Self Esteem Answers

why do i feel like an outkast in my family?

Hi DE!  Thank you for reaching out for some help with this! Feeling different can be challenging and isolating. The truth is, you probably are different than your family but that is more than okay. Everyone is different in their own way and that is what makes us, us.  I am going to take a risk and assume you have heard that before. In today's society, we are told that it is okay to be different and that it is okay to be unique. I don't think we are always shown that by our family and friends.  The truth is, the only person that has to like you, is you. Sure it's great to have friends and family as support but at the cost of having to pretend to be someone you aren't? Being yourself but also being respectful of other people is so important.  What traits and qualities do you have that makes it difficult to get along with your family? Are there things that you are doing that might make them feel defensive or like they need to argue? I am not blaming you for these things, just asking you to dig a little and take a look at your thoughts related to these questions above because in reality, you can't control other people. You can control you. Sometimes when we want to be accepted or have something done our way, we try to control those around us and we try to push them into liking us and that leads to a lot of tension and frustrations, which can be seen as dislike.  How does you dealing with your problems differently impact the rest of your family? It shouldn't impact them at all. They can be supportive of you while respecting that maybe you do or you don't want to talk about it. Are they doing this? Having a conversation with them in a respectful way about how you feel might also be helpful.  Speak with "I statements" when talking. This means expressing how you feel without blaming anyone else for those feelings. This means trying not to say things in a way that will cause others to be defensive.  It's okay to be different than your family. It's okay to be you. It's not okay to treat people with disrespect so as long as you are steering clear of that, don't worry about what others think and focus on loving yourself.  I wish you the best!  -Melissa
Answered on 02/07/2023

I can't focus on my studies. How do I stop worrying about stupid thoughts and concentrate?

Dear Saul I hope my message finds you well. It sounds very much like you are an overthinker. How do these processes lead you closer to what you want? How can you stop this, I wonder what it would be like to start liking yourself for who you are. Accepting that you are interesting if we focus on the external for our peace it will always and only be temporary. It sounds like you need to learn to accept yourself unconditionally this way your world will remain in a constant flow. This is because you are not reliant on others to accept you. You have learned to grow into the version of yourself you want the world to see and not need for others to see. Many events in our earlier life can contribute to us wanting to seek validation from others. You, ask what you need to do. What do you feel you need to do? I wonder if engaging in therapy would support you in unpicking what and where your want external validation comes from. How you can connect with the younger version of yourself and offer the validation and acceptance which you did not feel was present in the way you needed them to be? I can only imagine how tiring it is for you to be on this constant path of planning each and every interaction and when that has taken place beating yourself up for the things you could have said but did not. Learning some deep breathing techniques may support in calming your thoughts, also maybe engaging in therapy could possibly help you unpick what is going on for you in a safe and non-judgmental space. You have the answers you seek from an external point of view however it may currently not be easy for you to connect with this part of yourself on your own. I hope you find something within these lines which will support you to take the next step to a deeper understanding of yourself. I am here if you would like to explore deeper. Take the very best care Kind regards Marlene
Answered on 02/06/2023

How do I love myself more?

Dating and loving oneself are two different things. To do either one is a personal choice and requires introspection and being self aware in order to adjust accordingly, for growth and development as an individual or as a person involved in dating other individuals. Begin with identifying an acceptable level of comfort that you can feel at ease in your acceptance of loving yourself enough, with or without dating. This begins with one's idea of self love. Identifying self love as a thought, a feeling, or a concept is based on perceptions of one's own standards, or society's standards. Therefore, know your own standards, recognizing your self awareness in relation to your idea of self love. Decide if self love is the opposite of your idea of self hate in order to move away from negative thoughts and feelings about oneself to conflict with the concept of self love. Any amount of self love, is positive in comparison to self hate. Therefore, is just having any amount of self love for one self, enough to satisfy a person enough to begin the dating process? Wouldn't this be a personal choice? This is why standards and levels of comfort can be helpful in deciding modes of measurements for oneself to envision readiness for dating. One can begin by trying to understand self love can be learned, shaped, and developed. It can be a choice, and not something that happens to people.  Self love is about appreciation and having positive regard for oneself, despite other's opinions or perceptions. It is also about having respect and care for oneself, to be accepting of one's strengths and weaknesses. It is being comfortable in one's own skin, enough to love, even the worst part of oneself.  When a person can still choose to have an affinity for loving themself, without dwelling upon their human flaws like their shortcomings, weaknesses and failings, and recognize that sometimes the imperfections that lie within, are that which makes one interesting and sets one apart. Honing into the authentic self with the appreciation of oneself, to the point of being accepting, and thankful, while feeling content with oneself, without self judgment, is also part of self love. This can also project positive confidence as positive energy, outwards, helpful in attracting other positive energy. This can be a magnetic force in the dynamics of dating. To gauge the extent of self love from within, in perceiving dating readiness; using a rating scale measurement tool in the form of measurable responses based on reported percentage ratings, may help, to gauge growth in self love in relation to dating readiness if one is trying to evolve in self love and in the dating process. A rating scale may help as a measurable form for identifying growth by beginning with an initial baseline, and measuring growth in one's perceived self love over time until an acceptable level of comfort is reached based on predetermined parameters, set by an individual. For example, one could utilize a scaling method to denote the levels of growth in assessing self love and assessing one's readiness for beginning to date. The scale tool for utilization could be from 1 percent to 100 percent (1 percent=lowest rating for personal self love of oneself, to 100 percent=highest rating for personal self love of oneself. If someone first rated themself as only thinking or feeling their level of self love is at 20 percent readiness, then, they could work on identifying positive ways to increase their self love, like striving to identify positive traits, skills and strengths, within themself, to build their appreciation and gratitude for themself. By doing this, an individual may also build up their self confidence and self esteem, attributes that are related to self love. Upon the percentages increasing closer to a person's acceptable level of comfort for beginning to date, an individual may then, begin to feel more comfortable to begin to date. For example, if within a few weeks, the rating scale method, increases from 20 percent to 75 percent, measuring the level of self love an individual has for themself, that 55 percent increase in growth may be the right amount of acceptable level of comfort of self love for an individual to begin dating. Therefore, as long as the individual has reached their personal acceptable level of comfort of self love, before starting to date; the, that individual may be ready to trust the dating process enough to take a risk.  Self love is a process, and a personal journey; that, only a person can decide for themself, if they do love themself enough to allow them to try to open up parts of themself, with others, as in dating.  Dating is society's ritual to meet others, and explore together, in hopes of getting to know one another, for taking the relationship to another level, or towards commitment. Dating, as is self love is also a process and journey. A difference is that in self love, only one person is involved. In dating, more than one person is involved. It may help for a person to know more about their own wants and needs, and what is their acceptable level of comfort for dating to ensure, before beginning the dating process. This is a part of respecting oneself enough to value self worth. It is part of the self love component to give oneself permission to value their own wants and needs as a priority, as an individual, and taken these things into consideration during the dating process to see if these one's wants and needs align or conflict with others, for assessing the value of remaining single or enjoining with others, that complement one another, rather than serve to complete each other.-TC, LPC
Answered on 02/06/2023

How do I find self love?

Hi Laurie, Well congrats on having the new baby as well as in being ready to start examining some patterns in your personal life and relationship that maybe haven't been too healthy. Of course, I don't know much about what your life or your relationship looks like, but here are some generally ideas to look at. Some of these may be helpful, while others may not apply to your situation: 1. I would first start looking at your relationship and whether it's healthy. What's made you feel worried that he's going to cheat? Have you tolerated mistreatment by your partner? Have you forgiven transgressions over and over only to be hurt time and time again? Part of improving self-love involves setting boundaries with those who are hurting us, who are bringing us down, who do not respect us. I don't know that this is the case with your current relationship, but I do think it's important to examine whether you're taking all of the blame for unhealthy behaviors when maybe all of that blame isn't warranted.  2. You may also need to work on healing from past relationships. If your current relationship has been healthy but your lack of trust in your current relationship and lack of self-esteem stems from being mistreated in prior relationships, maybe there's some trauma there that you need to work through. Therapy can be a great way to do that, whether that be examining the beliefs that you acquired about yourself, others, and the world around you, or working through past experiences with a therapist trained in CBT or EMDR. 3. Pay attention to what you tell yourself and evaluate whether your self-talk is rational. For example, the statements you tell yourself about not being pretty enough--are you perhaps focusing on certain aspects of your appearance while discounting your attributes? As for being "good enough," do you ruminate on mistakes or failures but fail to acknowledge and celebrate successes, even minor ones? 4. Positive affirmations can be a great way to work on self-love. Coming up with a list of positive affirmations that are realistic for you and telling yourself these on a regular basis, ideally while looking in a mirror, can help you to begin to change the way you think about yourself. You may also want to make a list of your strengths, and if you have difficulty doing this (and you probably will), asking other people who know you well to help you develop that list of strengths. Reviewing that list regularly, even if it's uncomfortable at first, can help you to recognize those strengths. 5. If you are dealing with significant mental health challenges such as a mood disorder or anxiety disorder, you may want to talk with a doctor about whether you would benefit from psychotropic medications. They're not something that everyone needs, but some people do very well in improving their self-esteem when they lift out of a depressive episode or reduce their anxiety. 6. Naturally, I'm a huge proponent of therapy, and I encourage you to give it a try, whether that be on this platform or elsewhere. Matching with a therapist who can provide support and help you challenge your negative self-talk can help you begin to change how you view yourself and become the person that you want to be. Your perception of yourself probably wasn't created overnight, and similarly it can take some time for self-esteem to build, but by taking the step to ask for help today, you're identifying that you are worth it, and self-love absolutely is possible. Take care, Nicholas DeFazio, MRC, LPCC-S, LICDC
Answered on 02/05/2023

Can being adopted cause low self esteem and low self image?

Good evening! I appreciate you taking a step and reaching out about something you have been dealing with and questioning. I am going to answer this question in more of a general way because I didn't have the specifics of your childhood and background.  This should still help with processing your question. As humans, we are so good at criticizing ourselves and one thing is for sure, we are our own worst critic. When it comes to self esteem and our own self esteem, we are assessing ourselves subjectively of our own self worth constantly. In essence we make a choice whether or not we are worthy of happiness and good things in life. When we start to believe that we don't deserve things, our ability to enjoy life can take a hit and suffer.  As we grow from being a kid into an adult, those experiences that we endure in between influenced and shaped our self esteem. We have impactful experiences with people and experience different situations which both form a self image. Experiences in childhood begin to build the foundation of your self esteem. How we were treated by different people in our life, the times we succeeded and the times we were knocked down all influence your self esteem and self worth. I like to take a look at a comparison of healthy self esteem vs poor self esteem. With healthy self esteem, the adults who experience this may have experienced a variety of support as a child. Achievements were most likely praised often, they felt like they were heard and were respected by others, they felt they had a healthy amount of attention from others and were able to feel affection by those close to or caring for them. Having a peer group that admired them for different things they were good at may have also impacted them having high self esteem as an adult. On the other hand, those adults with low self esteem may have experience much of the opposite. As a child they may have felt like they were criticized, they may have been yelled and screamed at. There is a high probability that the adults in their lives that we expected to be caring for them, may have not given them much or any attention at all. Sometimes, with all of the criticism and feelings of imperfection, your mind starts to believe that without achievements you will always be unworthy and worthless. This is really harsh, right? It's what happened to us, it's not our fault. We are molded and shaped by all of these experiences. We don't always see that until we become older. This is important to know for a few reasons. One of them is that you are able to have a understanding that what has happened to you in life has an impact on you. You are also able to work on and build your self esteem, so I do not want you to feel like you are doomed. It takes some work but it is very possible and it is so important! The way we feel about ourselves effects and impacts how we live our lives. We can build healthy relationships, set and achieve small and long term goals, focus on our health, find things that we can do that we really enjoy and all of this will help to increase our self esteem. First things first though, you have to admit and believe in that you are worthy of these things. There are ways to work through the thoughts and feelings that come up when asking yourself that question and there are people that are able and here to help you during that journey. I wish you the best and I hope that this is helpful for you. 
Answered on 01/28/2023

I'm not sure what I should be doing

Hello Lisbeth! Thank you for your message. While it sounds from your message like you feel very confused, the fact is that there are a lot of people expressing very similar feelings.  First of all, core beliefs. Core beliefs are beliefs that we came to embrace as children. We are not born with thoughts or beliefs so we simply adopt the beliefs that our caregivers have. If they believe "ABC" we believe "ABC". These core beliefs generally are about ourselves, others, and the world in general. From these core beliefs, we generate ways of thinking about more specific things like how we perform in school or at work, how likable we think we are, and so on. We develop thinking patterns about other people and the world in general such as "most people cannot be trusted," or "the world is a dangerous place." Those are just examples. These become the "lenses" that we experience life through. Everything that we experience is filtered through these lenses. Sometimes, as a result of these lenses, we develop certain "rules" for living. This means we have come to believe that we "should" or "should not" do certain things, be certain things, achieve certain things, and so forth. And the "rules" apply to others as well. But, many times we are extremely critical of ourselves with these "rules." We might say to ourselves -- "Well, I am 28 years old and I should have already graduated from college and gotten my first awesome job. I should be married with 2.5 kiddos." And so on. When we start creating these "rules" in our head as to how we should or should not be, then it is easy to fall into the rabbit hole of self-criticism and self-doubt. Any little setback becomes our "proof" that we are not living up to the expectations. This kind of thinking can be exhausting and depressing.  One way to re-route yourself is to start with your core beliefs. I personally have a handout about core beliefs and thinking patterns that helps my clients identify their core beliefs. You could probably go online and find some examples of core beliefs exercises. Once you have identified some of your core beliefs, then you can decide for yourself if any or all of them are helpful or hurtful. If you discover that some of your core beliefs are not very helpful, then you can decide if you want to discard that core belief or change it to something a little more helpful. This is what we call "reframing." Here is an example: Core belief is "I am worthless. I can't do anything right." Reframe: "I am a good person. I make mistakes like everyone else but I have some great qualities as well." The next thing to do is to examine your values. What is important to you? What do you stand for? How do you show up in the world? When we know what our values are, then we can decide how we want to conduct our lives to be in sync with our values. By doing that, we start to feel better about ourselves and more confident because we are doing what is important to us. Example: let's say one of your values was "contribution". And let's say that the reason that this was one of your values is because you get a good feeling when you do something helpful for someone else. So one way that you could align your behavior with this value would be to volunteer at some organization like the homeless shelter or just do something for the neighbors (cut their grass, do their grocery shopping). It doesn't take much to live your values but you have to know what they are in the first place. By knowing your values, you also know where you need to set your boundaries for yourself and for others. Values are very important to our sense of self as well as confidence. Knowing our values is like having a GPS system for our life. They provide direction. Values change over time so it is good to review them from time to time. It is also important to be sure that the values that you are living by are actually your values and not the values that you think you "should" have -- which goes back to core beliefs and thinking patterns. You get to choose your own values and just because your mom or neighbor or cousin values one thing does not mean that you also have to value that one thing. Frequently, we find ourselves unhappy and confused if we are trying to live by someone else's values. This is very prevalent when you think about social media and how hard people are trying to live up to the "norms" of social media. These are not necessarily the individual's values. They are just "rules" that they think they "should" live by. I suspect that if you come to know yourself, how you think, and what you value, and then if you can align your daily life with your own beliefs and your own values, you will start to feel less confused and much more confident. I hope this has helped a little bit. Thank you for reading my response! Judi
Answered on 01/25/2023

I feel that my lack of confidence is affecting my personal and professional life, what can I do?

Hello Alessio, Thank you for your question. I am sorry to hear that you feel you are losing friends and that you were passed over for the promotion due to your lack of self confidence. You actually called it for what it is at the end there. Overthinking; it's the way you think or the thoughts you have that contribute to that low sense of self. From a very Cognitive Behavioral perspective it is important to understand that the way you feel and the actions you take are all shaped by the way you are thinking and processing information. And those thoughts contribute to how you feel and in turn the actions and behaviors you engage in (such as not telling your boss your accomplishments). If you want to know what to do it is to challenge or reframe the thoughts as they come up. So if you have for example a thought that "no one wants to hear from me". You put it on trial and ask yourself what is the actual evidence of this thought; evidence against it, etc. If there is a ton of evidence against it you directly challenge the thought and remind yourself what is true. If the evidence does, by the rare chance, support the negative thought you can work to reframe it and put it back into context. So for an example, if you have the thought that "no one likes my humor" that may have a lot of evidence because we have flaws, weaknesses, and make mistakes but putting that back in to context means stopping to hyperfocus on that one flaw, weakness, etc. and reminding yourself so you may not be funny, but you are generous or good listener, etc.  If you challenge and reframe your thoughts then you can begin to change the feelings you have (insecure, lack of confidence, etc.) which should help you to be able to be more open and assertive in all realms (social and work contexts). It's a work in progress though; you have to do this process for every negative and critical thought that occurs to begin to shift the critical thinking overall. If interested; therapy can help in this process. There are many therapists on the platform, but also through other means who would love to help you sort through your negative and critical thought. I wish you the best in this process. Thank you again for your question.
Answered on 01/25/2023

How do you overcome getting over someone and not forming old habits I'd overcome in the process?

Hi - thank you so much for reaching out with your question.  Breakups are difficult for any reason (even if they are from short term relationships), so I imagine it is so hard to adjust to this unexpected breakup since you were in a long-term relationship.  You have put in a lot of effort, time and emotion, and it is hard when things don't work out in the way that you had hoped.  It is understandable that you would be concerned about slipping back into old habits and negative patterns since you are going through this and since things can go awry, particularly when feeling stressed or overwhelmed by difficult emotions.  I think you have already taken the first two steps to addressing this issue, and that is being aware that it is a possibility and reaching out for help.  You are in the right place!  Here are some other things that could help: 1.  In being aware of what could go awry now that your emotions are raw, it will be important to potentially list for yourself all the things that you have been successful at overcoming and managing.  Increasing awareness of this, as well as any known triggers that you can think of, will ultimately help in addressing any temptation to slip back into old habits.  Keeping a list of this (on your phone, in a journal, etc) will allow you to refer back to your list when things get difficult.  It will be easy to act out of emotion at this time because you are vulnerable, hurt, angry, sad, etc.  Being aware of any potential pitfalls and checking in on your list will help to be able to more effectively apply the rational part of your brain to reason with yourself should you begin to struggle. 2.  Choose a strong, supportive accountability partner.  This could be anyone who you trust and who could serve as a sounding board for you, an encourager to make positive choices, and who will also challenge you if you begin to lean towards those old habits.  This could be a friend, family, pastor or therapist.  In any case, you want someone who you will listen to and respect when you are feeling weak. 3.  Write in a journal about all the reasons that you quit the unhealthy habit in the first place.  This will serve as a reminder for you that you overcame the problem once, and you can manage it.  If your partner was a support for you, that's okay - you can find another support, even if it isn't a romantic partner.  Remind yourself it doesn't mean that you have to backtrack to the person you were before the relationship.   4.  Increase your awareness of any negative self-defeating thought patterns.  Once you are aware of them, challenge them with true statements about yourself and reframe those negative thoughts.  This can be difficult to do, especially when encountering difficult emotions as well.  It may be helpful to reach out to a trained professional if you find that this is too difficult to do on your own.  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is an excellent evidence-based model to address difficult thought patterns which potentially got you into the negative habit in the first place.   5.  Reach out to a trained professional if your functioning in any area should begin to be negatively impacted (too much/too little sleep, too much/too little food consumption, difficulty maintaining job, school or home duties and responsibilities, addressing problems with substances, etc.) I hope this was helpful.  You will get through this, and you will heal.  It may be difficult, but you conquered those negative habits previously, and you can apply that same strength to stop yourself from engaging in them again.  I wish you well!   You got this!  
Answered on 01/23/2023

How to stop lying?

Hi Justina, Sorry to hear you are feeling really down and have no self esteem left right now.  It sounds like this is very difficult for you at the moment and is making you feel like a fraud, and isolated from others.  You have said you have told some lies, which you thought were innocent, but has led to people thinking poorly of you.  Firstly, try to put some of this behind you and go easy on yourself, it sounds like you have made a mistake and are trying to get over this, it may be that you are punishing yourself and feeling shameful and guilty about what has happened. It may be a good time for you to reflect on what led you to tell these lies in the first place and be honest with yourself about this, many people tell lies for all sorts of reasons, such as things really being important to you and perhaps feeling left out of social or group situations if you feel you do not have anything interesting to contribute, or sometimes people want to impress others and feel like they need to "fit" in and this may mean enhancing or embellishing the truth to keep up with other people or others expectations of you. Many people worry about letting family and friends down and lie as a form of "people pleasing" as if somehow the truth may be a let down or make the person not feel good enough in someway, this can land you in a tricky situation and sometimes you need more lies or exaggeration to get yourself out of this situation and the lies continue. On occasions people tell lies to keep control of a situation, perhaps wanting the outcome to go their way or wanting others to agree to something. This can also be from a place of getting your own way, maybe you didn't feel heard as a child and so this may be a way of making sure your voice is heard so by controlling a situation you may get what you need. Perhaps ask yourself if you resonate with any of these reasons and if so why did you feel the need to tell lies.  It may be a good time to speak to someone neutral about this and explore some of your thoughts and feelings around why you feel this has happened, it is clearly something that has distressed you and is not making you feel good. By talking about this you may feel a sense of relief that you can be open about it, often discussing this with an independent person can lift some of the shame and guilt you seem to be feeling, you describe this as "eating you up on the inside" and feeling bad about yourself can lead to low mood, anxiety and depression if not addressed. This sounds like it is extremely distressing for you right now.  Maybe if you feel tempted to lie in the future, take a moment to think about why; are you triggered by particular people or situations, what are you feeling in that moment, how do you feel with the people you are with, comfortable, shy, anxious, overwhelmed etc? This can help you work out what your triggers to telling lies are, you may notice some patterns which may help you explore your feelings and emotions and this could be helpful to identify what they are and how to avoid them in the future. Another question is do you have boundaries? Where you are trying to keep yourself safe from people who you do not feel good about being with, are you only committing to things you want to do, many people commit to too much and then have to backtrack which makes them seem unreliable or untrustworthy. It is worth considering what circumstances you have found yourself telling lies in.  Feel free to reach out to myself of one of my BetterHelp colleagues for help and support, it may be good to talk about this, remember to forgive yourself and give yourself some compassion, also perhaps you could speak to close family or friends about what has happened and communicate with them how upset you feel.  Hope you can find some support and feel better about yourself. Good luck and take care of yourself. Kind regards, Julie Cameron
Answered on 01/23/2023

How can I know myself better?

In life, we often accumulate different things.  We get the influence of ideas, the influence of judgment, adverse events, successes, blessings, hard times, the effects of anxiety and trauma, and numerous other things that form the underlying formed beliefs about ourselves, others, and the world.  To reset would be to challenge and change our core beliefs.  Now to totally reset would be impossible, as we are a product of the core beliefs as the result of our personalities and our total life experience.  But to go back to the beliefs we had at an earlier time when we felt more free or to find new healthier beliefs might be possible.  We also go through some trauma (or mini traumas) in our lives that also have an influence in our core beliefs, so to go back would also mean to have to heal from past trauma and loss.  To help us in this process, therapy provides a roadmap to better know ourselves and "find" or "find again" the person that we truly are. In life, we face many situations or activating events.  These events are filtered through our core beliefs.  For instance, if I have a negative belief "I am not good enough" and say I receive some criticism at my boss from work (activating event), I filter what is happening through my negative belief ("I am not good enough") resulting in the automatic thought "This aways happens to me.  I never am able to succeed.  Why do I even try?".  If I had these thoughts, I may have the behavior to give up or try less and the emotion of sadness or depression or even anger.  The way it works is activating event-beliefs-thoughts.  Thoughts, Behaviors, and Emotions act in a triangle where the one is effected by the other two.  For instance, a negative thought will lead to a negative emotion and possibly a maladaptive behavior.  While we cannot change our emotions directly (because that does not work), we can challenge and change the way we think and chip away at the unhelpful beliefs we have developed.   As I learn to better identify unhelpful thoughts and thinking patterns, I have the opportunity to start challenging the thinking.  I can learn to reframe thoughts and replace them with a positive or less negative thought.  I can learn to also balance the scale in my thinking and look at possible possible outcomes.  I can learn to reduce the amount of personalization in my life and realize that most people are focused on their own lives and not on me.  I can learn not to put so many expectations on my life and learn more how to enjoy life.  I can also learn healthy coping skills.  I can learn grounding techniques that get me out of my thoughts by exercises that put the focus on my other five senses.  I can learn how to better self soothe through breathing exercises or progressive muscle relaxation.  I can also learn to better distract myself with other more positive activities and not stay in ruminating thoughts that are unhelpful.  Therapy can help process things from your past and tendencies in your life.   Instead of focusing on what I do not have in my life, I rather focus on what I do have.  I may idealize this "perfect" life or think that having things or people I do not have will somehow make me OK with myself and make me happy.  It has been my experience that the things you think you have to have in your life rarely result in what you think.  While getting something new or being involved with someone new might make you happy for a little while, you will quickly realize that it is just a bandaid over the real problem in how you think and possibly the things you believe about yourself.  We tend to think certain things will make us happy or even look forward to some future time in our lives where everything will just be perfect.  In reality, if we can't learn to have peace and happiness in the present, we will likely not have peace and happiness in the future.  Real peace and happiness only comes from within and no outside thing or person can supply that to us longterm.  Relationships and even things can enrich our lives, but they cannot fix us.  The quest to find serenity from the outside is largely a futile one.  Therapy is a tool to help us deal with the past and learn to see ourselves in a different light.  We all get wounded some times along the way, but healing and learning to see ourselves, love ourselves, accept ourselves, forgive ourselves, and take care of ourselves is a path to being our true selves.  Recognizing and challenging unhelpful beliefs help us grow and think differently.  Coping skills help us deal with problems in more effective ways.  Thanks for your question.
Answered on 01/21/2023

I’m scared of growing up and would like some advice to hopefully get over this

Hi there thanks for reaching out with this. I think it is only human at the age of 18 to feel scared and slightly overwhelmed at the thought of going out into the world as an adult. I think one day when the time is right you will feel comfortable being a grown up. At this stage in your life you are still forming a sense of identity and style as to who you want to be. I wouldn't say it is weird I would say it is human to have such thoughts from early to late adolescence. Let's be honest there is so much more pressure as an adult in the world today. I would say the key is to give yourself permission to do the things that you find fun. Try not to worry so much about the judgment of others. I think society puts a lot of bias judgement on the importance of growing up. If people look at you funny or judge then that is just a reflection of there own inability to have fun.   We all have an inner child within us and some people are just afraid to let it show. As we grow up and become adults in the world we will have to wear many hats and take up many different roles. I think the key is knowing the right hat for the right occasion. My point being with this is that if you find pleasure in doing child like activities then as long as you know the right time and place for this it is absolutely fine to embrace that part of yourself.   We all need nurturing in life at all stages and ages. It is okay to own the vulnerability and to ask for it from mum if you need to. I would say that it is absolutely okay to go out and have fun. Watch cartoons, hug your mum and anything else that brings you comfort. Just because you are getting older and soon to make your own way in the world it doesn't mean that you have to lose the things that bring you comfort.  I hope this helped to answer your question. 
(Level, 2, and, 3, Diploma, Counselling, Skills, Degree, in, Humanistic, Counselling, Certificate, in, online, and, telephone, counselling)
Answered on 01/21/2023

Do I need emotional help?

All of us need and benefit from emotional support. It’s simply a part of being a human. There is absolutely never anything wrong with needing or wanting help. In fact, recognizing you need extra support at certain points in your life is a good sign. It can mean you have developed some good insight into some patterns or concerns which seem to be getting in your way. It seems like this is the case for you. Your question alone evidences some thoughtful insight about yourself and your situation. Which is a great starting point for making some very positive progress forward. Additionally, seeking support demonstrates courage. Not everyone is able to speak up and extend a hand to get some added help. Again, we are designed to be social, to give help as well as to need it, too. I commend you for noting your needs and seeking guidance. Seeking validation from other people is a common occurrence. This is also a very human thing. We naturally want approval from those around us and we seek agreement with others. People thrive in community. Seeking and wanting validation is okay. It’s not a bad thing. But as you’re recognizing it can become problematic. As can nearly all things when we delve into extremes. Even drinking too much water in too short a time period can become problematic. There are times when we ourselves can’t see our worth and we begin to desperately seek it from external sources. We may begin to doubt our own internal intuition and look to others to tell us how to be and what to do. As you realize, this becomes a troubling situation to find ourselves in. There is a delicate, fine balance between healthy seeking of community support versus turning over our power and depending on others to validate us. Wanting support is okay. That’s normal. Yet “needing” it is disempowering and can cause us to make less than ideal choices for ourselves along with negatively impacting our self-worth more and more over time. If we find ourselves needing outside validation, this can contribute to growing within us feelings of depression and anxiety. It can add significant stress to our life. You make a very important statement: I know I need to heal. Why is that important? Few people ever come to acknowledge that. You want to heal. You know you need to heal. We all do, on some level, throughout the entirety of our lives. As humans there is always some aspect of ourselves to work on and improve. You’ve identified a specific challenge you’re encountering right now. I want you to know that simply recognizing this is a great and powerful first step. People often spend considerable time struggling, not really knowing what’s causing difficulty for them. You are already at that place. Of course, there’s the lingering question – well, now what? Some people find it helpful to explore the “why” behind their lack of self-worth. It’s not necessary to make positive progress, but it can be helpful. A therapist can certainly work with you to develop a better understanding of what is contributing to the problem. Childhood experiences could be a factor. Lowered self-worth can often result from some stuff from our past. An example might be having a parent who gave you too much praise when you were a child – this can create a need for excess validation that can continue into adulthood. Or vice versa – a distant parent can contribute to the same outcome. They never gave you enough attention, so now you constantly crave and seek it from others. And probably there are some things in your present life which could be playing a role. For instance, many individuals are finding that usage of social media is leading to lowered self-worth. We can get caught up in looking at the highlight reel of someone else’s life and we begin making comparisons – however the comparisons are grievously unfair as we are literally only seeing a very curated singular snippet of what that other person wants us to see. And it’s usually far removed from reality in many cases. In such cases, cutting back on social media and/or carefully selecting what you’re viewing can play a role in influencing your self-worth. Recognizing, too, that when we play the comparison game, we very rarely win. Someone else is always going to seem to be or have “more” than us. But we can work on recognizing our minds tendency towards this – and we can catch ourselves doing it, thus over time reducing the habit and the potential harm it might be causing. I often tell potential clients that if they are asking if they need help that’s a sign that help will be of benefit. Importantly, we all need help. Do you need it in the sense that something is inherently “wrong” with you. Of course not. You’re simply being a human – and you’re just normal in needing some extra support with a particular challenge. Noting that you have a need is a good thing. And wanting to get help to work on it will likely be tremendously beneficial. As mentioned, you already have some great insight. I would encourage you to think about working with a therapist to develop this further. You’re open-mindedness to support and desire for growth signals lots of wonderful potential to become a person who will go on to have better relationships.
Answered on 01/12/2023

Why do I always feel everyone’s against me and I’m alone?

There can be a variety of reasons why you’re feeling this way. The emotional state in which you find yourself is one which is experienced by many others. So, know that you aren’t alone in this. Also, it usually does not mean that everyone is against you. But that can be easier said than believed – because your mind will still be apt to question “but what if they are really against me?”In some cases, we don’t hear very much from family and friends. We begin to wonder why and might assume it’s because they simply just don’t like us. Or perhaps we find we just never can connect with our colleagues. At gatherings and events, everyone appears to keep their distance. All of these, taken together, offer us strong evidence, in our mind, that everyone dislikes us. But the majority of the time, this is not true at all. Usually, people are very preoccupied with themselves and busy with their own lives and such. Of course, even when we know this, when we acknowledge it on a logical level in our head, there are still those nagging thoughts of worry and doubt. There are the lingering “what if’s” that we just can’t seem to shake off. Truthfully, sometimes there will be people in the world we truly just don’t connect with. That’s okay. That’s normal. It’s a common human experience. And it says nothing about who you are or your value as a person. In fact, if you reflect on the entirety of your life, it’s probable that you have met at least one person you didn’t want to have a deeper relationship with. We all know those people – there isn’t anything wrong with them, but we just don’t personally click with them. We aren’t against them, we just don’t want to pursue anything further with them.  A frequent issue we can encounter, and which might be applicable here, at least in part, is the battle we all wage against what are known as cognitive distortions. What this refers to is a manner of thinking which takes reality but skews it – sometimes a little, and sometimes a lot. One example of this is known as all-or-nothing thinking. This is a thought process wherein our mind will take things to the extreme. If you perceive someone is even just slightly annoyed with you, whether or not there is a reason, your mind will go to an extreme with it – they must really hate you and they do not want anything at all to do with you. We all can struggle with cognitive distortions. To work past them, it helps to begin paying more attention to our thoughts. What are we thinking? Then, question the thought. Is this true? What evidence do I have to demonstrate it’s true or not? What else might be possible? Let’s say you see a friend walking across the street from you. They walk by and don’t pay attention to you. You might think “they don’t like me and don’t want to be bothered with me.” Could that be true – maybe. Do you have solid evidence to back up that assumption? Or are you just making an assumption? Could it be something else? Might it be possible they were having a bad day and were simply wrapped up in their own thoughts, and actually didn’t even notice you (even if they appeared to see you, if their mind was elsewhere they really might not have). What’s also potentially at play when we have these experiences is that we could be struggling with our self-esteem and have a bit of self-loathing towards ourselves. If we don’t like ourselves, and we’re very critical towards ourselves, we can have a tendency to believe others are thinking the same way. Our own negative thoughts begin to transform our perception of how other people are seeing us. Worrying about being disliked by others, and feeling that way about ourselves, doesn’t necessarily mean there is an underlying mental health issue, but there could be. That’s something else to consider as a possibility – although be cautious about doing so! Remember above the concept of cognitive distortions and how we have a tendency to think something is true when it isn’t. Before jumping to any guesses, remember it is best to work with a therapist if you suspect something is going on. Social anxiety, for instance, leads us to be extra sensitive about how others react towards us. We might take a simple neutral glance in our direction as a hateful glare. If we see a group of people laughing, we might assume they’re laughing about us. For certain individuals, there might be other concerns, too, such as depression, general anxiety, bipolar disorder, personality disorders, or a psychotic condition. In such cases, there will likely be other symptoms present. And again, it’s best to consult with a professional before jumping to any conclusions and self-diagnosing. It sounds like these thoughts have been bothersome for a while, and like they have become disruptive to your functioning and ability to enjoy life. You might want to consider discussing the situation with a therapist. A therapist will be able to offer you an unbiased and supportive atmosphere in which to explore what’s happening. They can help you to explore the situation more deeply and help you determine what is happening in your unique case. We are all so different and as noted there could be many reasons why this is happening for you. A therapist, too, will be able to work to help you develop an individualized plan to help things get better. And things can get better!
Answered on 01/12/2023

How do I avoid someone who broke me but at the same time made me the happiest person?

Hello! Thank you for this question. I'm sorry to hear that this person made you feel broken in some way. It doesn't seem as if things were clarified very well regarding friendship versus a more intimate relationship.  To answer how to "avoid" this friend I would recommend limiting social media or any chance of running into each other in public just for some time as you work towards healing. This can look different depending on your situation. For example muting their stories or even going as far as unfriending, restricting, or you taking some time off of social media. If there are chances of running into them in public, find creative ways to change the time you leave or places you frequent.  If you have mutual friends setting boundaries would be helpful so that people don't spread information to them or back to you if it's too painful to discuss with others right now. Something I would encourage though is not "avoiding" them but learning how to heal for yourself. In avoiding you actually do the opposite.. what you resist persists. There is a saying based on a book that your word is your wand. Meaning that we create our lives and experiences based on our thoughts and words. Based on some of the word choices in this question, are there other ways you could practice painting your life? When you explain that someone broke you, you produce a strong negative emotional charge. It's tough in the moment and I don't mean to invalidate in any way. I think you should honor your feelings and take time to process the events. Then start thinking and speaking a new way of being into existence. In a limitless world in which your success is guaranteed, what would you want? What life would you call in? What people do you want around you? Etc. If this person did make you happy as well can you hold that emotional charge longer than any of the negatives? At least until you can do more self reflection and healing? I hope this was helpful. Please feel free to reach out if you require any further clarification, assistance, or strategies in processing or moving towards healing. Wishing you the best. 
Answered on 01/11/2023

I can't stop myself from feeling like I'm not worth anything, how do I stop that?

Hi Terry,  Thanks for getting in touch.  If I am understanding you correctly; you have noticed that you struggle to accept yourself, that you don't feel you have anything to be proud of and that you keep overthinking that you are disliked by those around you. You have tried to talk to people around you about this but when you have done so, their responses are unhelpful and you have identified that this then makes the overthinking even worse?  As a result of the feelings and the overthinking, you are starting to recognise feelings of being afraid around interacting with others, which is then leading you to isolate yourself and avoid social situations as you feel you will never "fit in". You have friends in your life currently but you keep feeling left out or hurt by their actions. You don't seem to want to fall out with your friends over this and note you struggle with your own self worth and feeling like you fit in? Ultimately it seems as though you would like to stop feeling like you aren't worth anything. It seems as though perhaps your question is split into two. The first part is about you and your self worth and the second is about your friends, perhaps communicating with friends plays into this as well.  If we take them one point at a time, let's start with your self worth. Of course, this can be looked at in more detail during therapy sessions however, in the absence of therapy, there are still things that you can do yourself to promote good self worth, I've included some tips below for you:  -Get to know yourself - ask yourself what makes you happy? what do you like and dislike? What do you find is valuable to you? Be compassionate with yourself - sometimes our overthinking can include negative self talk, if you can find ways to be compassionate in the way you think about yourself, this can encourage self worth Challenge negative thinking patterns - don't take negatives as the answer, challenge them. Find evidence against the negative thought. Recognise positives - it doesn't matter how big or small the positive is - acknowledge it, when you know you have done something well, or completed a task or a goal you have set for yourself, when you have good times with those around you etc. identify these moments, and hold on to them. Set yourself an achievable challenge - again, it doesn't matter how big or small the challenge is however, I would suggest if it is a big challenge, that you break it down into smaller elements, so you don't get overwhelmed. Achieving things you set your mind to encourages positive self worth Practice saying positive things about yourself, to yourself - it sounds odd, but telling yourself your positive traits can dampen the negative voices within us. Try to avoid comparisons with others, and focus on yourself and your own progress. Accept compliments from others - when people say something nice about you, own it, accept it. Try to avoid adding any bias (such as, they're only saying that because etc.). Focus on the positive relationships in your life and if you don't feel there are any currently - how could you begin to create some? Can you expand your friendship groups perhaps? Start new hobbies/groups where you can meet new people who have similar interests to you?increase your self care - do things that encourage positive sleeping patterns, good nutrition, participate in any exercise you enjoy, spend time outdoors, preferably surrounded by nature.... In terms of your friendships and communicating with your friends:  It's almost as if your friends are not understanding your anxieties and so when they are attempting to help, it's actually making it worse for you in some ways? I wonder if this is something that you could communicate to them, to help them understand what you are finding difficult and why?  You make reference to not wanting to lose these friends but also, it seems as though you feel you do not fit in with them, so I wonder if perhaps, expanding your friendships to include others who perhaps have common interests with you etc. could prove helpful?  I hope that some of these ideas are helpful for you! If you need anything further though, please get in touch.  Thanks  Kim
Answered on 01/09/2023

How do I be less insecure about myself in regards to a relationship?

Thank you very much for your question, it's a very important one as we all have some sort of insecurity in our relationships at some point in our lives. I appreciate the fact that you wrote about this piece of your own experience. Let me also say that I am sorry that you are suffering due to that, I know it can be very challenging. I understand that you can feel insecure about all this.  In relationships, trust is a very important thing and it's capital trying to work on that. As far as I am concerned, trust comes together with self-confidence, which is very related to self-esteem, so one big step to take towards improving your current situation is working on your self esteem. If you learn how to love yourself and acknowledge and appreciate the person you are, it will be life-changing for you.  What things can be done to improve this? There are plenty of them that can be very helpful: 1. Learning how to deal with your emotions in a healthy way. It will help you with that anxiety as well. You will feel way more in charge of your life when you see that you don't react to situations or avoid them.  2. Clarifying your values and being aligned with them. Through this, you will plan your goals and solve any situation in a meaningful way.  3. Being assertive. Defending your point of view while respecting others' point of view. Stop saying YES when you want to say NO. Don't always put others before yourself in a seek for validation and acceptance. This is an important thing to feel better about myself, even when it's challenging.  4. Another important thing is enjoying yourself in your free time. Do the things you want to do whenever you can with the only purpose of having fun. Obviously, choose them with caution.  5. Judging and talking to yourself in a fair way. You can not be perfect, no one can. You must assess the situations in your life taking into account that fact and being compassionate with yourself. I am sure you will achieve it, you only need to believe in yourself and try your best. Wish you all the best. 
(Master's, Degree, in, Third, Generation, Psychological, Therapies, Bsc, in, Psychology, Msc, in, Prevention, of, Addictions)
Answered on 01/06/2023

Can low self esteem/self worth be a cause of anxiety/ depression?

Hello,  Self esteem and mental health are closely related.  If your self esteem is low, then your mental health could be low.  There are several ways you can improve your self esteem.  One is to surround yourself with positive, encouraging people.  Where do you go to socialize with others.  If your socialization is limited, then I would suggest you find places where you can go and socialize with others in a positive, uplifting format.  Preferably not in a place where there will be a lot of complaining and negative comments made toward a situation/people.  Furthermore, if you can start to form closer relationships with whoever is in your circle, that would also help you.  Look for activities that you can do with others.  Snow activities (since it is winter) or any other kind of activity.   What ways do you engage in self care? Look for ways where you engage in activities, even those you do by yourself.  These could include, but are not limited to watching movies, listening to music, walking on a daily basis and any other kind of activity that increases your general well being and/or feeling of contentment.   You also mentioned hatred.  If you feel guilty about something that has happened, look at ways of forgiving yourself and the other person, if any, that was involved.  Try journaling your feelings about the event and see if that helps you express some of your feelings around the incident. You can do online journaling or write in a notebook if you prefer that.  If you are artistic, then maybe drawing/painting/collages is some you would enjoy.  The main thing is to find a form of expression that you find personally satisfying  You will generally feel better if you can find ways of releasing the pent up emotions inside of you.   If you start to do activities, look for ways to release any pent up emotions and engage in fun self care activities that you enjoy, then your self esteem and your mental health will most likely improve.  You will feel better about yourself (self esteem) and you will feel less depressed/feel lighter inside.  In doing this your feelings of being a burden will most likely decreased and you will feel like you have more to contribute to your current relationships and be able to form new ones easier.  Your feelings/mental health/self esteem will start to improve and you will probably start to feel better   I hope this helps you.
Answered on 01/05/2023

How can I stop self-sabotage?

Hi Gopi, Welcome! I'm Maya, one of the licensed therapists here on Better Help.  Fist let me say that is natural and normal to take joy in pleasing others, especially those we already have positive feelings towards.  Most people do take joy in their ability to please others, indeed many people aspire to greater heights of kindness, compassion, and service to others.  It's also normal to seek approval from others, especially those close to us, and in the workplace, where our very livelihood may depend on it.   Yet like all good things, people pleasing (or the desire for approval) can be taken to an unhealthy extreme.    I think what I hear you saying is that you "knock yourself out" when it comes to making an effort for others, but when it comes to making an effort for YOURSELF, you flake out. You show up for others, but you have trouble "showing up" for yourself.  I imagine that does indeed wind up sabotaging your wellbeing and your potential.    So you want to stop the self sabotage, great!  Contrary to popular belief, we do not necessarily need to try to figure out why we do things, in order to stop doing them.  Human behavior is complex, and so are the "whys" of it, in fact when we find ourselves doing something problematic (like self sabotage), it's usually for more than just one reason that we keep doing it.  That said, formulating some likely theories about the 'whys' of your behavior can be helpful in that it can sometimes point the way to potential solutions. Therapy can help you do that kind of work, which we call "insight building."  Your habit of spending a lot of energy pleasing others and "doing right" by them (yet  neglecting the concept of doing right by yourself) may be related to childhood experiences, as those often play a role in why we behave the way we do!   The problem might also be a lack of motivation or poor self esteem.  You can learn how to motivate yourself in therapy, and how to raise your self esteem.  You can also learn how to be assertive with others and set healthy boundaries with them, so that you'll have the time and energy to invest in yourself.  To my way of thinking, the opposite of self sabotage would be a combination of self respect (which is part of self esteem) and self discipline.  So I would suggest you work on the problem by trying to improve those tow things.  How?  Well for starters you could check out the book "The Power of Self Discipline" by Peter Hollins, it's  game changer.  I also think you'd be wise to  seriously consider signing up for therapy, so you can get some customized help and support on the journey.  Hope this helped!  Maya
Answered on 01/03/2023

What are some tools to help be less afraid to communicate my feelings?

It Starts at the Core There's this Pixar movie called Inside Out that helps nail this concept. In the film, the main character Riley has these emotions in her head that are operating the controls on her life. However, the emotions were not there in Riley's entire life but came as she experienced life. Core memories are some of the most significant memories that helped shape Riley. Though this example has gaps, core beliefs formed as a child determine what we serve with our decisions and what we want/expect out of life.  Your narrative that your feelings don't matter comes from that area of yours that says you must do this or that to be better. Our minds are funny; it leads us to problems and then beat us up for not doing something better. Somehow our informed decisions weren't good enough, but we never view the mind as the problem; we blame ourselves. When I say the mind, I am referring to that voice inside your head that tells you what to do. This inner voice says that you won't be happy until... or that you aren't worth it. Various thoughts we have, when we have them, the emotions triggered, and then our reactions are all driven by our core beliefs, and we are convinced that they are as good as it gets.  It would be best if you stepped away from what your mind tells you. Right now. Take a step back from what you are thinking and notice what you are thinking. I am telling you to see that voice, that narrative, that belief that you should do something else, and realize that you still have a choice in this game. You are not subject to your mind's view as much as you have believed you are. The funniest thing about our mind is that it knows us the best, knows how to convince us to believe it and do what it says (what is familiar), and then tells us we were wrong in the process. You can distance yourself from thoughts versus living your life according to these thoughts, which leads you to harm and keep the cycle going.  "I need to work through my past trauma." Again, this is a belief that you may spend much of your time on, and nothing gets better. If you believe that any one thing will alter your life significantly, you are being misguided by a mind which gives you black-and-white thinking. Trauma work can do wonders at reducing the impact of trauma. However, there is no guarantee that the issues you discuss will improve. What often helps the most is figuring out how to live today, with the life we have been given, how to accept, remain flexible to life's terms, find some value in what we do, and hold on to our commitment to living for what matters most.  Lastly, you are correct in your belief about coping, but I fear it may not be in an effective way. Based on the entirety of your question, your view of coping may mean that you don't experience your undesired emotions anymore. In reality, coping is learning to live with troubling thoughts and feelings, no longer reacting to life from them. You have to get familiar with and accept (not agree) what life has handed you and then ask yourself, "what am I going to do with this." This life, all that has happened, and all you have in your head make up the person you are. Any one thing does not define you, and therefore any one change will not fix your life; it will just put expectations on other areas to improve you. It would be best to learn how to sit with troubling emotions and thoughts and not react to them while continuing to live for and do what you care about the most. 
Answered on 12/31/2022

How do I work on loving my own body?

Hello, and good evening, I hope that you had a nice Friday. Let me try to give you a little bit of advice as far as your question is concerned. First of all, I think it's really important to recognize that no matter what type of fitness level we achieved when we were younger… Adolescent, teenager, etc.… Our body is going to change. And that is simply a part of existing, that is a part of getting older, and it is something that everyone is going to experience. Now, of course, we want to take reasonable measures in order to take care of ourselves… Proper diet, adequate rest, exercise… But some changes are going to be inevitable. And we must recognize this. And we also must recognize that going through these changes does not diminish our value as a person. Because of course, these changes are not exclusive to us, this is something that everyone is going to experience. Additionally, I think it's important to surround yourself with people who are going to build you up, we all like a little bit of external validation, and there's nothing wrong with having positive people in our lives, who are going to be able to help to provide that. You also want to be very mindful of your own thinking… We all have self talk, we all have some sort of an internal dialogue. And if this internal dialogue is consistently negative, that's not going to go well for us. Because we must remember that thinking, and feeling guides perception, and as they say, perception is reality. As a result of how we are perceiving the world around us… Well, that is going to guide our behavior. And as a result of how we are behaving, our environment is going to respond, our body responds, people around us respond, that's called our outcome and of course the outcome that we get has a direct impact on our mental health and emotional stability and well-being. So what you should be doing is looking specifically to target some of the negative thoughts that you have about yourself and your body. Work to challenge those thoughts, and we typically try to challenge negative thoughts by trying to actually find evidence that supports them. And in most cases, when we really try to find irrefutable, evidence and factual basis to support our negative self talk, we come to recognize that there's really not much supporting evidence, if anything at all. And if we cannot find any evidence to support a particular thought or feeling, that's probably a pretty good indication that it really does not have any grounding in reality. And if something has no grounding in reality, it's definitely not something that we want to allow to guide our perception, behavior, and outcome. I hope this helps you… Have a lovely evening and a happy new year!  
Answered on 12/31/2022