Dealing with low self esteem people

How To Help Someone With Low Self-Esteem: 6 Tips From Therapists

Do I measure up? It’s a question that everyone asks themself. But for those who struggle with low self-esteem, it plays on repeat with an answer of “no”. When someone believes that their talent or skills are not worthwhile, it bleeds into every area of their life. As the partner or friend of someone struggling, it’s difficult to see how they view themselves and it can often make your relationship and day-to-day life harder. You want to help them. But how can you?

While it’s completely normal for instances of low self-esteem to pop up on occasion (especially for parents for whom there’s no lack of responsibilities and expectations), low self-esteem can be a chronic issue. This can be draining and toxic for the person struggling and, over time, everyone around them.

Being in a relationship with someone who has low self-esteem can be particularly tough, especially if you’re relying on them to contribute to the family. Before you can address your partner’s issues, it’s important to distinguish between low self-worth and low self-esteem. According to therapist and coach Laura Steventon, people with low self-worth believe they’re fundamentally worthless and useless, while those with self-esteem believe they don’t have the talent or skills to achieve success. “They are both equally draining to the person and the relationship,” she says.

Low self-esteem can manifest in a variety of ways. People struggling with it typically have very loud inner critics. They may be workaholics, people-pleasers, or perfectionists, and they may pick arguments to relieve the internal pressure they feel inside.

“It puts the person suffering in a cycle of push-and-pull with themselves, creating an internal tension and stress,” she says.

At times, you might find yourself just as stressed if you’re in a relationship with a person with low self-esteem. Your partner’s self-deprecating tendency could cause them to be controlling, jealous, insecure, or critical. On the flip side, Steventon says, they may be so passive that they don’t make any decisions or plans and leave you to organize everything, so you feel like you’re carrying the weight of responsibility.

Difficulties aside, it’s simply hard to watch someone you love be so hard on themselves. So how do you help someone with low self-esteem?

Unfortunately, says Billy Roberts, a therapist in Columbus, you can’t fix your partner’s self-esteem — and your own self-care might depend on you acknowledging this truth. However, you can provide conditions for your partner’s self-esteem to grow through validation and support — and, at the same time, develop skills that help you become a more understanding partner in the process.

Here are six ways to do that, according to therapists.

Conor Robinson

1. Validate their emotions

It may be frustrating to deal with a partner who’s insecure or unmotivated, especially if you just can’t understand why they’re so hard on themselves. But Roberts says the best thing to do is simply ask your partner about their feelings and accept them as their reality. “Too often, partners might try to argue with their partner’s feelings or talk them out of them,” he says. “However, feelings are like the weather: They’ll ultimately do what they do, and validating them can help you to be more patient and encouraging.”

2. Address the problem

If you’re ready to talk about the self-esteem issue, focus on the behavior instead of your partner’s identity –– your partner might shut down and grow even more insecure if you come off as harsh. Try pointing out in a non-judgmental way how your partner’s behavior negatively impacts your relationship, and let them know you want to grow in intimacy because you value them as a person. For example, you could say “I get discouraged from telling you how attractive you are when you dismiss me,” says Maryland-based clinical social worker Kimberly Perlin.

3. Don’t dole out false praise

In the case of an insecure spouse, it’s best to save the gratuitous gold stars for your preschooler. Therapist Jen Kelman, suggests avoiding false praise or “propping up,” which could come across as disingenuous and further detract from your partner’s self-esteem. “False praise or overcompensation is typically very obvious,” she says. “This can bring up feelings of unworthiness in your spouse and the feeling you must not really believe in them.” Instead of coddling your partner, focus on giving honest — but loving — feedback. For example, if you’re frustrated your partner didn’t do the dishes, avoid statements like “You never do what I ask you to do.” Instead, calmly tell them a tidy kitchen is important to you, and you’re frustrated that the dishes don’t seem like a priority.

4. Don’t do the work for them

Anyone struggling with self-confidence can benefit from outside support, whether from trusted friends or a therapist. It may be tempting to “do the work” of finding those support systems for your insecure partner, but Perlin cautions against it. Instead, find ways to let your partner have their own agency –– successes along the way will only help their self-esteem grow over time. And if they don’t see their behavior as a problem? “Explore with them when they would feel the need to get outside assistance so you can get an idea of their sense of the problem,” Perlin suggests.

5. Set boundaries

It’s easy to become drained and resentful when you’re dealing with a partner who constantly needs your help, but you don’t have to (and shouldn’t) stay resentful indefinitely. Marriage and family therapist Jenny Walters suggests maintaining a compassionate-but-firm stance that encourages your partner to take responsibility for their own behavior — and telling them what could happen in your relationship if they don’t. “Having a boundary is important,” she says. “Let them know this is their work to do, and that there’s a consequence to not doing that internal growth work.”

6. Prioritize your own well-being

Ultimately, your relationship is a two-way street. While it’s important to provide a supportive atmosphere for your partner, you won’t get very far if you’re burning yourself out doing it. Try not to stop your life or give up interests to address your partner’s struggle; it’ll only cause unnecessary resentment, which won’t help either of you. And if you find yourself in need of further support, don’t hesitate to seek out a therapist of your own. “You need joy and strength to continue to grow your relationship and self,” Perlin says.

Low self-esteem likely stems from years of negative thinking. It’s a difficult pattern to correct. If your partner is truly struggling, suggest (gently, of course) that they attend therapy. They may not think that they need — or even deserve — counseling, but there is help. And it can bring your relationship to a better place.

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Raising low self-esteem - NHS

We all have times when we lack confidence and do not feel good about ourselves.

But when low self-esteem becomes a long-term problem, it can have a harmful effect on our mental health and our day-to-day lives.

What is self-esteem?

Self-esteem is the opinion we have of ourselves.

When we have healthy self-esteem, we tend to feel positive about ourselves and about life in general. It makes us better able to deal with life's ups and downs.

When our self-esteem is low, we tend to see ourselves and our life in a more negative and critical light. We also feel less able to take on the challenges that life throws at us.

What causes low self-esteem?

Low self-esteem often begins in childhood. Our teachers, friends, siblings, parents, and even the media send us positive and negative messages about ourselves. 

For some reason, the message that you are not good enough is the one that stays with you.

Perhaps you found it difficult to live up to other people's expectations of you, or to your own expectations.

Stress and difficult life events, such as serious illness or a bereavement, can have a negative effect on self-esteem.

Personality can also play a part. Some people are just more prone to negative thinking, while others set impossibly high standards for themselves.

How does low self-esteem affect us?

If you have low self-esteem or confidence, you may hide yourself away from social situations, stop trying new things, and avoid things you find challenging.

In the short term, avoiding challenging and difficult situations might make you feel safe.

In the longer term, this can backfire because it reinforces your underlying doubts and fears. It teaches you the unhelpful rule that the only way to cope is by avoiding things.

Living with low self-esteem can harm your mental health and lead to problems such as depression and anxiety.

You may also develop unhelpful habits, such as smoking and drinking too much, as a way of coping.

How to have healthy self-esteem

To boost your self-esteem, you need to identify the negative beliefs you have about yourself, then challenge them.

You may tell yourself you're "too stupid" to apply for a new job, for example, or that "nobody cares" about you.

Start to note these negative thoughts and write them on a piece of paper or in a diary. Ask yourself when you first started to think these thoughts.

Next, start to write some evidence that challenges these negative beliefs, such as, "I'm really good at cryptic crosswords" or "My sister calls for a chat every week".

Write down other positive things about yourself, such as "I'm thoughtful" or "I'm a great cook" or "I'm someone that others trust".

Also write some good things that other people say about you.

Aim to have at least 5 positive things on your list and add to it regularly. Then put your list somewhere you can see it. That way, you can keep reminding yourself that you're OK.

You might have low confidence now because of what happened when you were growing up, but we can grow and develop new ways of seeing ourselves at any age.

Other ways to improve low self-esteem

Here are some other simple techniques that may help you feel better about yourself.

Recognise what you're good at 

We're all good at something, whether it's cooking, singing, doing puzzles or being a friend. We also tend to enjoy doing the things we're good at, which can help boost your mood.

Build positive relationships

If you find certain people tend to bring you down, try to spend less time with them, or tell them how you feel about their words or actions.

Try to build relationships with people who are positive and who appreciate you.

Be kind to yourself

Being kind to yourself means being gentle to yourself at times when you feel like being self-critical.

Think what you'd say to a friend in a similar situation. We often give far better advice to others than we do to ourselves.

Learn to be assertive

Being assertive is about respecting other people's opinions and needs, and expecting the same from them.

One trick is to look at other people who act assertively and copy what they do.

It's not about pretending you're someone you're not. It's picking up hints and tips from people you admire and letting the real you come out.

Start saying "no"

People with low self-esteem often feel they have to say yes to other people, even when they do not really want to.

The risk is that you become overburdened, resentful, angry and depressed.

For the most part, saying no does not upset relationships. It can be helpful to keep saying no, but in different ways, until they get the message.

Give yourself a challenge

We all feel nervous or afraid to do things at times. But people with healthy self-esteem do not let these feelings stop them trying new things or taking on challenges.

Set yourself a goal, such as joining an exercise class or going to a social occasion. Achieving your goals will help to increase your self-esteem.

Where to find help for low self-esteem

Psychological therapies like counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help.

You can refer yourself for psychological therapies on the NHS.

If you prefer, you can talk to a GP first and they can refer you.

You could also find a private therapist. Make sure they're registered with a professional body.

Audio: unhelpful thinking

In this audio guide, a doctor helps you to replace negative thoughts with more positive thinking.

Media last reviewed: 2 March 2021
Media review due: 2 March 2024

Visit to hear young people talking about their experiences of low self-esteem.

Video: psychological therapies for stress, anxiety and depression

Animated video explaining self-referral to psychological therapies services for stress, anxiety or depression.

Media last reviewed: 14 March 2022
Media review due: 14 March 2025

Working with low self-esteem

It would be very difficult and even impossible to single out one general mechanism for working to improve self-esteem. Therefore, now together we will try to figure out what the phenomenon of low self-esteem is and in what ways it is possible to go beyond this phenomenon.

What determines the level of self-esteem? Is he permanent?

What is self-esteem in general? It is how a person treats himself. How much he revolves in the orbit of success-failure, what demands he makes on himself, what prohibitions he imposes on himself, how much he loves and knows himself externally and internally. There can be a lot of similar levels of self-perception, each of us chooses the number of them in which he lives comfortably. Different things are also hidden under the concept of comfort: someone is very comfortable just living and taking any event for granted, according to the principle “everything that happens is for the best”, and someone feels good only if he has complaints about the world and your actions. nine0003

Based on all this, our worldview and self-esteem are formed. Its level, of course, cannot be constant. We are living beings, we change ourselves every second and see changes in the surrounding reality, therefore we constantly experience mood swings and also self-esteem. Today we are delighted with ourselves and fly on the wings of good luck, and tomorrow we are already indignant and cannot imagine how one can be such a loser.

In addition to all of the above, self-esteem is strongly influenced by other people. If you look at it, this is an assessment of us by others, but not by us. However, in the formation of self-esteem, public opinion has power. nine0003

An important factor in the formation of self-esteem are the situations that we experienced deeply in the past. What surrounded us when we were children, those words that were once reproachfully thrown at us by someone. Those moments when we were compared with successful people and emphasized our failure. Those situations in which we behaved as our heart suggested, and we were mocked for it. Each person has an innumerable number of situations in stock.

What is low self-esteem? nine0005

It is practically impossible to answer this question unambiguously. Low self-esteem can be expressed in rather stereotypical things, such as depression, shyness, passivity. But it also manifests itself in the opposite behavior. A person may dress and look emphatically bright and not like others, may begin to get carried away with something unusual or rare.

There are things in common that move people with low self-esteem and shape their behavior. These include:

  • indecision;
  • fear of trust;
  • dependence on the opinions of others.

In general, there are two ways of life for people with low self-esteem. They either withdraw into themselves or assert themselves with great zeal. Notably, both of these paths cause suffering.

Such a person invents for himself a system of prohibitions and restrictions, for which he then praises and punishes himself. He sets tasks and goals for himself, draws in his head an image of himself that everyone would like, and thinks through possible success stories. In fact, he does not know himself at all, he cannot reach out to his true impulses due to the fact that he built walls for himself. Appearance also “falls under a hot hand”: there is not enough beauty, flaws are visible to everyone and immediately, very far from ideal. Therefore, there are two options. The first is to transform as much as possible with the help of cosmetics, hairstyles and interesting clothes. The second is doomed to recognize oneself as an empty place and completely forget about what it means to look after oneself. But all this is just an attempt to mask uncertainty outwardly. nine0003

Features of low self-esteem in people of different ages

As such, there are no cardinal differences in the manifestation of low self-esteem in adults and children. There are all sorts of options. Adults often feel confident that they are wrong, of course, without admitting it to anyone. This is where problems start at work, in family relationships. Children find an idol for themselves and, as it were, live his life. Moreover, this is not necessarily a well-known person - a neighbor on the landing can also act as an idol. nine0003

As a result of such moods, which govern the whole life of a person with low self-esteem, all potential possibilities are paralyzed. People forget about their talents, abilities and interests, simply not considering themselves worthy of doing what they want. If this does not happen and a person is still doing something interesting for himself, then low self-esteem makes him be too critical of himself. It turns out that people experience a permanent rejection of life itself, embarrassed by themselves - and this is the same as not living at all. nine0003

How to deal with low self-esteem and should it be done?

It is certainly necessary to increase self-esteem. And it is better to do it not mechanically, but penetrating the essence. People suffering from this phenomenon need to decide to remove all walls and discover themselves in themselves. What can you advise a person who has decided to work with the problem of low self-esteem starting from this minute?

  • Try to remember how you used to enjoy everything around you. When there were no worries in the form of work, family and fuss. nine0022
  • Finally stop worrying about "what people think of me"! It will be difficult, but the exercise is very effective.
  • Imagine that today is your last day. Do any claims against yourself matter now?
  • Take a break from this: occupy yourself with such things that require presence and continuous activity so that you do not have time to think about how good you are in their execution.
  • When talking with others, pay full attention to the interlocutor, try to listen and understand him, without thinking about what you will say to him in response. nine0022

You can try to work with self-esteem on your own, but it is better to go through it together with a professional psychotherapist. Sign up for a session with me by phone 8-983-269-35-31 and be ready to feel the wings behind your back!

Photo source: © pressmaster / SIphotography / iancucristi / photographee. eu

People with low self-esteem are catastrophically zadolbali / Sudo Null IT News

People with low self-esteem respond inadequately to criticism. They take everything personally. All people make mistakes. When you analyze a mistake with an adequate person, he understands everything, the conversation is constructive. A person with low self-esteem perceives the analysis of the situation as an insult, mental trauma, evidence of his inferiority. Low self-esteem prevents him from separating himself from the situation, himself from his mistake.

When you need sound criticism, don't expect it from someone with low self-esteem. Instead of parsing mistakes, you will get a knife stuck in the back by the uncertain little hand of a miserable little man. The LNS is more likely to try to use your miss against you. Not even to take your place himself, no. nine0063 Dipping another into the same shit in which he himself has been cooking all his life is the most accessible way for him to assert himself.

People with low self-esteem are very difficult to teach. When you tell them something new, they believe that in this way they are shown their stupidity or other shortcomings. Even if there are no such shortcomings, they will invent them for themselves. Or they will make up that you are trying to point out their imperfection in this way.

People with low self-esteem are terrible workers. Work for them is a punishment. Let's say there was a real production need to remove shit from the porch. It would never occur to a normal person that they are “trying to humiliate” him in this way. In the LNS, such an order will cause a protest. He will be sure that he was sent to clean up the shit, not because it needs to be done, because it stinks, but because "they want to show him that he is only worthy of this." Even a personal example will not put the brains of a particularly neglected LNS in its place. nine0003

Some LNAs try to hide their low self-esteem behind a screen of "aggressive behavior". They are prone to constant attempts at self-affirmation. But it would be nice if they asserted themselves, achieving something. They resort to the most heinous and cheap way - to humiliate another. At work, this results in disruption of meetings and discussions, sabotage of assignments, set-ups, and mobbing.

People with low self-esteem become bolder when they join packs. I'm afraid to imagine how many destinies were broken just because a pack of insignificant ghouls sabotaged the work of a new member of the team. nine0003

This happens especially often when a team of overgrown, unachieved nonentities is appointed as the boss of a person who is significantly younger than them: hissing viciously in the corners).
- She is too self-confident, she has an overestimated heart rate (not everyone can be trembling creatures).
- Well, you have self-conceit (no, it's your low self-esteem).
- And why was he appointed, I have been working here for five years (I didn’t have to wipe my pants and be afraid to insert a word). nine0003

Low self-esteem is at the root of what I have called the stinking loser. By the way, I will soon post here a note about losers, which I once prepared for a magazine, slightly rewritten for Habr.

Endless self-digging and dependence on other people's assessments makes LNS depressed, drives them into melancholy and depression. Instead of changing themselves and achieving something, they constantly squash the sticky smelly lump of their complexes.

It is very difficult to communicate with them. I have already said how they take criticism. Praise and compliments they perceive even worse. It seems to them that this is flattery, an attempt to use them. nine0003

Very often there is a nauseating background around the LNS. This LNS is sickeningly whining. Everything is bad with him, everything is wrong with him, everyone offends him, life is shit, work is garbage. It's annoying.

People with low self-esteem should not be given any leverage. To avoid disaster.

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