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Low self esteem - counselling or tablets?

(14 Posts)
mellowdramatic Tue 06-Sep-11 21:52:03

Has anyone successfully improved their self esteem and if yes how did you do it?

I've had low self esteem all my life - I think it's partly just my personality and partly my upbringing - my mum was quite a critical person and my dad had other priorities - I can't blame them they have low self confidence themselves.

My kids have low self esteem and are suffering to some extent at primary school - they have both mentioned bullying and not being liked by schoolfriends (they are both extremely quiet and shy). I get very upset when I hear this - I try my best to instil confidence in them and they seem happy enough and very confident at home and when we go out for meals etc, although neither particulary likes noisy/social situations.

I'm recently divorced and still single - I don't think there's any chance of me having a meaningful relationship with any man because of my low self esteem but i would like to do this eventually - the though of being alone for the rest of my life is quite scary. I'm quite independent and on the surface I'm doing quite well - I have a good job, nice house, I can put on a facade - but underneath I pretty much hate myself and my failings, mistakes I make at work, not fitting in anywhere, generally feeling that people don't like me and don't take to me and not being sure why. I've lived with those feelings forever and I'm exhausted with it. There are many times during my life I have thought of going to my GP for ADs or similar but on the other hand its just my personality - it's not a short term illness.

I have a small circle of friends who are all very confident - I think they realise that I have low self esteem and were very supportive through my divorce etc but I know that I would bore them silly and they wouldn't have much patience if I opened up to them - I'd just sound pathetic.

I've looked at a website and there's a counsellor near me who charges £35 an hour. I don't feel that I can afford it and i wouldn't be hugely confident that it could help me. But I'd like to do something to help me and my kids to have a better outlook in life. Has anyone any positive stories?

BumbleBo Thu 08-Sep-11 15:18:49

We can all be our own worst enemy...our harshest critic can often be ourselves! I am always recommending this book to others, because it just made me realise so much about myself and how being so critical of myself was eroding my self esteem and causing depression...

the exercises are so easy and work so fast...there is a chapter on building your self esteem. Hope this helps X

Oh and this book I'm reading now is great too, I'm quite shy and often find people try to bully me a bit...this guy shows you how to be assertive and look after yourself, which boosts your self esteem too!

mellowdramatic Sat 10-Sep-11 13:56:54

Thanks Bumblebee I've ordered the first one (free delivery as well - what a bargain!). It gets great reviews and is definitely worth a try, thanks for the suggeston x

dogsandcats Sun 05-May-13 14:28:47

Am resurrecting this thread.
So many people seem to suffer from low self esteem, which seems to seep into many areas of their lives.
Hops the op doesnt mind!

ColouringInQueen Sun 05-May-13 21:10:31

I am currently finding counselling helpful (suffering from depression at the moment, but have always had low self esteem) as it is helping me to understand my experiences as a child and teenager that have contributed to my low self-esteem. The whole critical voice thing is deadly I know.

A book I've been recommended is Overcoming low self-esteem by Dr Melanie Fennell (sorry haven't worked out the links thing). It's based on Cognitive Behavoural Therapy which my DH has found v helpful for dep/low self-esteem.

I do think low self-esteem is not unusual but its sad. For me it limits what I do in life which is a pity. But hopefully not forever...

ChairmanoftheBored Tue 07-May-13 11:04:12

Can I join this thread. I really feel I could use some support. My husband is great but I don't think anyone truly understands what its like to suffer with low self esteem unless they suffer too.
To OP I have no advice really other than perhaps to write down your triggers and try to rationalise yours thoughts on paper.
Its such a shame that counselling is so expensive privately. I had depression a couple of years back and the only help I got was telephone CBT. Which was rubbish to be honest.

ChocolateTiffin Sun 28-Dec-14 11:08:31

I know this thread is over a year old but came across it whilst searching for same thing as OP. Just wanted to see how others and OP are doing with increasing self esteem. Were the books helpful?

JaneAHersey Sun 28-Dec-14 16:31:17

I had awful problems with low self esteem because of the way I had been treated in my early life. The problem was so bad that when I first saw a psychologist he held a mirror to my face and all I saw was holes in my face and distorted features and my body image was that of my mothers. I was lucky enough to have spent time in an intensive psychotherapeutic community, sadly they no longer exist in my area.

It is a hard road to travel to improve low self esteem but only you can do it. On leaving therapy the best piece of advise given to me was to recognise old feelings and challenge them so when I felt low I had to tell myself eg that my husband and son appreciated me and they benefited from my input into the family. I also was advised in therapy to take on interests and hobbies and found I had some talent. Baking, chocolate making, the sort of things that people around you appreciate.

My explanation may sound simple but overcoming low self esteem is very difficult and complex, at the end of the day you have to become your own best friend and mentor.

I hope that information is of help.

ChocolateTiffin Sun 28-Dec-14 17:28:05

Jane when you said "be your own best friend" hit the nail on the head for me. When I first started reading self help books, I learnt about "self talk' , the inner voice in all of us. We dont realise its even there, its so automatic, so fast, you dont realise. When I started noticing it ( which is quite hard to do I find), I was quite shocked really. I found myself constantly saying things like "I can't do this', *noone likes me", " I'm not important" etc. It made me sad tbh. If only i could make my self talk like as though its coming from a best friend that would be a major breakthrough. But I just dont know how, really.

Namehanger Sun 28-Dec-14 17:32:18

Meditation, yoga, qi-gong, tai-chi all quieter the inner voice and help put you in control. Very good for self-esteem.

ChocolateTiffin Sun 28-Dec-14 17:48:10

Is it similar to mindfulness techniques? Ive seen a lot of that around lately but wasn't too sure if it would be good for self esteem. Ive downloaded a book on it though but haven't got round to reading it yet!

MinceSpy Sun 28-Dec-14 18:02:15

Counselling will help you consider when your self esteem is poor and strategies to deal with. Medication may lift your mood but won't be the long-term answer

JaneAHersey Mon 29-Dec-14 17:32:36

ChocolateTiffin Yes, we have all the negative voices in our heads and it's that we like to hang onto because to think otherwise is challenging the negativity we feel about ourselves.

When I was in psychotherapy I though I was going to get cured of all this negativity and was quite shocked when I was told in no uncertain terms that I had to do all the work to undergo change.

I was female, poor and uneducated in a minority community where females had no status so grew up feeling of no value. You have to look to yourself for validation from yourself not others. Even if you start by pampering yourself in the bath/shower. Telling yourself what a nice person you are, and how much you value yourself warts and all. It's a beginning.

I am now in my early 60's and have written about my early life. I was reluctant to do this because I was worried about negative feedback for my writing. As it happens I have had very good academic reviews because my writing is honest and challenging and offers a unique insight into so many difficult situation and that helps me cope with jealousy and nastiness . I hope you see what I mean.

You sound like you have a lot of insight and you need to use it to become your best resource. When you doubt yourself have a chat with yourself and keep doing this. Don't look to other people to do it because they have their own problems and often don't admit to them.

Good luck

ChocolateTiffin Mon 29-Dec-14 18:49:45

So true about not looking elsewhere to validate yourself. If Ive made a mistake, I always need to ok it with someone to make sure it was ok. I dont tell myself thats its fine- I made a mistake, I'm only human.

Simple example: I just bought a bag recently and tbh it doesn't quite go with the coat I have. (Think boho type bag with smart type coat). But I thought what the hell, it doesn't matter, I like it. But then I thought oh no what if I look like an idiot so I had to ask myDH and Dsis to validate that it was ok. I should have listened to myself though. I need to trust myself. Im finding it so hard to do. Its in every decision I make,

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