When the Looking Glass Lies

Many people seem to be just fine when we interact with them each day when in fact they are struggling with themselves internally to see themselves as they truly are and to accept themselves fully. There are many possible causes for low self-esteem and lack of confidence (these are similar but not the same thing). Self-esteem is developed in childhood and is also affected by things like long-term stress, dealing with a disability or abusive relationships. Even after a person is no longer in a situation that perpetuates negative feelings about themselves it may take a while for them to redevelop a healthy self-esteem.

A lot of research has been done on self-esteem and confidence and there are steps that can be taken to improve how we feel about ourselves. Often simple things like taking time out each day to be alone or listing the good things about oneself can make a big difference. Depending on the individual, it may help to work with a good counselor or life coach as they are able to help people see themselves and their situation objectively. They can be a great motivator and can help people to make SMART goals and action plans to achieve them which also help to develop a person’s self-esteem and confidence as they continue to acknowledge their successes and good points day to day. Even acknowledging simple things that have gone well throughout the day can make a difference over time as it becomes natural to observe and acknowledge the many positive things that were previously taken for granted.

If you or someone you know suffers from low self-esteem or a lack of confidence, try to understand that they may not always respond the way you think they should when you compliment them or when you acknowledge something they’ve accomplished and they may not ask for help even if it seems to you like they should.  You can be supportive by sincerely sharing with them what you like and appreciate about them or by taking the time to be with them and perhaps listening to them about whatever’s on their mind. You don’t have to try to fix things or solve any of their problems and in some cases this may result in causing unnecessary frustration. Your efforts may not always be received fully right away as people with low self-esteem may have a hard time trusting that people would want to spend time with them or care about them genuinely. It takes patience and effort to continue being there for someone who seems to discount your efforts but slowly it will sink in and it does matter. Your caring efforts can help someone learn to trust again and can help them to see that they aren’t alone…they are perfectly human and as imperfect as we are, we are all unique and worthy of acceptance.


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