looking for permanent work at the moment, but I'm involved in part-time work as a tutor.
However, I still feel that I have low self esteem and self-confidence, which I would like to work on and improve. I feel as if I always need to justify myself and to prove myself, which in part leads me to want to be 'perfect'. I then feel trapped in a constant cycle of trying to achieve a goal that I have set myself (any goal, from employment-related goals to being a good friend/relative etc.) and then I either convince myself that I haven't met my goal or find out that I haven't succeeded in meeting the goal. This then reinforces any feelings of self-doubt and insecurity that I have and leaves me feeling as I have 'failed'.
I don't really want to discuss this with family or friends because I worry that opening up to them about this would just worry them and make them feel anxious.
I do feel that the CBT counselling course is helping me, but I would really appreciate any tips or guidance from anyone about how I could work on my self-confidence and self-esteem please.
Thank you so much
Didn't want you to feel that no one had read your post - I don't have any real advice I'm afraid. Maybe try to make sure you spend time with people who make you feel good about yourself.
Hopefully someone will come on here soon with some good advice.
Find something you enjoy doing and do it regularly.Tell yourself every day something you are good at. You are clearly very thoughtful and articulate - good at writing your thoughts and feelings. Take time out to pamper yourself a little.
Be kind to yourself. Sounds like a weird thing to say but try to speak to yourself internally in the way that you would speak to another person who you loved (I.e. You'd never tell someone you love that they've failed; you'd congratulate them!)
Make a list of things you like about your appearance, personality and skills. Also, list the things you've achieved that you're proud of.
Spend time on yourself - get enough sleep, exercise, spend time outside, eat food you enjoy etc.
Try not to make your self-worth dependent on the praise and validation of others (I am so very bad at this).
I've struggled with self esteem issues all my life. I constantly hold myself up to others and find myself lacking.
I live by the quote 'don't compare your inside to someone else's outside' most people have insecurities etc but appear not to. I just try and remember that.
Your description of your desire to be perfect and the stringent goal setting/self-judgment that entails seems to be a key thing. You are being overly harsh with yourself and perhaps unwittingly not helping to build your self-esteem. (My attitude to not achieving goals would be very different e.g. re-evaluating/lowering them; recognising what was beyond my control etc.)
Good for you on the steps you've taken to get support and counselling. The fact that they're working is down to you. In terms of other things that might help, I agree with Pigface's suggestion of exercise, spending time outdoors etc (and anything else that makes you feel good/works as an enjoyable distraction).
Write a list of everything youre good at. It might take a while to get the juices flowing, but youll be surprised what you can come up with. Read nice girls dont get the corner office. There was something in that that really struck me - you are an adult, no longer a nice helpful girl. you are entitled to have your needs met too.
Oh and re goal setting. Its important to make them SMART. If you dont know what that means then google it. And even if you dont reach your goal completely focus on the progress you have made. It will be more than if you had never set a goal at all.
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