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Self-Esteem

Indylady

Ideal_Rock
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Apr 28, 2008
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I have a friend and an aunt that both have very low self-esteem. They have a lot going for them, and they both have a lot to offer, but they can't see it. I'm not a counselor, and I don't intend to counsel them. Besides therapy (one is considering it but I have no idea if they will commit, and the other would never seek therapy), what can I do for them? What is some kind of positive reinforcement I could offer? Thanks a million for your thoughts.
 

centralsquare

Ideal_Rock
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Jan 18, 2009
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What makes you think they have low self esteem? Perhaps describing the consequences of it to them may help? I don't think you need to be nit-picky or degrading but just showing them how their life experience could be different. Perhaps that would motivate them to get help?
 

Indylady

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They have both told me that they feel they have low self-esteem, and from the outside looking in, I can see it as well.
 

centralsquare

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Oh, interesting. So they are aware of it. Hmmm...do they feel they miss out on a lot or otherwise realize the consequences of the low self esteem?
 

TristanC

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They need a man-thing that they can wear on their arm. Being the object of someone's desire tends to boost self esteem up the wazoo.
 

Gypsy

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TristanC|1313563805|2992453 said:
They need a man-thing that they can wear on their arm. Being the object of someone's desire tends to boost self esteem up the wazoo.


That and lots of shopping for things with logos. A couple of interlocking C's will boost their egos up well.

*snicker*

Sorry I couldn't resist.

I have low-self esteem. And yes, at times DH is a a security blanket, per Tristan. But it's not a healthy thing and I try very hard not to think of myself as worthy just because I have a good husband. Being enough, all by my self, for myself is a work in progress. It's got good months and bad ones. This isn't a good one. But still... knowing you have an issue and being aware of it is helpful. But it's not enough. I have a very good CBT trained therapist, which is different from other therapists (some just... listen. Okay. Thanks. My cat does that.) is working for me.

What also helps is good friends. Especially ones who aren't afraid to say ... "this is what I appreciate about you"... just out of the blue. People who aren't afraid of complimenting others sometimes makes you look at yourself in a different way. Someone says you are funny and you're like... I am??? And then maybe after you hear it enough you start to believe it. I try to give positive feedback to my friends, when they do something kind, or thoughtful, or funny or whatever I make sure they know how I feel. And they do the same to me. That's a huge thing. It may not seem like it. But it really is.
 

Porridge

Ideal_Rock
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Oct 27, 2008
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Hey IndyLady,

I can sympathise with your aunt and friend. I went through a period a number of years ago of suffering from low self esteem and I'm sure I'm still prone to it, but have very luckily found a way to deal with it that works for me. I had had a long, tough bout of glandular fever which I did NOT deal with properly (didn't let myself rest) and during and afterwards I had a noticable dip in mood and was not feeling good about myself. I kind of tried to just wait it out for a while, but one day I just broke down to my mum (a GP) who straight away took me to see a psychologist specialising in CBT (cognitave behavioural therapy). I just found him fantastic - I was very lucky that the first person I saw was right for me. I only went a few times, but the effects and the things I learned have lasted through to this day. I learned to recognise when I was getting into a negative thought spiral that caused me to feel bad about myself, and how to stop it before it even happened. I learned to recognise what thoughts caused me to feel down, and again how to deal with those and stop them. It's like exercise - it takes practice and then it becomes automatic.

I would CERTAINLY recommend counselling to your aunt and friend, however be careful with how you do it. I found it difficult to hear because it meant there was officially something *wrong* with me, KWIM? Of course, as soon as I got over it I realised that was ludicrous. Now I don't see it as any different to asking for help with anything else, but it was how I felt at the time and how your aunt and friend might feel, so approach with care. Also, I found counselling exhausting to begin with. It wasn't easy.

The other thing I found incredibly helpful, and which I still keep to hand to dip into, is a book called Manage your Mind by Gillian Butler and Tony Hope. It's just a fantastic, straightforward manual for looking after your mental health - I'd nearly recommend it to everyone, no matter how you're feeling!

So, to summarise, I would do what I could to encourage them to see a good counsellor, and would personally recommend CBT. Be very patient and supportive. Lots of positive reinforcement. I woud nearly suggest you browse that book or other sources yourself to understand low self esteem, but I'd also be careful there - intervention is best left up to the professionals.

{Hugs}, it must be hard to see them go through this, they're lucky to have you to care about them.
 

Amys Bling

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If looking for a therapist, they should look for a cognitive-behavioral therapist like Gypsy said. These therapists work on changing the thought process and behaviors that lead to and worsen selfesteem issues (as well as depression and other issued).
 

tyty333

Super_Ideal_Rock
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TristanC|1313563805|2992453 said:
They need a man-thing that they can wear on their arm. Being the object of someone's desire tends to boost self esteem up the wazoo.


Are you volunteering? :cheeky: ?
 

luv2sparkle

Ideal_Rock
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Feb 3, 2008
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I have dealt with this issue stemming from childhood. I think it might depend on what the issue that is underlying or caused it.
Like Gypsy, I have my moments. I had to decide that I was enough for me, regardless of what your culture values as important.
My faith played a huge part in that as well.

For me, my issues came from a family who really didn't love me. They had their own issues that had nothing to do with me, but I
was the recipient. It makes it hard to feel worthy. Ultimately I need to decide that for myself and not let another person define
that.
 

Indylady

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 28, 2008
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5,720
Wow, thank you all! Gypsy, Porridge, and Luv2Sparkle, thank you for sharing your stories as well. I will definitely entourage my friend to seek out a CBT. Unfortunately, I don't think my aunt would ever go, but I do think she might read the book Porridge recommended (and that helps a lot, thank you! I will check it out for myself as well). I do try to give them positive feedback, and thank them when they are kind to me, which is very often. Sometimes they will voice that they are not worthy or this or that, not very smart, not very attractive but its much deeper than a flippant "I wish I could lose 2lbs". It really hurts to see this behavior, because I look up to both so much. Thank you again for your advice! If anyone has more, I would love to hear it, and in the mean time will be reading on the topic as well.
 

Autumnovember

Ideal_Rock
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Apr 28, 2010
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4,384
I haven't read any of the responses.

However, I would just suggest this: continue to be a loving, supportive friend. I think when individuals are able to understand and admit that there are issues such as self-esteem going on, progress has been made, even if just a little bit. I really do not believe that there is anything you can say to either one of them that is going to make this issue resolve. It's an internal issue that they need to resolve on their own or with the help of therapists, and also your support. Sometimes just *listening* can do wonderful things for people.

One of the *biggest* aspects of nursing in any area is developing a good rapport with patients and most importantly TRUST. So, if they are able to trust you, that also, is a good step in the right direction.
 
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