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Self esteem

(4 Posts)
Onetoten Thu 11-Sep-08 10:49:34

I've been thinking about self-esteem recently, in particular why mine is so low and what could be the cause.

I am reasonably ok looking, have a great relationship, two fabulous kids (I'm often told how lovely they are and that I'm doing a good job), I did quite well academically (have good A levels, degree and post degree qualification) and I'm about to embark upon another post degree course. The course I'm doing is quite different to what I've done in the past and competition to get a place was tough. However, despite having no experience in this field (and little confidence) the course leader said I'd interviewed so well he was going to offer me a place on the spot!

Despite all this if I were to enter a room I immediately believe myself to be the least intelligent and worthy person of everyone in there.

Just curious to know, on a scale of one to ten where would you rate your self-esteem? And, if you have improved your self-esteem, how did you do it.

Have namechanged for this.

wilbur Thu 11-Sep-08 10:59:59

This is an interesting one - I always used to feel I had good self-esteem, and yet I have also, on and off, suffered from anxiety about things like my intelligence, my work and relationships with friends. Interestingly, I have never had angst about relationships with men - broken hearts, yes, but never any kind of jealousy/co-dependence/doormat-ism or any of the other difficult traps that women with low self-esteem can fall into. I credit my fantastic, supportive and loving father with that. So I would rate my self-esteem at a base level of about 7/8, but with blips that can be brought on my all sorts of things.

Have you heard of book by Gloria Steinhem called "Revolution from Within - A Book of Self-Esteem"? It's not a self-help book, though it is helpful, more a collection of essays about many different issues, but all with the common theme of self-worth, both on an individual and a collective basis. I read it in my 20s and had a sort of feminist awakening about my value as a person and a woman, and still dip into now and again.

Onetoten Thu 11-Sep-08 11:05:23

Thanks for that. I have wondered if the relationship I have with my Dad is a possible cause. He's never been overtly supportive or proud of me. There's always a hint of critisism of me when we talk and he tends to undermine everything I say. I don't think he even realises he's doing it.

wilbur Thu 11-Sep-08 11:15:25

I do think that critical parents can really set a person into negative thoughts about themselves. My dad was brilliant, generally, with praise and never talking down to us, but my mother could be very critical - not overtly, but she was always quick to point out that I could have done better - so if I showed her schoolwork, she would say "That's wonderful, but it would be better if you made the title red" or whatever. So it is implied criticism, and eventually that became me, in certain situations, feeling just not quite good enough. She did try her best to be supportive but she was desperate for us to do well and be beautiful and brilliant and rich (she had critical parents, was forced to leave school at 16, despite being bright, so you can see how these patterns roll down the generations) and who can ever achieve all those things? I also have a massive issue with my older sister who is very dominant and critical at times, and her temper is the one thing that can still reduce me to complete jelly - totally at odds with my everyday personality. Families, eh?

I do think it's something you can change though. Not your Dad's criticism, but your reaction to it. I did some hypnotherapy and CBT about losing my parents and being left alone with my terrifying sister, and it really helped.

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