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Question
Posted by: desperate | 2004/02/12

Low Self Esteem

Is there any way to boost my self Self Esteem and keep it high. I battle to speak openly to unfamiliar people and in meetings I tend to sit back and listen to what other people say and keep my comments to myself and let it go. I am also scared to approach a girl and start talking to her and ask her for a date or something like that. Please Help.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Dear desperate,
Orie has given you an absolutely BRILLIANT answer, with which I fully agree. See a therapist and work this through --- it can transform your life.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Driver | 2004/03/21

I call myself driver because I feel I am always needing to drive and push myself to be able to do the everyday things in life that so many others do. I push and drive myself with all the old ideas of believing in myself, smiling and being friendly, being myself around others, aproaching people whilst looking them in the eye and speaking to them firmly and clearly but my self esteem still sucks!
Perhaps it is paranoia instead but the evidence is out there. I do all these things and instead of the world becoming easier I seem to leave myself open to abuse from almost anybody, as though I am wearing a sign that says "kick me"! I walk down busy streets trying to look confident and I am the only person others will approach to give a hard time. I call someone on the phone and speak friendly and confident and in many cases I will get treated with dis-respect, often VERY directly from people I have never met. People very often look at me, judge me, and then do something offensive towards me and I know they would not have done it if they had respected or feared me. In any case where I have bothered to retaliate the look of masive shock in their eyes is incredible! I retaliate with good, calm words, not violence or shouting and they all want to turn and run. They can't believe they misjudged me so much. The retaliation works if I can do it but I should not have to live life this way. I should be able to go out into the world and not expect to be treated bad.
This list goes on and I believe it is proof that I am not paranoid. After years of believing in myself and pushing myself everyday I have to go out into the big world and 1 person is all that is needed to say something stupid and I am left in a crumpled heap. I do not believe I am not worthy of respect, perhaps this is the main problem, I believe I should be getting respect but I am not. I am confused I suppose, perhaps I believe I am worthwhile but I don't believe others believe it. I have convinced myself but the rest seem so keen to prove me wrong. What can I do when I look into the mirror and see nothing wrong but can't help feeling that I obviously just don't understand what is wrong? I feel like that in order to be treated with respect I have to take on a different personality.

Reply to Driver
Posted by: Orie | 2004/02/12

I can fully understand what you are going through because I had exactly the same problem.I know I'm an intelligent woman, people praise me and tell me that I'm intelligent,beautiful etc and I know I am but I had trouble believeing that.In meetings I'd sit there afraid to say something just in case others will think it's stupid. I started crying myself to sleep , feeling sorry for myself.I then decided that enough is enough and I made an appointment with a therapist. We had a couple of sessions, there were emotional times where I'd cry during the session as we uncovered the underlying reason for this low self esteem.Until we were able to pin point the cause it was then easy for me to overcome it, it was actually something based in my childhood and I told myself that i cant let my childhood issues erode my future.Once you know where it comes from you'll be able to deal with it . Theraphy helps , it worked for me big time. My boyfriend laughed at me saying that people from my culture ( African) do not use therapist it's something for "white " people. It worked wonders, I was able to hold my head up high and I'm now able to even network during business lunches etc.It takes time , you're not going to be able to do all these after a few sessions. Theraphy makes you aware of yourself and sometimes you have to push yourself and kill the dragon and it's not easy but you come right with time, Even know I'm not oozing with high self esteem but I'm able to recognise it when I'm being passive or when I'm projecting an image of low self confidence and I turn the boat around and fight it. While I was undergoing therapy my therapist gave me a piece of paper and told me to write down things I like about myself anf things I dont like abut myself.
There were few issued I listed under the "good thing's" column and under the " bad things" column the list was endless.It varied from small things to really big issues. That was then that I realised that I'm being hard on myself. Do something , see a therapist .

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