Ari posed the question of how someone with worthiness and low self-esteem issues gets better.
I wish I knew.
I mean I think I know a lot about this, and been working in this area for years. But this is really a difficult issue.
First we must deal with the question I get most: which is how do you fix someone else that has low self-esteem. And the only answer is, you can’t. My experience is that the more you try to reassure someone with low self-esteem, the more neurotic they get. You can never give them enough compliments, enough assurances, enough anything.
You say, “You look beautiful.”
They say, “You really think so?”
You say, “Yes, of course.”
They say, “You’re just saying that.”
You say, “No I mean it.”
They say, “Really?”
You say, “YES, I mean it. You’re beautiful.”
They say, “You really mean it?”
You say, “YES!”
They say, “But you don’t think my ____ is too ____?”
(You grab a knife and kill yourself in frustration.)
The only people that can “fix” someone with low self-esteem are professional mental health practitioners. And not just any one either...
Because unfortunately, a lot of really crazy people are drawn into the mental health field, so they can work on someone else’s neurotic behavior, instead of dealing with their own. But a good one can help someone work through the issues that cause low self-esteem.
Which almost invariably come from your childhood and family of origin. Children of alcoholics, victims of abuse, and anyone that had love withheld at an early age faces some pretty daunting challenges in terms of accepting themselves. It’s takes a trained professional with a great deal of skill to work this out. Don’t try this at home.
You can’t “fix” the other person, because the more you are trying to help them, the more they are subconsciously thinking they don’t deserve the help, and the more crazy they get. And that will eventually drive you crazy. Trust me on this one, as I’ve had extensive on-the-job training in this area. On both sides!
Now can someone that recognizes their own insecurity (which is REALLY hard to do and almost no one ever can) work to get better self-esteem? I believe so.
Recognizing an issue is often 80 percent of the work toward resolving it. I had some pretty low self-esteem for most of my life. And in my case, it took going through therapy to come to grips with that.
Once that was done, I was able to move forward pretty quickly, even though I was no longer seeing the therapist. But I did 30 minutes of self-development, every morning religiously.
After about two years, I felt like I had completely made myself over into a new person. (Which is interesting, in that Deepak Chopra tells us that it takes two years for every single cell in your body to completely regenerate itself.)
I went from a pathologically shy, insecure, neurotic, obsessive/compulsive person – into a mildly shy, reasonably secure, mellow, obsessive/compulsive person.
I continued the daily self-development time, and then felt like I completely remade myself again, in a year. Then I felt like I accomplished it again in six months. Now I’m always amazed at how little I knew four weeks ago.
But along the way, I got comfortable in my own skin. I like myself, so I can like others. I love myself, so I can love others.
I still work on myself each day, but now the objective isn’t to “fix” anything. It’s to gain wisdom, develop spiritually, challenge myself, and keep every day fascinating.
Could I have done it without the therapy? Maybe, but I kind of doubt it.
What do you guys think? What’s your experience dealing with low self-esteem, either yourself or others?