Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Living With Low Self-Esteem

[I'm no longer a student! My last exam was a few weeks back, but I had a period of avoiding anything that involved writing, hence the lack of posting. I'm making it my mission to actual be more active, even if that means a day of non-stop productivity followed by weeks of queued posts!]

Self-Esteem is very important, despite how much people seem to ignore it. If you have low self-esteem, or like me have had periods of none at all, then you understand how difficult it is to cope with certain stuff. I've made a little guide to help you, built by experience and advice and insight by my counselor. This is by no means a quick-fix, but I believe some tips to help improve esteem is a good start.

  • Try and think of the positives.

People with low self-esteem tend to always jump to the worst-case-scenario, and it can result in feeling useless, upset, and pathetic. For example, if you're not invited to something the rest of your friends are going to (eg. a shopping trip), you'd feel left out and rejected.

To cope, try and look at it from a different perspective. If you haven't been invited out with friends, it may have been a short-notice thing and you weren't quickly available, or maybe they had a limit on how many people could go? Stress from stuff such as work or school can also make you think the worst, so consider that when pondering. If you didn't get a job you wanted, you could look for one better suited to you, or look at how to improve you CV. Feel ugly? List what you like about yourself, both internally and externally.

  • Do something different.
There must certainly be some correlation between productivity and self-esteem; it seems a lot of people with low self-esteem don't do as much as those with higher self-esteem, though I may be wrong here.

If you spend loads of time by yourself with just you thoughts to accompany you, try going outside and doing something more productive, such as volunteering or attending social things. Case in point: I use my mum's political career as a means to keep myself occupied; socialising with strangers at gathering is much better than being by yourself.

  • Think beyond yourself.
I don't mean this in a bad way! Many people tend to have their thoughts focus on themselves, often with trivial things such as what to eat, what to wear, or where to go. When you have low self-esteem, these thoughts can become dangerous, as they center on negativity regarding themselves.

This can be remedied by thinking about other people or things; think about why a person is running down the street, or what the person in the same restaurant as you has ordered. Sometimes, thinking about the trivial thoughts of others is better than thinking about yourself in a negative light.

  • If you're struggling, see a counselor.
Sometimes, self-help just doesn't help. If this feels like it is the case, consult your doctor for a referral to get counselling. Alternatively, see if there are any drop-in centers that cater for self-esteem problems; these will often be places that deal with young people, and also deal with drugs, sexuality, and family problems. Universities usually have on-site counselling services, as do some schools, though I'm not sure about colleges or any non-UK institutes.

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