Low self-esteem is very much a fear of rejection and the hurt associated with that fear. Dr. Luv addresses self-esteem issues for one surfer. Also, gives information about finding a therapist who fits you.
Dr. Luv The Relationship Coach
Letter Low Self-Esteem
Dear Mr Chris Wilson,
You have given very beautiful tips on how to increase your SE (Self-esteem). But you missed a very important point. What about children who developed low SE due to an abusive or somewhat negative/discouraging childhood?
How do they deal with that situation?
If all your childhood, you were beaten and bruised (mentally and/or physically), can you just pick up an attitude and decide to do away with your low SE which has been your constant companion since infancy?
Can you just say ‘ok, I’ll try this and be alright’, after years of treatment which encouraged low-SE? And this low-SE inevitably becomes deeply rooted in your mind and personality and in most cases just becomes a part of life. Can you change that deeply rooted behavior by practicing just a few tips and techniques? Surely, to change something deep, something equally deep is required.
Parents don’t always think right, or not all parents think right. Its not that parents think of their children in a harmful way. Its just that they thought something was appropriate for their child but actually it was harmful, but they didn’t know it. Sometimes, parents themselves have low SE. This is most probably true of parents who are not adequately encouraging, loving and patient towards their children. Its very possible that these parents pass the treatment to THEIR children as THEY were treated. Maybe its in their sub-conscious minds that this is the right way.
And that’s what happened with me. It started with depression. I tried to find the cause of it and read various things on depression to know what caused it and how to deal with it. I found that my low SE is the cause of my depression. So now, at least the problem has been identified. I tried to find a way of creating high-SE. I must say that it has been a foreign concept to me. I’ve tried to find its causes and found the causes right there in my childhood. It was my abusive/negative/discouraging mother and sometimes father who were responsible. I tried to remember all that that had happened in my childhood.
And I DID come up with very valid incidences which clearly explain the present state of my SE. For example, the following incidence would work as an example to illustrate this point.:
I think I was in class 5-7 maybe. I remember we had this servant girl who kept staring at me. I got annoyed about it and told my mother. Maybe at first she said, ‘oh forget it, you must be thinking wrong. She doesn’t do it.’. Then I think, I went again and told her the same thing, and maybe a second or third time, she got impatient with me and she said in a scolding and degrading (torrential) manner. ‘You are completely abnormal, understand? She doesn’t stare at you, you are thinking wrong!’.
Instead if she would have replied, ‘you’re face is attractive, that’s why she’s doing it, so don’t mind it, you should rather enjoy the attention. Its nothing to be worried about’. My SE would definitely have been boosted instead of being decreased. I remember being very hurt about it and unable to do anything about it.
This is just a small example. I have recalled what happened to me in my childhood and any such incidents which might be responsible for my present level of SE. I have documented them because I believe only going back to them and understanding them and then doing something which counters the effects of these incidents, will work towards improving my SE. The foundation of my ‘personality building’ are weak and distorted. I cant build anything correct on that sort of foundation. I have to work on rebuilding/correcting my foundations.
I also attempted suicide when I was 15 years old, over a scolding by my mother, which was about my bad performance in studies. All the story is about impatience, ruthlessness, mis-understanding and I don’t know what else. The most precious thing that a parent can give his children is a healthy level of SE. For me, the world is divided into people who have high SE and those who have low SE.
So what do you think?
I don’t think its possible for me to follow your following steps, because as I mentioned, to treat something deep (like a brain tumor), you have to do something equally deep (get into the brain and perform surgery. Its only by taking out the tumor by its roots which will work. It wont get cured by medicine, exercise etc.)
Identify and fulfill your needs YOU approve of you Share experiences Review your successes Jump off the treadmill Get in touch with feelings
So do you have any ideas how I can remove this ‘tumor’ inside me?
Looking forward to your answer,
Best Regards Depressed (I would be grateful if you could let me remain anonymous)
I am taking the liberty of replying for Chris Wilson who wrote the article to which you refer.
Those with self-esteem problems want to blame the past: parents, teachers, grandparents or almost any one else. As adults, it is time to accept responsibility and make a decision to do something to change the situation. Self-help books are OK but they are limited in how much they can achieve.
The facts of what happened to you in the past are indisputable, but knowing that will not change anything.
Low self-esteem has been a catchall or psycho-babble excuse often used for inaction. The real culprit is fear of rejection and the associated hurt that rejection causes.
This fear often causes inaction and depression.
Depression is taking yesterday’s fears and actions and projecting them into the future and feeling hopeless and helpless to change. We say to ourselves that it’s always been that way and always will be that way.
The only way to change low self-esteem is to push past the fear. That may mean seeing a good counselor to help you review and realign your perceptions of the past.
No one can change what happened. But you can gain new information, insight, and learning from these past events and begin to change the feelings associated with what happened. With your new understanding, you change.
Today, you, like everyone else, are doing the best you can with what you have to work with. If you could do better, you would.
There is no right or wrong. If it works, fine; if it doesn’t work, try anything else until you find something that does work. You can only change to the extent that you gain new resources in how to live your life differently today. This may require finding a therapist to help you.
All professional help is not equal! There are good and bad therapists. You have to find one that works for you.
But there are some good indicators to good therapists:
1. Does your therapist have a therapist?
2. How long does a client usually see him/her before being discharged?
3. Has the therapist been in therapy and worked on his own issues?
A therapist who has an issue similar to yours who has not worked through it, can’t help you work through the same type of problem.
There are no simple answers to self-esteem issues. Everyone is different and unique. Each person requires approaches that work for him or her.
If you see a therapist for six months and you are still stuck, see a new therapist.
This column is for educational and entertainment purposes. The advice given is merely my thoughts. Professional advice should be sought before any decisions are made.