Self Esteem Answers

Is there anything I can do help myself without therapy? The cost is just too much for me.

You asked "Is there anything I can do to help myself without therapy?  I would start with trying to develop some self compassion.  Are you typically hard on your self?  Do you have a strong inner critic ( do you have an inner voice that is constantly beating yourself up ?)  I also would work on some self soothing activities to help yourself relax and practice "self care."  Listening healthy podcasts is also a suggestion and/or reflecting on things you have done in the past that seemed to have helped is also something that might help.  Without knowing your history its hard to recommend alot and not being able to access a therapy session I am unable to share concrete tools that might help further. However here are some self soothing tips for now that are based on the five senses:   D Look at the stars at night. D Look at pictures you like in a book. D Buy one beautiful flower. D Make one space in a room pleasing to look at. D Light a candle and watch the flame. D Set a pretty place at the table using your best things. D Go people-watching or window-shopping. D Go to a museum or poster shop with beautiful art. With Vision: D Sit in the lobby of a beautiful old hotel. D Look at nature around you. D Walk in a pretty part of town. D Watch a sunrise or a sunset. D Go to a dance performance, or watch it on TV. D Be mindful of each sight that passes in front of you. D Take a walk in a park or a scenic hike. D Browse through stores looking at things. D Other: _ D Listen to soothing or invigorating music. D Pay attention to sounds of nature (waves, birds, rainfall, leaves rustling). D Pay attention to the sounds of the city (traffic, horns, city music). D Sing to your favorite songs. D Hum a soothing tune. D Learn to play an instrument. With Hearing: D Burn a CD or make an iPod mix with music that will get you through tough times. Turn it on. D Be mindful of any sounds that come your way, letting them go in one ear and out the other. D Turn on the radio. D Other: -------------- With Smell: D Use your favorite soap, shampoo, aftershave, D Sit in a new car and breathe the aroma. cologne, or lotions, or try them on in the store. D Boil cinnamon. Make cookies, bread, or D Burn incense or light a scented candle. popcorn. D Open a package of coffee and inhale the D Smell the roses. aroma. D Walk in a wooded area and mindfully breathe D Put lemon oil on your furniture. in the fresh smells of nature. D Put potpourri or eucalyptus oil in a bowl in your D Open the window and smell the air. room. D Other: _ D Eat some of your favorite foods. D Drink your favorite soothing drink, such as herbal tea, hot chocolate, a latte, or a smoothie. D Treat yourself to a dessert. D Eat macaroni and cheese or another favorite childhood food. D Sample flavors in an ice cream store. With Taste: D Suck on a piece of peppermint candy. D Chew your favorite gum. D Get a little bit of a special food you don't usually spend the money on, such as fresh squeezed orange juice or your favorite candy. D Really taste the food you eat. Eat one thing mindfully. D Other: _ D Take a long hot bath or shower. D Pet your dog or cat. D Have a massage. Soak your feet. D Put creamy lotion on your whole body. D Put a cold compress on your forehead. D Sink into a comfortable chair in your home. D Put on a blouse or shirt that has a pleasant feel. With Touch: D Take a drive with the car windows rolled down. D Run your hand along smooth wood or leather. D Hug someone. D Put clean sheets on the bed. D Wrap up in a blanket. D Notice touch that is soothing. D Other: _  I hope this helps. Be kind to yourself :) Ruth
(LCMHC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How can I break down this mental barrier, embrace my marriage, and accept the things I cannot change

Hi, I'm sorry you are having a hard time. And, it is hard to feel inadequate. I wonder, do others around you feel similiar? Are you truly lacking in a safe place to live? Good food to eat? I am not trying to minimize your struggle, just trying to understand. I feel it's wonderul that you are ambitious and work hard. You'll never regret those things, however, it appears your wife is accepting & loving to you regardless. I understand that it may seem like a simple thing, especially with your ambitions, but don't let your ambitions cloud you to what is right in front of you. I'm not saying you can't want more, yet, what do you want more of? More money? A biiger house? More respect? Sometimes, more is just that, more. You have a wife who appears accepting of you, so embrace her, don't push her away. Let her know how much you appreciate her & she doesn't push you to be someone you are not. It is difficult...to not have what you believe you should when you've worked so hard. Yet, hardwork pays off in so many ways. Hardwork in marriage. (Are you parents?) - goodness knows hardwork in parenting can feel the least rewarding in the short term, but pays off in the long run. Either way, maybe you should plan a date with your wife.Nothing extravagant, but heartfelt. Show her how much you care. It's the only thing you get to take to the grave with you, the love you felt in this life. Again, I am sorry for your struggle. I too, have wondered in times of leaness & times of prosperity, what am I doing different? I didn't wake up a different person? Life is a mystery in so many ways. In many ways, you are the richest of men by having a woman/person who loves you. Cherish her. Tell her. Watch sunsets. Dance in the rain. Paint your walls. Laugh together. You can have more, truly, but it might pass you by if you don't pay attention to the blessings you already have. I wish you the best. Crystal
(MA, Counseling, Psychology)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How can I stop hating myself so much?

Self hatred most likely comes from many factors including past trauma, false expectations of yourself, illogical societal expectations and comparisons, and learned behaviors. One of the biggest things that you can do to address self hatred is seeking professional help. By seeking professional help you can learn to get to the root of what is leading to the self hatred and understand that better as well as learn ways to maximize self compassion. Much of self hatred for many comes in the form of automatic negative thoughts that can be challenged with cognitive behavioral techniques in combination with working through the root causes. Self hatred often will tell you that you arne't good enough or that you can't achieve your goals, making any goals that you have for yourself seem impossible, resulting in that self fulfilling prophecy. Despite being perfectly capable of achieving goals set out. Failures often lead to self doubt. This self doubt then can be paralyzing for you, leading to an inability to make decisions confidently. Firstly when working through self hatred, you have to address your inner critic that is providing you with false narratives that you begin to believe or accept as truth. Taking a step back and determining what is just a feeling and what is actually true can help combat those automatic negative thought narratives from your internal self critic. Feelings are not always fact and just because you feel a certain way doesn't make it truth. Another way to combat self hatred is to take a look at your strengths. Everyone possesses strengths that sometimes are forgotten or minimized. Acknowledging and identifying these strengths helps you to separate these feelings from fact. Another step in combatting self hatred is working on your self compassion. Sometimes this can be difficult to do. One way to work on this is reminding yourself what you may tell a friend if they were in the same situation as you. Would you tell a friend that are not good enough or a failure? Absolutely not. So why tell yourself those things? Practice self compassion as best you can and the more you pay attention to it the easier it may get. These are some simple explanations of steps that can be taken to combat self hatred. There are many ways of approaching this as well and at times it can seem overwhelming and impossible to accomplish. With patience and practice, as well as professional help, things can get better. You may also experience as you are taking on this journey times where it seems you are reverting back to old narratives that are unhelpful and it takes work to get back to where you want to be. It is often important to keep your eye on the goal and remember that healing is not a linear process. Gratitude throughout this process can help remember to keep on track to recognize what you have already accomplished and to recognize what strengths you possess and have gained throughout your healing process. 
(MA, LMFT, LCAS)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How do I improve my self esteem that has been very low for quite a long time?

Hello,   Thank you for reaching out on The BetterHelp Platform with your question: How do I improve my self esteem that has been very low for quite a long time? I am glad you reached out for some support and guidance with what you are struggling with in your life at the moment.   I will share some information and self-help tools you can implement.  I would also encourage you to consider seeking support from a professional mental health counselor – someone who can teach you some effective strategies to attend to promoting positive self-esteem.   Self-esteem is the phrase used to describe the way we feel about ourselves, especially in relation to other people. Another way to define self-esteem is that it's your opinion of yourself. If you don't value yourself as an individual, learning how to build self-esteem can change your entire life for the better. Benefits of Building Self Esteem Saying your life will be better when you have healthy self-esteem may leave you wondering exactly how your life will change. Most of the changes can be sorted into the following categories of benefits: Higher Self Confidence When you feel good about who you are, you feel more competent to do the things you need and want to do to have the life that suits you best. You'll make decisions more easily and find it more comfortable to follow through with your choices. You'll try things you've avoided and stop letting fear rule your life. More Success High self-esteem is one of the most crucial keys to career success. Because it improves your self-confidence, healthy self-esteem prepares you to have the confidence you need to accomplish whatever your boss or prospective employer demands of you. You're less likely to feel stuck in a dead-end job when your self-esteem is high, because you feel you're valuable enough to find a job elsewhere if you decide to do so. Stronger Relationships It's very hard to have a strong and happy relationship when you constantly feel inadequate. You may end up relying too much on someone you feel is more confident than you are. You might find it hard to be real with a loved one if you feel embarrassed for others to know the real you. Yet, those same relationships can flourish when you understand how to build your self-esteem. Once you develop a higher opinion of yourself, you can go confidently into your relationship, share who you are in the most intimate ways, and give as much as you receive. Improved Mental Health Low self-esteem can be a component of other mental health struggles. Because it generally involves negative thinking about yourself, you may become depressed or anxious as you try to navigate your world without the protection of a healthy respect for who you are. Sometimes low self-esteem can be a result of depression or anxiety. Greater Happiness When your self-esteem is low, it's hard to feel happy. Instead, you may feel sad, hopeless, confused, incompetent, unworthy of love and respect, or not deserving to have good things in your life. Once you learn how to raise your self-esteem, you can make the changes you need to make to feel better about yourself. Then, as you become more self-confident, more successful in your career, more secure in your relationships, and mentally healthier, your happiness will steadily increase. The Problem with Praise and Affirmations Decades ago, psychologists and teachers thought that the way to build self-esteem in students was to dole out constant praise. They would look for the smallest thing to praise or sometimes even praise children for things they didn't do well. Unfortunately, the result of all this praise wasn't what they thought it would be. Instead of growing more self-confident, many children became shyer, acted out, or failed scholastically. There were several problems with their theory. Praise Not Earned If children didn't have to do anything special to receive praise, they had less motivation to do well. On top of that, children often lost respect for teachers and others who seemed so easily impressed. What the adults needed to realize was that earning praise for a job well done, a creative idea well-expressed, or a kind and unselfish deed would have gone much farther in helping the children feel good about themselves than praise based on nothing more than the adults' desire to 'cure' the child of low self-esteem. In fact, if the child did something outstanding, they might not even need the praise to build self-esteem. You're Smarter Than That How likely are you to accept praise for something everyone does every day without thought? The children of the late 80s and early 90s who received all that excessive praise weren't fooled at all, and chances are, you wouldn't be fooled now, either. The children then, and you now, see through the flimsy praise and understand very well that it isn't real. You see that it's just a ploy to try to raise your self-esteem artificially. Empty Affirmations Are No Better Than Empty Praise Have you ever tried to look in the mirror and tell yourself that you're good at something when you aren't? It kind of sticks in your throat, doesn't it? Saying affirmations that you completely disbelieve only makes you feel foolish, pitiful, and sometimes, hopeless. Certainly, you can talk more kindly about yourself. However, trying to build yourself up with empty affirmations leads nowhere fast. How to Build Self Esteem More Effectively Right now, you might be wondering how to raise your self-esteem if you can't do it through praise and affirmations. Fair enough. So many people have pushed the praise/affirmation concept that the most effective ways to increase your self-esteem have been largely overlooked. Following are several tips and techniques for how to build self-esteem. Techniques for Building Self-Esteem If you're ready to tackle your low self-esteem head-on, the best way to get started is to talk to a therapist. They can help you in many ways, providing help in learning and implementing self-improvement techniques for building your confidence. Here are some of the techniques they might use. Understand That It's Okay to Think Well of Yourself Many people have the mistaken notion that liking yourself makes you an arrogant person. They fear that if they value themselves, they will be more likely to hurt someone else or get themselves into trouble. The truth is that you can accomplish more, help others more often, and live a truly honorable life when you have a healthy level of self-esteem. If you find this hard to accept, talking to a counselor can make it easier for you to face and overcome these fears. Identify the Sources of Your Low Self-Esteem Many mental health professionals operate under the assumption that children naturally have high self-esteem. If you have low self-esteem, it's thought to be because something happened to you that undermined your positive self-image. So, one of the most crucial tasks you need to accomplish to raise your self-esteem is to address the root causes that your self-esteem isn't as high as it needs to be. A counselor can help you find those incidents and longer-term situations that contributed to your low self-esteem. As you explore your childhood and more recent past, you may find out exactly when your self-esteem plummeted. Or, you may come to understand how many factors added up to cause your feelings. With that knowledge in mind, your counselor can go on to teach you techniques for changing the way you think about those past events and situations. For example, if someone told you repeatedly that you were stupid, you can learn to restructure your thoughts to see that the person who made those statements wasn't talking from a sense of the truth but instead using an unhealthy form of communication to vent their anger about something else entirely. Look at Your Strengths and Weaknesses More Objectively When you have low self-esteem, you tend to look at the world through a filter of negativity. You can get past your negative view of yourself by seeing your strengths and weakness in a more objective, factual way. Your counselor may ask you to write down all your strengths and weaknesses as a homework assignment. Then, during the next therapy session, your counselor can help you go through your list to determine how accurately you're seeing each item. Or, the therapist may simply ask you to talk about your strengths and weaknesses and explain why you consider your attitude to be based on the truth. Through cognitive behavioral therapy, your counselor can help you change the way you think and behave. As you think and do what you believe is good and right for you, your self-esteem naturally rises. DIY Tips to Raise Your Self-Esteem Getting help with raising your self-esteem can improve your ability to make the major changes you need to have stable, long-lasting results. However, you can also work on this life challenge on your own. Try these do-it-yourself self-esteem-building tips. Use Positive Words to Describe Yourself Whether you're talking to others or thinking about your thoughts and behaviors within yourself, negative self-talk reinforces the mistaken notion that you're unworthy of love, friendship, and respect. Instead, try to be as objectively accurate when you speak of yourself. You don't have to use words you'll never believe are true, but you can use words that remind you that you are as worthy of receiving the good things in life as most other people are. Do Something Worth Being Proud Of Think of something you could do that would make you proud to be who you are. It doesn't matter what someone else thinks or wants you to do. Do something that has meaning to you. Start with small tasks that you haven't attempted before, either out of fear you'd make a mistake or because you were afraid others wouldn't 'get it.' Then, take that small risk. Do the thing. Enjoy the sense of accomplishment. Get Support for Your Quest to Improve Your Self Esteem Share your success with loved ones who know you're struggling to raise your self-esteem and understand how hard it is for you. If none of your friends or family fit that description, get support from a counselor. Finally, celebrate each success and move on to something a little more challenging. There are many options for counseling in most areas, and online therapy is a unique platform that allows you to message your therapist any time of day or night, and schedule live sessions. Counselors at BetterHelp.com are licensed and have years of experience. With affordable options and thousands of counselors to choose from, you can find someone that fits with you. Whether you choose in person or online therapy, getting started as soon as possible can pay off in significant rewards like a feeling of confidence that translates into a happier, more productive, and more fulfilling life. There is hope and there is help available for you. I wish you much luck with your next step to improving your self esteem and creating a healthier and happier life for yourself.   Kind Regards, Gaynor   
(MA, LCSW)
Answered on 01/21/2022

Know and love myself

Hi Moon,  The connection that we have with ourselves is so very important. The old adage "You have to love yourself before you can love anyone else" is corny but also kind of true. As you mentioned in your questions, when we love ourselves we are able to put our own needs as a priority which in turn helps us to take care of ourselves and then be in a position where, if we choose, we can also take care of, or even just connect with others.  There are so many different ways that a person can begin to connect with themselves and how they view themselves and the world. An exercise such as "gratitude journaling" can be a helpful way to start to get in touch with who we are. At the end of the day, take a few minutes to write down 3 things that you have accomplished or are proud of that happened during the day. Remember when doing this type of exercise there is no right or wrong answer, so whatever it is that you are proud of/have accomplished can really be anything. Looking at what core beliefs we hold is also an important part of getting to know ourself. A core belief is a deeply held belief that influences how we interpret our experiences. If we hold core beliefs that paint us in a negative picture such as "I'm unlovable", "I'm not good enough etc., then this is how we will feel and in turn our behaviors will reflect that. The good news is that we can examine and question our core beliefs. We can even change the thoughts that we think about ourselves using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy , referred to as CBT.  CBT looks at how our interactions with the environment (people, places, and things) influences our thoughts and feelings which in turn lead to us engaging in some type of behavior. Your feelings are your feelings and no one has the right to tell you that the way you feel about something is wrong. The part of this "equation" that we look at and work on in therapy is the thoughts piece. When we interact we have what are known as automatic thoughts. These are the thoughts that happen in an instant based on the situation. For example the thought of "turn off the stove" after we are done cooking is pretty much an automatic thought. We have many automatic thoughts during the day which may serve us well. The issue arises when the automatic thought is based on what we call "cognitive distortions". A cognitive distortion is when we have a series of thoughts based solely on our feelings without looking at the facts.  For example "I'm stupid" is a cognitive distortion. This is a thought based purely on our feelings, yet if we were to stop and look at the facts we will come to a different conclusion. Sure there may be things that we don't do as well as we would like, but that doesn't make us stupid. There are things that we do well that we are not taking into account as we are only focusing on the information that supports the initial thought of "I'm stupid".  When we learn techniques of how to challenge these thoughts we slowly start to see a shift in our thinking. What is a negative thought that you carry about yourself? Think about that and then think of 3 pieces of evidence that are contrary to this belief.  In addition to looking at the things that you are currently doing as well as challenging negative thoughts one more thing that may help you to start getting in touch with who you are is giving yourself the chance to explore things that you may be interested in. Thinking of taking a drawing class? Give it a try and see if you like it.  Not sure what kind of music you like? Start listening to all different types and see what strikes a chord with you and what is a complete miss.  Getting in touch with who we are is a long process that continues throughout our life. It can also be a very fun process as well Hope this answer helps to shed some light on your question. Thank you for reaching out  
Answered on 01/21/2022

How do I feel like myself? Feel confident in me?

Hello Achoo.  Thanks for reaching out to the BetterHelp platform. I am glad you are comfortable enough to ask the platform a question. In reading your question, I sense you are asking how to become more comfortable in your own skin without needing validation from others. This is a loaded question and I hope that this answer helps you on your journey. The road to self-discovery is a long road that will challenge the current ways you view yourself. In order to become more self-confident, I would recommend you talk to a therapist to assess your current view of yourself (how you feel about yourself in general). To like/love yourself means that you are willing to accept who you are (including flaws and imperfections). It means that you are willing to take the time needed to discover who you are, what you like, and also to explore what makes you happy. Before I continue talking about self-acceptance, I recommend you begin to address the reasons struggle feeling confident, happy with yourself, and in love with yourself. To give better perspective, I will list a few reasons why some people have difficulty loving themselves:  Physical Appearance- the way a person looks Weight- feeling "too big" or "too small" Relationships- the person may be surrounded by people or have relationships with people who often remind them of their flaws Sexuality- the person may feel self-conscious about their identity which can cause them to feel ashamed of who they are Education- the person may not feel like they are smart enough Codependency- the person may feel like they need validation from others in order to be accepted or loved Abandonment- The person may feel like they have been left alone by others and question if they are worthy of love (even self-love) Abuse- the person may have been abused (physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, spiritually, etc.) and it has caused them to question their worth, and Low self-esteem- the person may feel they are not good enough to love based on their flaws. There are so many other reasons why a person may struggle to love themselves. I encourage you to take time (with a therapist) and identify the reason(s) you may currently struggle loving yourself daily. Secondly, I would encourage you to engage in activities or surround yourself with people that help you to feel loved and accepted. In my work as a therapist, I have discovered that when people place themselves in healthy environments, it becomes easier for them to love themselves.  BetterHelp is a platform with many therapists who are able to meet with you and assist you with  talking your feeling out loud. I have also learned as a therapist that when people are able to talk about their feelings aloud and process their feelings, it becomes easier to create positive solutions. Our therapist are available to meet with you via live video, phone, or text (your preference). Our therapists are also available around the clock to message you should you have any concerns or feelings that may arise in between sessions. You have taken the first step in asking this question to our platform, I hope you will join our platform to begin your journey to healing. You are most deserving of it. Take care. 
(MA, LPC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

Some tips for me

Thank you for reaching out for support. I commend you on taking that step. It appears that you've been managing several different challenges while demonstrating resiliency. Having some doubts can be a part of developing self-identity in adolescence, especially as you prepare for emerging young adulthood. Recognizing ways in which you connect self-worth, abilities and skills along with confidence, your belief in those abilities and skills, can be a part of lessening doubt. What are things you consider strengths? What opportunities do you have to demonstrate them? How do you evaluate or esteem these strengths? You may think of what reinforces them being strengths for you. When thoughts of self-doubt occur, having helpful ways to respond to those thoughts can direct the focus of those thoughts to identifying the value of abilities and skills that does not change based on circumstances, accomplishments, relationships, or items. Additional ways that the focus can be on self-worth and confidence could be the use of self-talk statements, finding things that you are grateful for or meaningful about your skills and abilities. Responding to prompts through journaling could be "Today, something I did well", " Today something, I am thankful or grateful for is", "Today, I enjoyed..." as a few examples. Mindful practices can also aid with connecting thoughts and emotions for healthy, helpful behaviors that increase awareness and build self-esteem. Keeping your mindset and behaviors directed to your strengths and those things you are working towards improving can affirm esteem building thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Learning ways to respond to your inner critic are also a part of the process. You may also find these affirming practices and others, a part of self-acceptance as you explore your sexuality. Who do you consider as social supports that are available to you for emotional support? These may be others who are personal champions or advocates in whom you confide and they reinforce healthy perceptions of self.  What supports have you had in place for self-harming behaviors and disordered eating? Having an appropriate level of care would be essential for developing skills for healthier ways of coping, regulating emotions, and other core issues that are a part of having a sense of safety and empowerment. As you think about addressing these concerns, past trauma, and familial conflict, are you open to establishing therapy in the process?
(LPC-MHSP, NCC, ACS)
Answered on 01/21/2022

how do i start looking for myself and loving it?

I am so sorry to hear that you are struggling with depression and trouble looking at yourself.  It will be important to recognize when your feelings have a purpose versus when they do not.  We of course want positive feelings in our lives, but sometimes negative feelings are there for a reason and we need to live out that purpose in order for it to get better.  If we do not live out the purpose of our feelings, it likely leads us to feel worse.  For example, something as simple as having anxiety about needing to get the chores done has the purpose of getting us motivated to get the chores done.  Therefore, if we do not live out that purpose and the chores remain undone, that can lead to more bad feelings, such as, “I am lazy” or “I am worthless.”  This is a simple example of how if we do not pay attention to our feelings and live out the purpose, they can become much, much worse.  So, I would encourage you to try and separate out the thoughts that have a purpose from the thoughts that do not have a purpose and are more intrusive.    For the ones that do have a purpose, it can be helpful to allow yourself to think through the anxious thoughts because anxiety has a nasty way of going to the worst possible scenario.  If you can wrap your head around that scenario, it can make it less scary.  For example, I had a client that was very anxious daily about being single for the rest of his life.  Thinking to that extreme is clearly anxiety and it just lingers there.  So, then he was able to think through that scenario and come up with a plan to make it less scary.  He then came up with that if he really is going to be single the rest of his life, which is highly unlikely, he is going to work towards being able to live close to the ocean since that is a dream of his.  Thinking about it now does not make him as scared because he recognizes he could be happy with that. So, try to think through specific things you are anxious about that have a purpose and make sure you have a specific plan on how to improve those things. For example, having a specific plan for how to address specific anxieties you have that lead to stress.     Intrusive thoughts tend to not have a purpose and it can be really helpful to try and overpower those before they are accepted as truths.   We can have power over our thoughts and I want to help you not engage in these thoughts that make you so upset.  The easiest example of this that I can think of is if I went skydiving.  If I went skydiving I would have some obvious, rational, anxious thoughts.  If I really have a desire to skydive though I will need to not engage in those thoughts.  I might have thoughts such as, "My parachute could fail, I will hit the ground, I am going to pass out, etc."  However, since I really want to follow through with skydiving, I would want to stop those thoughts in their tracks with, "I know this is going to be really fun, they inspect the parachutes ahead of time, people hardly ever get hurt doing this, etc."  By focusing on those thoughts and not engaging in the others, I would be able to follow through with skydiving. Try to sort through any thoughts that get you down about yourself and that you can’t handle all of this and try to overpower those.  These types of thoughts are very common when dealing with this kind of depression and low self worth.     As you do those processes it can be helpful to validate yourself as someone of worth and that has been able to get through challenges in your past.  Something that could be helpful for you is what I like to call centering thoughts.  These are thoughts that are predetermined and unique to you for you to turn to in low moments.  They need to be powerful enough to bring you back to your center.  It is important that these thoughts are accessible for you to look at when you need to.  Some clients prefer to read and re-read them and some prefer to write and re-write them until they feel better.  I have clients that write these somewhere they will see daily such as their bathroom mirror or phone background, while others simply have them in their phone to pull out when they need to.  An example of a centering thought would be from a client I had that related to nautical themed things and her thought was, "I will not let this sink me."  Another example is from an Olympic skier that actually had difficulties with negative thinking getting in the way of her performance so she went to therapy.  She mentioned that she learned about centering thoughts to battle all of the people telling her she “should be” or “should do.”  To battle those thoughts, she uses the simple centering thought of, “I am.”  She can then remind herself that she is good enough, that she is confident, and that she does want to still compete, which really affirms her own feelings and not others.  Hopefully you can come up with something that helps validate your worth and abilities to move forward.       I hope that some of this is helpful and that you can apply it to your circumstances.  I hope that you can lean on some family and/or friends through this.  Doing so can help take weight off of your shoulders as well as hopefully get some valuable advice from them. Try to take the healing one day at a time and adding one positive thing back into your life each day. I wish you all the best and I hope that you are staying safe.
(MA, LPC, NCC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

Why do I feel like I'm not good enough

Hello Jazzy,   Thank you for reaching out on The BetterHelp Platform with your question: Why do I feel like I'm not good enough? I am glad you have taken a moment to reach out with what you are concerned about at the moment.   It sounds as though you are struggling with low self esteem issues.  I will share some information about why you might be feeling this way and some tips on what you can do to help with this.  I would also encourage you to reach out to a professional counselor who can provide you with some effective coping skills and look deeper into the possible cause of this for you. Why aren't I good enough?  Everyone experiences a certain level of insecurity about their lives at some point . Many insecurities are often associated with physical appearance, intelligence, social skills, talent, or any number of personal attributes. If insecurities get in the way of functioning on a personal, social, or professional level, these feelings of inferiority may run more deeply than what are considered normal. Feelings of inferiority can get in the way of social, romantic, and professional goals. When an individual feels he or she is undeserving of friendships, love, or career advancement, it places that person in a holding pattern in life that can lead to loneliness, unhappiness, and despair. These are serious issues which a mental health professional can help anyone address. Let's take a closer look at some of the underlying causes of many personal insecurities. Low Self-Worth Sometimes even when an individual is in a relationship with someone who cares for him or her, rather than enjoying the relationship this person is convinced the relationship and the other person's love are undeserved. They will often unconsciously begin efforts to sabotage the relationship. Feelings of being undeserving of the relationship often causes theses individual to begin acting in a manner that causes the significant other to distance him or herself, thus validating the feelings of being undeserving of love. These same behaviors can manifest themselves in the workplace as well, often with the individual slipping up on the job, doing things that he or she knows are wrong. Sometimes people like this will begin to neglect their duties, such as showing up late for work or meetings. When asked to account for these behaviors by their manager, they cannot give a rational explanation, which makes the situation worse. How does a person tell an employer that he or she doesn't feel like they are good enough? This underlying sense of low self-worth can oftentimes be traced to a childhood full of abuse or trauma where that person was told he or she is worthless or will never amount to anything in life by parents or other authority figures. A child will take in these various negative messages and convert them to how everyone must view them. Instead of developing a healthy ego, they develop a sense of self that is always critical and questioning of their abilities. Ultimately, they feel that they are not deserving of love or respect. Does this sound familiar? Impostor Syndrome Do you struggle with feeling competent at work or school? When people tell you that you are smart or work hard do you not believe them or immediately dismiss these compliments? If so, you may struggle from Impostor syndrome. A term coined in 1978 by behavioral health researchers. It is a psychological term used to describe self-perceived feelings of fraud by people who tend to be very high achieving. People who struggle with impostor syndrome tend to feel depressed and anxious because they believe they will be discovered as fakes at any moment. This creates a great deal of personal stress and unless the person seeks help, can lead to serious occupational impairment over time. When given praise, people who struggle with impostor syndrome will often think such thoughts as: You're just being nice or I was just lucky that's all. People who feel the need to be a perfectionist often struggle with impostor syndrome due to their unrealistic standards around their performance at work. It's important to point out that there is no basis in reality for these beliefs. The person who struggles with these thoughts are generally admired by their supervisors for their competence and hard work. Many people who grapple with impostor syndrome perceive themselves as having deceived or manipulated others into thinking they are more competent than they truly are and assume they will be discovered at some point. More often than not this is pure fantasy and has no basis in fact, except in the mind of the person who suffers from the syndrome. Oftentimes, they feel they are not deserving of success. Helplessness Another common underlying cause of personal insecurity is a general feeling of helplessness. There are times when we all feel helpless, for instance when someone close to us dies. This is normal and is to be expected. No one feels completely at ease and competent in life all the time. However, if someone is feeling helpless on a daily basis, this could be a sign of a more serious issue. Many depressive disorders start with feelings of helplessness which can sometimes change to feelings of hopelessness over time. A general feeling of helplessness will affect our ability to function from day to day. People who struggle with this issue often give up too soon or don't try anything they perceive as being difficult. If you struggle with feeling helpless on a daily basis, this is a sign that you should seek professional help. A good mental health professional can work with you on this issue and help you get back to a place where you feel capable and confident. Toxic Environments Finally, people who live in dysfunctional toxic environments often question whether they are good enough. Growing up in a dysfunctional family as previously discussed will affect a person's self-worth but so will going to a job where a toxic environment exists as well. Many people don't realize how much their work surroundings affect their self-esteem and confidence. If someone spends their entire workday in a place where they are bullied and belittled, this will reduce their positive sense of self over time. Most of us spend the majority of our day outside our homes. Some people feel very comfortable in their workplaces due to working in an uplifting environment with supportive coworkers and supervisors. If you find yourself in a toxic workplace, it may be time to consider leaving that position before you are overwhelmed by feelings of insecurity and negativity. Will It Get Better? As with many things in life, feeling like you’re not good enough does not need to be a permanent issue. While it's challenging to rebuild broken self-esteem, it's not impossible. But it's important to find someone you trust to help you with this process. You need to be in a safe place to take risks, such as approaching your partner differently. Your partner, or whoever you are in relationship to, needs to be cognizant of your feelings and want to help you rebuild your self-esteem. With knowledge, consistency, and support, it will get better. Some ideas for how to approach another person about your feelings are below. Tell Them Honestly How You Feel Explain that you feel as if you aren't good enough for them and why you feel this way. If you cannot pinpoint why you feel this way, say so. Honesty is best. Be sure to speak with your partner, or whomever you feel this way toward, in a nonjudgmental and non-accusatory way. If this is a relationship you'd like to preserve, you want to ensure that you work together rather than pointing fingers. Find Solutions What could you hear that would make you feel differently? Do you feel as though the other person approaches you in a certain way that is harmful or doesn't say certain things to you that would be helpful? If that changed, would it make you feel differently? If your parent tells you how terrible you are at something, is that beneficial? Or does it make you feel you are not good enough? Explain that they could get their point across using different wording that does not attack your self-esteem. Write It Down If you already have low self-esteem and believe you're not good enough, you may not feel comfortable approaching the person causing these feelings. There are ways around this. Writing them a letter will allow you time to sit and think about your feelings and get them all on paper for the other person to read, rather than stumbling over your words while struggling with your self-confidence. How BetterHelp Can Support You Consider attending counseling with this other person, or by yourself. The professional, licensed therapists at BetterHelp can provide counseling services to help guide you through this process. Your therapist will help you with every step described in this article, from identifying your triggers to coaching you through a conversation with that other person. BetterHelp's network of licensed counselors can be accessed from the comfort and privacy of your own home (or wherever you have an internet connection).       Conclusion Feelings of self-worth are all tied up in upbringing, early relationships, and experiences. Toxic environments and the beginnings of depression can cause people to question their abilities as well feeling like an impostor. Some individuals are able to work through these issues through personal and professional achievements. Temporary stress can also cause us to feel like we are not adequate. However, people can develop anxiety issues that manifest themselves in self-defeating behaviors if these feelings are more than temporary. Chronic feelings of low self-worth, helplessness, impostor syndrome and living in toxic environments are serious, and can impact an individual's personal, social, and professional life. When we experience these issues, it's important that we reach out for help as soon as possible. These concerns can be addressed if people are willing to ask for help. Getting help from a qualified professional is a positive first step to learning strategies on how to increase self-esteem and improve quality of life. Online counseling can help people who struggle with low self-worth, impostor syndrome and other issues where people struggle with perceived incompetence.   There is hope, recovery is possible!   I wish you much luck with what you are going through and I hope you consider reaching out for some support and guidance with some effective coping strategies.   In Kindness, Gaynor
(MA, LCSW)
Answered on 01/21/2022

Having a high self esteem

It sounds like the struggle with self esteem is beginning to effect your daily life and increasing the negative self thoughts about yourself. Those negative self thoughts are being validated by not receiving as many complements as your friends. The good this with negative self talk and self esteem is that you have the power to change that and you are in control of how your view yourself. That starts with self love! Some tips to improve your self esteem could be: Loving yourself! The voice in your head that is saying all the negative thoughts is very powerful. So making a conscious effort to be kind to yourself and challenging those negative thoughts. Remember to talk to yourself the way you talk to your friends or family. Consistency and practice will make a difference.  Accepting who you are, perfection is not realistic and will keep you stuck in a downward spiral of negative self talk.  Challenging those negative thoughts, your initial thoughts might not be the only way to view the situation, ask yourself if your view is consistent with facts and logic or whether there are other explanations for the situation. Use hopeful statements, forgive yourself, avoid negativity, focus on the positive, encourage yourself and do activities you enjoy! Begin to implement positive cognitions into your daily routine. Identify 5 positive cognitions to say to yourself every morning to begin to reframe your thought process to a positive one. This will assist with lessening the power of the negative thought and their influence on your behavior. Again consistency is key with making changes! Listen to motivation speakers, motivational quotes, meditating, journaling, prayer, deep breathing anything that will make you feel good about yourself!  Identifying and establishing small goals to achieve, then establishing bigger goals. Accomplishing goals will also improve motivation to continue to take care of yourself. Rather than comparing yourself to others focus on your own goals and future rather than measuring them up to other people. Your goals shouldn't matter to others and is none of their business.  Exercise Getting fresh air and moving your body. This will help in building confidence, increase motivation and overall better mental space.  These steps may seem uncomfortable or awkward at first but they will begin to get easier with time and practice. As you begin to recognize the thoughts and beliefs that are contributing to your low self esteem, you can counter them or change the way you think about them. This will assist with accepting your value as a person. As your self esteem increases your confidence and sense of well-being will also increase!    I hope this was helpful! 
Answered on 01/21/2022

Hello,can You suggest any daily routines I can get into to love Myself first and better.

Hello,   Thank you for reaching out on The BetterHelp Platform with your question: Can you suggest any daily routines I can get into to love Myself first and better? I am so glad you reached out to ask for support and guidance with your struggles to 'find yourself again' and recover from what does sound like a very difficult time in a relationship. There is hope and there is help available for you.  I will share some information and some self-help tools for you to implement for yourself as soon as today if you are ready! I will also share some information on how to reach out for help if you decide that is one of the steps you might take on this journey of self reconnection.   If you search the term “self-love,” you might find a series of “self-care” tips, such as taking a luxurious bubble bath or listening to your favorite music as you relax. Many of these tips and suggestions come from good intentions. Surely, making time to relax and luxuriate will help you develop and cultivate self-love. While this might be a good place to start, true and lasting self-love requires more than a few moments of face masks and good music; true self-love comes from introspection, compassion, and self-awareness, all of which require time, effort, and attention to cultivate. What Is Self Love? Self-love is the practice of treating yourself with kindness, compassion, and love. Just as you’d give a loved one your time, your understanding, and your respect, you must give yourself time, respect, and understanding in order to truly engage in self-love. Loving yourself is a powerful thing to do but it can often prove difficult; you are usually your own worst critic, and because you know your thoughts, motivations, and habits, you might be under the impression that you are the worst person you know-or at least the most poorly adjusted. Part of self-love is recognizing that because you are in your own head and no one else’s, you see parts of yourself no one else can or ever will see—and that the thoughts and experiences you have been very likely repeated in those around you. You are not the only person who thinks judgmental thoughts about other people, nor are you the only one who is extremely annoyed by a coworker’s needy behavior. If you are experiencing a significant, negative emotion or reaction, the people around you may be experiencing the exact same thing. Self-love means accepting the parts of yourself you think need to be changed, in addition to the things you like about yourself. It is acknowledging your faults and welcoming them with an “and that’s okay!” instead of looking at yourself with judgment and condemnation. Self-love means loving yourself the way you hope others will love you. Why Is Self-Love Important? Self-love is important because the way you see yourself will play a significant role in how you view others and how you present yourself to the world. Someone with low self-esteem, for instance, will be more likely to judge and ridicule other people, as doing so applies something of a balm to their own injured self-esteem. Conversely, people with a healthy sense of self do not need to tear others down in order to feel good. They already have positive feelings toward themselves. Self-love is also important because of the way you feel about yourself projects to others how they should feel about you. If you constantly tear yourself down and point out your flaws, the people around you are far more likely to focus on those flaws, as well; after all, that’s what they are constantly directed toward. If you show yourself love and respect, the people around you are far more likely to reflect those feelings back to you and treat you the way you should be treated. How Self Love Impacts Relationships We accept the love we deserve—or, at least, the love we think we deserve. If your self-esteem is poor, you might indulge the whims and behaviors of abusive men and women because you might not believe you are worthy of better treatment. Abuse might not be involved at all, but a lack of respect and consideration might be because you, too, do not give yourself respect and consideration. Self-love impacts your relationships in that it projects to your partners how they should see and treat you. Self-love also impacts the way you relate to others. If you do not know and love yourself well, you may not feel safe, comfortable, or whole enough to truly open up to another person, which can limit the amount of intimacy and love you experience. If you do not love yourself, you may find yourself struggling to truly love someone else; love requires compassion, understanding, and sacrifice, and being unable to give yourself these things can make it difficult to extend them to someone else. Improving Self-Love: Meditation Meditation can act as a form of self-love for numerous reasons, the most prominent of which is its ability to positively impact your overall health and well-being. People who meditate have been shown to possess lower levels of anxiety, are less likely to be depressed, and are more likely to report feelings of contentment. Cultivating a consistent meditation practice can help you get to know yourself in stillness and without distractions and help you create a calmer, more stable presence. Improving Self Love: Positive Self Talk Positive self-talk is one of the simplest ways to improve and foster self-love. While negative self-talk is often the norm, positive self-talk will more effectively encourage you to treat yourself with kindness, respect, and compassion. Positive self-talk has been linked to greater self-esteem, better adaptive skills, and greater life satisfaction. Although the term “positive” often gets a bad rap as something fake or forced, positive self-talk does not require you to invent reasons to like yourself. Positive self-talk includes neutral statements, simply focusing on and noticing what is going on in your life and mind. Improving Self-Love: Introspection Checking in with yourself is a pivotal part of cultivating self-love. After all, if you do not know yourself, how can you love yourself? If you scoff at the love portrayed in children’s movies or common media, where love is declared after a mere day of knowing one another, shouldn’t you scoff at the prospect of loving yourself without getting to know yourself, too? Introspection need not be heavy or indulgent. Introspection can be as simple as checking in with how you are feeling throughout the day or taking a few minutes to evaluate why you reacted the way you did to a difficult or uncomfortable situation. Journaling can be a useful tool in introspection and can help you identify patterns in your behavior or areas you most need to grow in. Going back through your journal can also be helpful, as you can see how much you’ve grown and how far you’ve come in developing self-love and compassion. Improving Self Love: Self Care Finally, although it can be a bit more frivolous than useful, engage in regular self-care. While that might mean taking a bubble bath or sitting in a hot tub with your favorite musician playing in your ears, it can just as often mean saying “no” to overcommitment, making time for yourself, or treating yourself to a healthy, home-cooked meal. Self-care means evaluating exactly what you need at any given moment and giving yourself permission to make space for that need. Some days, you may require some time alone to regroup and gather your thoughts. Others, you may need the exact opposite, and make a plan to meet up with friends. Still others, you might need a good, long talk on the phone, followed by time on your own. In this instance, self-care is not a frivolous undertaking but a legitimate, powerful form of caring for and loving yourself. Love Yourself, Love Others Self-love is not a simple matter of thinking well of yourself when you’ve succeeded or experiencing a surge of happiness when you are looking particularly attractive one day. Self-love is a whole-hearted acceptance of yourself just as you are, with flaws, talents, bad habits, and beauty all in one incredible package. Self-love is not a simple goal to achieve and can take months or even years to fully develop and may even require you to seek help.   So much of our culture focuses on self-care but fails to truly encompass how to love yourself and show yourself the same care and deference as you would show your loved ones. Although self-love might seem indulgent or unnecessary, this practice is an integral part of leading a full, balanced, and compassionate life. If you cannot give yourself grace for your flaws, setbacks, and difficulties, you are unlikely to extend that same courtesy to other people. If you are unwilling to love yourself as a whole human with a complicated history, rich backstory, and complex series of hopes, dreams, and fears, you are similarly unlikely to regard the people around you as such, which limits your ability to sincerely see and love others. Because we accept the love, we think we deserve, failing to love ourselves is tantamount to saying, “I don’t deserve love.” Although this sentiment certainly seems to be a pervasive one, it is a lie. Everyone deserves to experience the richness of love unmarred by disappointment, unmet expectations, and judgment. This type of love is best found in yourself first before seeking it out from others. Seek Help professional licensed counselor, you can learn strategies to become more confident, increase your self-esteem, and find ways to love the real you. Consider exploring online therapy, which research shows is an effective option with many added benefits. For example, this study,  conducted by Brigham Young University researchers, found that technology-based therapy is as effective as traditional face-to-face therapy, with the potential to be delivered at a lower cost and with more convenience. Online therapy is a safe place, and counselors at  BetterHelp are specially trained to help people explore their feelings without judgment. BetterHelp makes it incredibly convenient to connect with someone you can trust. You choose how to interact with your therapist—by email, text, video, or phone—all from the comfort of home.   I truly hope you are able to implement some of these suggested self-help tools and they start to create the positive change you deserve in your life.  Recovery is possible and you don't have to do it all on your own.   I wish you much luck!   In Kindness, Gaynor   
(MA, LCSW)
Answered on 01/21/2022

¿How can I stop loathing myself?

Hello,   Thank you for reaching out on The BetterHelp Platform with your question:   How can I stop loathing myself? I am glad that you reached out with your concerns about how you are feeling.  It certainly sounds like you are struggling with significant low self-esteem at the moment and you are having  negative intrusive thoughts. I will share some information about that as well as some self-help tools you can implement.  I will also share some information on how counseling using a therapeutic intervention called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help with teaching you some effective coping skills to create stronger and positive mindset on how you can tackle this issue as well as addressing the issue of the intrusive negative thoughts.   Self-esteem is the phrase used to describe the way we feel about ourselves, especially in relation to other people. Another way to define self-esteem is that it's your opinion of yourself. If you don't value yourself as an individual, learning how to build self-esteem can change your entire life for the better. Benefits of Building Self Esteem Saying your life will be better when you have healthy self-esteem may leave you wondering exactly how your life will change. Most of the changes can be sorted into the following categories of benefits: Higher Self Confidence When you feel good about who you are, you feel more competent to do the things you need and want to do to have the life that suits you best. You'll make decisions more easily and find it more comfortable to follow through with your choices. You'll try things you've avoided and stop letting fear rule your life. More Success High self-esteem is one of the most crucial keys to career success. Because it improves your self-confidence, healthy self-esteem prepares you to have the confidence you need to accomplish whatever your boss or prospective employer demands of you. You're less likely to feel stuck in a dead-end job when your self-esteem is high, because you feel you're valuable enough to find a job elsewhere if you decide to do so. Stronger Relationships It's very hard to have a strong and happy relationship when you constantly feel inadequate. You may end up relying too much on someone you feel is more confident than you are. You might find it hard to be real with a loved one if you feel embarrassed for others to know the real you. Yet, those same relationships can flourish when you understand how to build your self-esteem. Once you develop a higher opinion of yourself, you can go confidently into your relationship, share who you are in the most intimate ways, and give as much as you receive. Improved Mental Health Low self-esteem can be a component of other mental health struggles. Because it generally involves negative thinking about yourself, you may become depressed or anxious as you try to navigate your world without the protection of a healthy respect for who you are. Sometimes low self-esteem can be a result of depression or anxiety. Greater Happiness When your self-esteem is low, it's hard to feel happy. Instead, you may feel sad, hopeless, confused, incompetent, unworthy of love and respect, or not deserving to have good things in your life. Once you learn how to raise your self-esteem, you can make the changes you need to make to feel better about yourself. Then, as you become more self-confident, more successful in your career, more secure in your relationships, and mentally healthier, your happiness will steadily increase. The Problem with Praise and Affirmations Decades ago, psychologists and teachers thought that the way to build self-esteem in students was to dole out constant praise. They would look for the smallest thing to praise or sometimes even praise children for things they didn't do well. Unfortunately, the result of all this praise wasn't what they thought it would be. Instead of growing more self-confident, many children became shyer, acted out, or failed scholastically. There were several problems with their theory. Praise Not Earned If children didn't have to do anything special to receive praise, they had less motivation to do well. On top of that, children often lost respect for teachers and others who seemed so easily impressed. What the adults needed to realize was that earning praise for a job well done, a creative idea well-expressed, or a kind and unselfish deed would have gone much farther in helping the children feel good about themselves than praise based on nothing more than the adults' desire to 'cure' the child of low self-esteem. In fact, if the child did something outstanding, they might not even need the praise to build self-esteem. You're Smarter Than That How likely are you to accept praise for something everyone does every day without thought? The children of the late 80s and early 90s who received all that excessive praise weren't fooled at all, and chances are, you wouldn't be fooled now, either. The children then, and you now, see through the flimsy praise and understand very well that it isn't real. You see that it's just a ploy to try to raise your self-esteem artificially. Empty Affirmations Are No Better Than Empty Praise Have you ever tried to look in the mirror and tell yourself that you're good at something when you aren't? It kind of sticks in your throat, doesn't it? Saying affirmations that you completely disbelieve only makes you feel foolish, pitiful, and sometimes, hopeless. Certainly, you can talk more kindly about yourself. However, trying to build yourself up with empty affirmations leads nowhere fast. How to Build Self Esteem More Effectively Right now, you might be wondering how to raise your self-esteem if you can't do it through praise and affirmations. Fair enough. So many people have pushed the praise/affirmation concept that the most effective ways to increase your self-esteem have been largely overlooked. Following are several tips and techniques for how to build self-esteem. Techniques for Building Self-Esteem If you're ready to tackle your low self-esteem head-on, the best way to get started is to talk to a therapist. They can help you in many ways, providing help in learning and implementing self-improvement techniques for building your confidence. Here are some of the techniques they might use. Understand That It's Okay to Think Well of Yourself Many people have the mistaken notion that liking yourself makes you an arrogant person. They fear that if they value themselves, they will be more likely to hurt someone else or get themselves into trouble. The truth is that you can accomplish more, help others more often, and live a truly honorable life when you have a healthy level of self-esteem. If you find this hard to accept, talking to a counselor can make it easier for you to face and overcome these fears. Identify the Sources of Your Low Self-Esteem Many mental health professionals operate under the assumption that children naturally have high self-esteem. If you have low self-esteem, it's thought to be because something happened to you that undermined your positive self-image. So, one of the most crucial tasks you need to accomplish to raise your self-esteem is to address the root causes that your self-esteem isn't as high as it needs to be. A counselor can help you find those incidents and longer-term situations that contributed to your low self-esteem. As you explore your childhood and more recent past, you may find out exactly when your self-esteem plummeted. Or, you may come to understand how many factors added up to cause your feelings. With that knowledge in mind, your counselor can go on to teach you techniques for changing the way you think about those past events and situations. For example, if someone told you repeatedly that you were stupid, you can learn to restructure your thoughts to see that the person who made those statements wasn't talking from a sense of the truth but instead using an unhealthy form of communication to vent their anger about something else entirely. Look at Your Strengths and Weaknesses More Objectively When you have low self-esteem, you tend to look at the world through a filter of negativity. You can get past your negative view of yourself by seeing your strengths and weakness in a more objective, factual way. Your counselor may ask you to write down all your strengths and weaknesses as a homework assignment. Then, during the next therapy session, your counselor can help you go through your list to determine how accurately you're seeing each item. Or, the therapist may simply ask you to talk about your strengths and weaknesses and explain why you consider your attitude to be based on the truth. Through a therapy technique called Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) your counselor can help you change the way you think and behave. As you think and do what you believe is good and right for you, your self-esteem naturally rises. What Is CBT? The definition of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a short-term psychotherapy treatment that uses a practical and intensive approach to solving issues such as depression, anxiety, addiction, and other behavioral or emotional concerns. It is based on the cognitive model of emotional responses and is more of a brief type of treatment in which the patient learns to challenge and change their unhealthy or unhelpful attitudes, beliefs, thoughts, and emotions to improve the patient's behaviors and emotional regulation. There have been numerous studies and research that showed CBT could lead to significant improvement in daily functioning and the patient's quality of life. How Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Work? Although it was originally designed for treating depression, it has been found that CBT is helpful in many situations such as anxiety, eating disorders, addictions, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), borderline personality disorder (BPD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), psychotic disorders, and conduct disorders like aggression in adolescents. In fact, CBT is the recommended treatment in many of these disorders before considering medication or other more intensive treatments. Some of the reasons that CBT is introduced include: Managing symptoms of mental illnesses Preventing relapse of mental illness symptoms Treating a mental condition when medication is not a good choice Learning new techniques for dealing with stress Identifying ways to manage emotions Resolving relationship issues Learning better ways to communicate with others Coping with loss or grief Overcoming emotional issues related to violence, abuse, or neglect Dealing with serious or chronic medical illness Managing chronic physical symptoms Some DIY Tips to Raise Your Self-Esteem Getting help with raising your self-esteem can improve your ability to make the major changes you need to have stable, long-lasting results. However, you can also work on this life challenge on your own. Try these do-it-yourself self-esteem-building tips. Use Positive Words to Describe Yourself Whether you're talking to others or thinking about your thoughts and behaviors within yourself, negative self-talk reinforces the mistaken notion that you're unworthy of love, friendship, and respect. Instead, try to be as objectively accurate when you speak of yourself. You don't have to use words you'll never believe are true, but you can use words that remind you that you are as worthy of receiving the good things in life as most other people are. Do Something Worth Being Proud Of Think of something you could do that would make you proud to be who you are. It doesn't matter what someone else thinks or wants you to do. Do something that has meaning to you. Start with small tasks that you haven't attempted before, either out of fear you'd make a mistake or because you were afraid others wouldn't 'get it.' Then, take that small risk. Do the thing. Enjoy the sense of accomplishment. Get Support for Your Quest to Improve Your Self Esteem Share your success with loved ones who know you're struggling to raise your self-esteem and understand how hard it is for you. If none of your friends or family fit that description, get support from a counselor. Finally, celebrate each success and move on to something a little more challenging. There are many options for counseling in most areas, and online therapy is a unique platform that allows you to message your therapist any time of day or night, and schedule live sessions. Counselors at BetterHelp.com are licensed and have years of experience. With affordable options and thousands of counselors to choose from, you can find someone that fits with you. Whether you choose in person or online therapy, getting started as soon as possible can pay off in significant rewards like a feeling of confidence that translates into a happier, more productive, and more fulfilling life.  I hope you can implement some of these tools for yourself to create some change in your life so that you are more accepting of yourself and move past your intrusive negative thoughts with the help and interventions of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. There is hope and there is help available for you. I wish you much luck with your next step.   In Kindness, Gaynor 
(MA, LCSW)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How would I begin to deal with the feelings of inadequacy?

Hello Lonnie, Thank you for reaching out on The BetterHelp Platform with your question: How would I begin to deal with the feelings of inadequacy? I am glad that you reached out with your concerns about how you are feeling.  It sounds like you are struggling with low self-esteem at the moment. I will share some information about that as well as some self-help tools you can implement.  I will also send you information on how counseling may help you with some effective coping skills to create stronger and positive mindset on how you can tackle this issue.   Self-esteem is the phrase used to describe the way we feel about ourselves, especially in relation to other people. Another way to define self-esteem is that it's your opinion of yourself. If you don't value yourself as an individual, learning how to build self-esteem can change your entire life for the better. Benefits of Building Self Esteem Saying your life will be better when you have healthy self-esteem may leave you wondering exactly how your life will change. Most of the changes can be sorted into the following categories of benefits: Higher Self Confidence When you feel good about who you are, you feel more competent to do the things you need and want to do to have the life that suits you best. You'll make decisions more easily and find it more comfortable to follow through with your choices. You'll try things you've avoided and stop letting fear rule your life. More Success High self-esteem is one of the most crucial keys to career success. Because it improves your self-confidence, healthy self-esteem prepares you to have the confidence you need to accomplish whatever your boss or prospective employer demands of you. You're less likely to feel stuck in a dead-end job when your self-esteem is high, because you feel you're valuable enough to find a job elsewhere if you decide to do so. Stronger Relationships It's very hard to have a strong and happy relationship when you constantly feel inadequate. You may end up relying too much on someone you feel is more confident than you are. You might find it hard to be real with a loved one if you feel embarrassed for others to know the real you. Yet, those same relationships can flourish when you understand how to build your self-esteem. Once you develop a higher opinion of yourself, you can go confidently into your relationship, share who you are in the most intimate ways, and give as much as you receive. Improved Mental Health Low self-esteem can be a component of other mental health struggles. Because it generally involves negative thinking about yourself, you may become depressed or anxious as you try to navigate your world without the protection of a healthy respect for who you are. Sometimes low self-esteem can be a result of depression or anxiety. Greater Happiness When your self-esteem is low, it's hard to feel happy. Instead, you may feel sad, hopeless, confused, incompetent, unworthy of love and respect, or not deserving to have good things in your life. Once you learn how to raise your self-esteem, you can make the changes you need to make to feel better about yourself. Then, as you become more self-confident, more successful in your career, more secure in your relationships, and mentally healthier, your happiness will steadily increase. The Problem with Praise and Affirmations Decades ago, psychologists and teachers thought that the way to build self-esteem in students was to dole out constant praise. They would look for the smallest thing to praise or sometimes even praise children for things they didn't do well. Unfortunately, the result of all this praise wasn't what they thought it would be. Instead of growing more self-confident, many children became shyer, acted out, or failed scholastically. There were several problems with their theory. Praise Not Earned If children didn't have to do anything special to receive praise, they had less motivation to do well. On top of that, children often lost respect for teachers and others who seemed so easily impressed. What the adults needed to realize was that earning praise for a job well done, a creative idea well-expressed, or a kind and unselfish deed would have gone much farther in helping the children feel good about themselves than praise based on nothing more than the adults' desire to 'cure' the child of low self-esteem. In fact, if the child did something outstanding, they might not even need the praise to build self-esteem. You're Smarter Than That How likely are you to accept praise for something everyone does every day without thought? The children of the late 80s and early 90s who received all that excessive praise weren't fooled at all, and chances are, you wouldn't be fooled now, either. The children then, and you now, see through the flimsy praise and understand very well that it isn't real. You see that it's just a ploy to try to raise your self-esteem artificially. Empty Affirmations Are No Better Than Empty Praise Have you ever tried to look in the mirror and tell yourself that you're good at something when you aren't? It kind of sticks in your throat, doesn't it? Saying affirmations that you completely disbelieve only makes you feel foolish, pitiful, and sometimes, hopeless. Certainly, you can talk more kindly about yourself. However, trying to build yourself up with empty affirmations leads nowhere fast. How to Build Self Esteem More Effectively Right now, you might be wondering how to raise your self-esteem if you can't do it through praise and affirmations. Fair enough. So many people have pushed the praise/affirmation concept that the most effective ways to increase your self-esteem have been largely overlooked. Following are several tips and techniques for how to build self-esteem. Techniques for Building Self-Esteem If you're ready to tackle your low self-esteem head-on, the best way to get started is to talk to a therapist. They can help you in many ways, providing help in learning and implementing self-improvement techniques for building your confidence. Here are some of the techniques they might use. Understand That It's Okay to Think Well of Yourself Many people have the mistaken notion that liking yourself makes you an arrogant person. They fear that if they value themselves, they will be more likely to hurt someone else or get themselves into trouble. The truth is that you can accomplish more, help others more often, and live a truly honorable life when you have a healthy level of self-esteem. If you find this hard to accept, talking to a counselor can make it easier for you to face and overcome these fears. Identify the Sources of Your Low Self-Esteem Many mental health professionals operate under the assumption that children naturally have high self-esteem. If you have low self-esteem, it's thought to be because something happened to you that undermined your positive self-image. So, one of the most crucial tasks you need to accomplish to raise your self-esteem is to address the root causes that your self-esteem isn't as high as it needs to be. A counselor can help you find those incidents and longer-term situations that contributed to your low self-esteem. As you explore your childhood and more recent past, you may find out exactly when your self-esteem plummeted. Or, you may come to understand how many factors added up to cause your feelings. With that knowledge in mind, your counselor can go on to teach you techniques for changing the way you think about those past events and situations. For example, if someone told you repeatedly that you were stupid, you can learn to restructure your thoughts to see that the person who made those statements wasn't talking from a sense of the truth but instead using an unhealthy form of communication to vent their anger about something else entirely. Look at Your Strengths and Weaknesses More Objectively When you have low self-esteem, you tend to look at the world through a filter of negativity. You can get past your negative view of yourself by seeing your strengths and weakness in a more objective, factual way. Your counselor may ask you to write down all your strengths and weaknesses as a homework assignment. Then, during the next therapy session, your counselor can help you go through your list to determine how accurately you're seeing each item. Or, the therapist may simply ask you to talk about your strengths and weaknesses and explain why you consider your attitude to be based on the truth. Through a therapy technique called Cognitive Behavior Therapy your counselor can help you change the way you think and behave. As you think and do what you believe is good and right for you, your self-esteem naturally rises. DIY Tips to Raise Your Self-Esteem Getting help with raising your self-esteem can improve your ability to make the major changes you need to have stable, long-lasting results. However, you can also work on this life challenge on your own. Try these do-it-yourself self-esteem-building tips. Use Positive Words to Describe Yourself Whether you're talking to others or thinking about your thoughts and behaviors within yourself, negative self-talk reinforces the mistaken notion that you're unworthy of love, friendship, and respect. Instead, try to be as objectively accurate when you speak of yourself. You don't have to use words you'll never believe are true, but you can use words that remind you that you are as worthy of receiving the good things in life as most other people are. Do Something Worth Being Proud Of Think of something you could do that would make you proud to be who you are. It doesn't matter what someone else thinks or wants you to do. Do something that has meaning to you. Start with small tasks that you haven't attempted before, either out of fear you'd make a mistake or because you were afraid others wouldn't 'get it.' Then, take that small risk. Do the thing. Enjoy the sense of accomplishment. Get Support for Your Quest to Improve Your Self Esteem Share your success with loved ones who know you're struggling to raise your self-esteem and understand how hard it is for you. If none of your friends or family fit that description, get support from a counselor. Finally, celebrate each success and move on to something a little more challenging. There are many options for counseling in most areas, and online therapy is a unique platform that allows you to message your therapist any time of day or night, and schedule live sessions. Counselors at BetterHelp.com are licensed and have years of experience. With affordable options and thousands of counselors to choose from, you can find someone that fits with you. Whether you choose in person or online therapy, getting started as soon as possible can pay off in significant rewards like a feeling of confidence that translates into a happier, more productive, and more fulfilling life.  I hope you are able to implement some of these tools for yourself to create some change in your life so that you are more accepting of yourself and move into accepting that you are good enough! There is hope and there is help available for you. I wish you much luck with your next step.   In Kindness, Gaynor   
(MA, LCSW)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How Can you help me

Hi Sara, I am so glad you reached out and asked your question. That took strength. Please know you are not alone in your challenges with low self-esteem and disordered eating. Although they both take time and ongoing professional support with a counselor or therapist to heal, I do have some suggestions I think can be helpful.  First, I do strongly encourage you to consult with a medical doctor. Because your symptoms seem to vary by time it is important to rule out that there is not another diagnosis that could be contributing to the problem. In addition, eating disorders can create related medical complications. It is unclear from your questions just how long and severe your eating disorder has been, so medical monitoring is important to ensure there has not been further harm to your wellbeing.  Second, low self-esteem and eating disorders tend to go hand in hand with one another. In fact, it can be difficult to figure out which one might be causing the other as they are so deeply interwoven. Often there is a complicated pattern where feelings of low self-esteem might be addressed through attempts to find love and comfort, or even a form of self punishment, through food. Unfortunately, this does not address the underlying painful feelings that led to the eating behavior. At the same time, eating disorders themselves can contribute to low self-esteem and can impair one's ability to think and see themselves clearly, thus lowering self-esteem even further.  One way to improve self-esteem and heal from eating disorders is through the use of a specialized form of psychotherapy called cognitive behavioral therapy. This form of therapy asks you to change the way you think about yourself and food from ways that are maladaptive and critical to ways that are more adaptive and positive. This type of therapy can help you focus more on your strengths and the things that are right about you.  It can also be very useful to develop positive coping skills and ways to manage negative moods, thoughts, or harmful behaviors related to your eating disorder. This can include things like meditation, journaling, yoga, engaging in art and a variety of other activities that are unique and helpful to you. They can help you feel better about yourself while also helping to reduce stress that can act as a trigger to low self-esteem and disordered eating. A gratitude journal can also be useful in recognizing the good things in your life and the valuable contributions that your life is making to others.  Finally, it is possible that you might benefit from medication to address any underlying conditions, like anxiety or depression, that could be related to your challenges with self-esteem and disordered eating. If appropriate, these can be especially useful when combined with psychotherapy.  When dealing with low self-esteem, it is also important to evaluate your personal relationships. Who are your support systems and people that help you feel validated and important? If there are people in your life that drag you down or are toxic, it is useful to remove yourself from those relationships as much as possible. One way to tell if a relationship is toxic is if you find that you feel worse about yourself, instead of better, after engaging with that person.  I hope you find these tips helpful. Please know that your recovery from low self-esteem and disordered eating is a journey and there are lots of great folks out there to walk that journey with you, one step at a time. Take good care.   
(PhD, MSW, LISW)
Answered on 01/21/2022

Is there something wrong with me?

Dear Neon orange highlighter,   Your experience sounds so frustrating. I can tell that it is clearly a mystery to you why what you see in the mirror does not correlate with what other people see, or even objective numbers on the scale. From the details you shared, I have a strong suspicion about what could explain your experience, and I will give you information and resources about that later in this message.   But first, I want to address your overall self-image and how low self-esteem could be hurting you and having a negative impact on other areas of your life in addition to your preoccupation with your appearance. Painful childhood experiences, such as being teased by peers, are truly traumatic, and can leave deep and lasting scars on a person. This is most evident when you say that, even though you lost weight in high school and have not been overweight in your adult life, “I can’t see myself as anything else.” You are likely a very different person in many ways from the child who had to endure that bullying. As an adult, you have more control over your life, how you spend your days, and who you choose to spend time with, than you did when you were a child. Not being able to see yourself as the person you are today has got to be hurting you in multiple ways and holding you back from a happier life you could be living. I hope reaching out to BetterHelp with this question means that you are considering therapy. I have no doubt that it could be very helpful and freeing to work though these painful issues with a therapist.   Now to address your actual question: Have you heard of body dysmorphia? It is a condition in which a person is so preoccupied with perceived flaws in their appearance that they see a distorted image when they look in the mirror. You are certainly not the only person to struggle with this. Many people have had this experience, have been blinded to reality and have spent years held back by insecurity and needless self-torment. And many have worked through it and freed themselves from this self-imposed prison. I highly recommend that you learn as much as you can about this as a first step in healing. Here are some resources:   https://bddfoundation.org/information/do-i-have-bdd-test/   https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/body-dysmorphic-disorder   I want to be clear that this is not any kind of official diagnosis. It would be irresponsible to think anyone could provide that based on one written correspondence. Also, please note that if you choose to pursue therapy through BetterHelp, our therapists are not authorized to diagnose you with any disorder or mental health condition. What we can do – and what I would like to do now – is give you information about what body dysmorphia is and ways that others have overcome it. Knowledge is power, and the more you know about the manifestations of this very real issue, the more you will be able to look at your own struggles and see if this profile fits your experience.   If your symptoms could be attributed to body dysmorphia, it would almost be “good news,” in an ironic sort of way. Because it would mean that there is nothing wrong with the way you look! That it is instead is a matter of distorted perception, of fixating on small things that other people usually don't even see.   Think of it this way.... You know how when you say a word over and over again it starts to not make sense? Try it... "apple, apple, apple, apple..." say it enough times and eventually you will hear it in your head and think, "Apple? Is that even a word?" This is similar to what happens visually when a person with body dysmorphia looks in the mirror too much.   Pull back and look at it with stone cold logic for a minute.... there is no possible way you could look that different from one day to the next. The only thing that has changed is the vision in your mind.   Assuming for now that I am on the right track, here are some guidelines for coping and moving past this hindrance:   The number one factor to be aware of is this: The mirror is not your friend. The mirror becomes like a drug for people with body dysmorphia. I advise you to try to avoid the mirror as much as possible except when you are getting ready in the morning. Think of it like how a drug addict has to stay away from their substance of choice in order to stay clean. Looking in the mirror can be compared to getting drunk or getting high. Because sometimes you think you look okay and that gives you positive reinforcement. But then you need another "hit" and so you look again and focus on something different this time and think you look bad. And that means you have to do it again because you are worried, and the next time you might think you look good... which will drive you back to the mirror to reassure yourself.... and on and on and on in a vicious cycle that never ends.   Try this visualization exercise... I call it "shape shifting." Before a social interaction..... Before you walk in the room, without looking in the mirror, picture yourself as the most positive version of yourself... every facet of your appearance exactly the way you ideally want it to be. Then mentally, draw that image over your own current that-day self, and go forward with the interaction imagining that you look that ideal way. Of course, you won't be thinking about how you look through the whole interaction, but when your thoughts drift back to the way you look, get that image on your mind again... that is you. Act accordingly.... What would your personality be like if you had that kind of confidence in how you looked? I honestly believe that you will project that confidence, which will allow you to be yourself, and people will see what you project, not any hesitancy you might project if you are focusing on your insecurities.   I want to also note that you mentioned limiting your eating in attempts to feel skinny. Eating disorders are a harmful result of severe body dysmorphia.   https://screening.mhanational.org/screening-tools/eating-disorder/   If you think this might be the case for you, I highly recommend reaching out to an eating disorders hotline or program to get the help that you need.   I hope this has been helpful and given you some hope that it is possible to break free from the painful place you have been in. Life can be infinitely more rewarding on the other side.   Take good care of yourself,   Julie      
(LCSW)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How can I grow comfortable with being myself by being worry free around others?

Rodrigo, Thanks for reaching out.  It takes courage to reach out and ask for help.  Know that you are taking the first step in making a change in your life.  To make changes in our lives we have to be open to new efforts and new perspectives.  Change does not happen in a vacume, it takes mixing things up and getting a little uncomfortable with something new. It sounds like you have a lot going on in your head when you are around in crowds, that can make interactions very difficult. First, I want you to explore the stories you are telling yourself when you are in crowds.  Are there any themes or patterns that come up.  We all have thought patterns as we go about our days, they are normal and they can be influenced by our awareness and choices.  Also, I want to reassure you that all the inside talk is just that - talk, and stories that you tell yourself. At least 95% of these stories are not true, unless you stick to them and make them true.  Our stories can become self fulfilling prophasies - we do create our life situations, either consciously or unconsciously. Our subconscious mind likes a couple of things -- 1. to keep life predictable -->   This brain behavior keeps many people stuck in patterns or cycles that don't work, because once it becomes a pattern for you and your life it is very predictable.  Understand that any change creates unpredictablity so it is uncomfortable and we do not like to be uncomfortable.  2.  to solve problems and prove beliefs.  So once you start a story in your mind, your mind takes on the idea as a problem to be solved and looks for any evidense that the story is true.  This can sometimes spiral and make an individual see only the evidense that supports their beliefs and the patterns that fit it.   In your narative you state that you feel you are behind the curve, insensitive and maybe take yourself too seriously.  Therapy is a great opportunity to explore these ideas with a non-judgmental party.  It can be very healing to get a new perspective and an opportunity to explore the process of changing your story about yourself.  The change is often uncomfortable and you always get to choose whether you are too uncomfortable or whether you want to push through the discomfort.  When you are able to get support and push through the discomfort often individuals get to the other side and find stories and/or behaviors that are more adaptive.  In your case you may be able to find that the stories you tell yourself are not true and you may gain a perspective that allows you to choose a different way of talking to yourself, of being with yourself, of being with others and of interpreting others as they interact with you.  Again well done - reaching out, being vulnerable and asking for a new perspective and support. I also want to acknowledge your insight in identifying the need to understand yourself and your history.  Your history has supported your way of being in the world and the stories that you have formed have kept you  safe in the world.  Again reaching out and being open to the learning is the first step in getting something new in life.  *If you want something different in your life, you have to do things differently." - and doing things differently can be uncomfortable - stretch and go through it.   May you be blessed on your journey.   
(LCSW, MA)
Answered on 01/21/2022

Hello I struggle with confidence and believing in myslef. How do I become more confident?

Hello Elizabeth, Thank you for reaching out and seeking help to relieve some of the distress you are experiencing from not feeling adequate and struggling with confidence. I can hear the difficulty you are having as you struggle to find yourself, a purpose in life, and ultimately become independent so you can determine your career path. It takes a lot of courage to reach out for help, so you have demonstrated some confidence by taking a small step in that direction. Speaking with a therapist can help you to gain a more realistic and complete perception of yourself. It sounds like you are extremely aware of all the negatives about yourself (since you feel like you are never enough), however in therapy you can learn to also balance the negatives with all of the positive things about you too. Through further processing your thoughts and feelings, you will probably find out that a lot of your negative beliefs about yourself are based on childhood perceptions and are not really reality-based. It can be very beneficial to deal with these core beliefs as they are usually so automatic and sub-conscious that we do not even recognize them in ourselves.  It is normal to base our worth on what others think of us - or at least what we perceive they think about us. This is how we initially develop a sense of who we are as a person, and our early identity as children. Continuing this behavior into adolescence and adulthood becomes flawed however, because these perceptions of self as a person are made through the eyes of a child's ideas, perceptions, and worldview which no longer matches us as an adult; it no longer "works." It can be helpful to start to examine what evidence you have that challenges the negative beliefs and thinking patterns that say you are inadequate. Depending on the opinions of others to give you self-worth, esteem, or an identity will usually be destructive as it is impossible to make everyone in this world happy, 100% of the time. While you can certainly seek advice or counsel from others for consideration, ultimately you are the expert on you and it is your opinion that matters the most, If you spend too much of your mental energy on the opinions of others, this tends to cloud, or even blind you, to being able to develop self awareness and clarification of your values, abilities, and other unique traits that make you who you are. That is why it is so helpful to explore who you are now to develop a mature, "updated" view of who you are as a person. There are so many important questions to ask yourself to get this clarification such as: what your talents and abilities are, what accomplishments in your life are you proud of, what are the times in your life that you felt good about yourself, what are the activities you really enjoy, or what do you feel passionate about in life? These are just a few examples of the work you can do in therapy to further your discovery process of the wonderful person that you are! Once you are able to get an accurate picture of your positives - and a more realistic view of the areas in your life that you would like to improve -  you can take some steps in becoming more independent. There is something called "the miracle question" which asks you to envision and describe in detail what your life as an independent woman would look like if magically the problem with confidence and believing in yourself would disappear. This could involve many different goals depending on where you are in life, such as getting a car, your own house or apartment, traveling, developing a larger social network or hobbies, or furthering your education. Here again, you could work with a therapist to prioritize and develop an action plan of the steps to take to accomplish these goals.  This may sound daunting at first, however discovering your true, authentic self, your identify, your purpose in life, your self-worth, also sounds very exciting as well! It will be worth the effort to learn to celebrate who you are as a person and all that you have to offer to the world! I wish you all the best in your wonderful journey!
Answered on 01/21/2022

Why am I sad?

I would start by saying that I am glad to read that you are no longer experiencing 'issues' with your history of abuse.  It is not uncommon with abuse survivors to get to a place where you are seemingly without emotion towards the events or at times the person(s) that perpetrated the abuse. It is often seen as a signal of your healing.  This space can often leave survivors unsure as to how to define themselves or their personal narrative. The abuse was a large part of your identity and consumed large volumes of energy to not only struggle with the memories but to experience any physical symptoms from such levels of stress.  There are a few things that need to be considered: what is your daily stress level?, do you share your life with other people and how much do they add to your stress or stress relief, when you are involved in these hobbies are you alone or with other people, how are your social skills and do you feel like your ability to bounce back from daily struggles has been impacted during your recovery from this experience??? All of these can contribute to supporting you on your next leg of your healing.  It is important to see where you are at now as not an end spot but a phase to move through.  What is next? Well, that is a good question.  What do you want for your life? For many this is the first time in their lives where they get to have a feeling that they can set the course for their life.  Perhaps start a vision board and begin to build what your life could look like.  What would be important to have on that board and what would the steps be to bring those to life?   The part about saying sorry a lot is consistent with this phase of recovery.  People can often feel that they are not valuable and that they are wrong for wanting to be treated properly or to have their own wants and dreams. It can make it difficult to draw boundaries with friends and relatives. Be clear with yourself that you have worked hard to be clear of what used to hold you back. Try to hold back on apologizing, take a week and wait till someone asks for an apology before you give one.  This will help you be clear that you are giving it because it is necessary not because it is an old impulse designed to keep you safe.  Keep your feet moving, and know you are on the right path. Take care and be well Paul Deutsch MS, LPC
Answered on 01/21/2022

How to rid of social pressure and the pressure to blend in. Makes me procrastinate with my happiness

Hello! I am glad that you reached out. I am sorry to hear that you are feeling pressure to blend in and delaying your happiness. Therapy can be an effective treatment for a host of mental and emotional problems, including reducing depression symptoms and building your self-worth! Talking about your thoughts and feelings with a supportive person can often make you feel better. It can be very healing, in and of itself, to voice your worries or talk about something that’s weighing on your mind. And it feels good to be listened to—to know that someone else cares about you and wants to help. While it can be very helpful to talk about your problems to close friends and family members, sometimes you need help that the people around you aren’t able to provide. When you need extra support, an outside perspective, or some expert guidance, talking to a therapist or counselor can help. While the support of friends and family is important, therapy is different. Therapists are professionally-trained listeners who can help you get to the root of your problems, overcome emotional challenges, and make positive changes in your life. You don’t have to be diagnosed with a mental health problem to benefit from therapy. Many people in therapy seek help for everyday concerns: relationship problems, job stress, or self-doubt, for example. Others turn to therapy during difficult times, such as divorce. But in order to reap its benefits, it’s important to choose the right therapist—someone you trust who makes you feel cared for and has the experience to help you make changes for the better in your life. A good therapist helps you become stronger and more self-aware. Finding the right therapist will probably take some time and work, but it’s worth the effort. The connection you have with your therapist is essential. You need someone who you can trust—someone you feel comfortable talking to about difficult subjects and intimate secrets, someone who will be a partner in your recovery. Therapy won’t be effective unless you have this bond, so take some time in the beginning to find the right person. It’s okay to ask questions when interviewing potential therapists. The good thing with Betterhelp is that you have many qualified therapists to choose from. As you start to resolve your current and past issues you are more likely to have control over your thoughts, increased self-worth, and be on a path to a healthier future. I hope that you are able to get support to assist you. Hello! I am glad that you reached out. I am sorry to hear that you are feeling pressure to blend in and delaying your happiness. Therapy can be an effective treatment for a host of mental and emotional problems, including reducing depression symptoms and building your self-worth! Talking about your thoughts and feelings with a supportive person can often make you feel better. It can be very healing, in and of itself, to voice your worries or talk about something that’s weighing on your mind. And it feels good to be listened to—to know that someone else cares about you and wants to help. While it can be very helpful to talk about your problems to close friends and family members, sometimes you need help that the people around you aren’t able to provide. When you need extra support, an outside perspective, or some expert guidance, talking to a therapist or counselor can help. While the support of friends and family is important, therapy is different. Therapists are professionally-trained listeners who can help you get to the root of your problems, overcome emotional challenges, and make positive changes in your life. You don’t have to be diagnosed with a mental health problem to benefit from therapy. Many people in therapy seek help for everyday concerns: relationship problems, job stress, or self-doubt, for example. Others turn to therapy during difficult times, such as divorce. But in order to reap its benefits, it’s important to choose the right therapist—someone you trust who makes you feel cared for and has the experience to help you make changes for the better in your life. A good therapist helps you become stronger and more self-aware. Finding the right therapist will probably take some time and work, but it’s worth the effort. The connection you have with your therapist is essential. You need someone who you can trust—someone you feel comfortable talking to about difficult subjects and intimate secrets, someone who will be a partner in your recovery. Therapy won’t be effective unless you have this bond, so take some time in the beginning to find the right person. It’s okay to ask questions when interviewing potential therapists. The good thing with Betterhelp is that you have many qualified therapists to choose from. As you start to resolve your current and past issues you are more likely to have control over your thoughts, increased self-worth, and be on a path to a healthier future. I hope that you are able to get support to assist you.
Answered on 01/21/2022

Why do I get sad and emotional when I get attention? I wish I could enjoy eyes on me but I can’t

I have a real issue. When people say nice things about me, I don’t believe them. Whether it’s how I look, an accomplishment I’ve recently achieved, an idea I had, or even just on cookies I baked, when people compliment me, I think they’re lying or trying to manipulate me somehow, or that they mean well but don’t recognize that what I’ve done is actually not that good. Like when your partner tells you you’re beautiful — they’re kind of obligated, so the meaning’s gone for you. So when someone says to me, “Wow, your dress looks amazing today!” I deflect. I’ll say, “Oh thanks — I don’t know, I guess I like it. I can ride my bike in it, which is the important thing!” Cue the classic: “Thanks, it has pockets!” This might sound familiar to some of you — the ability to overlook fifty positive comments in favor of the one negative one that someone said to you, once, ten years ago. It’s so easy to believe, dwell on, eternally reflect on the negative even when it’s overwhelmingly outweighed by the positive. Why does that happen? Why do we struggle to believe good things? Science tells us it’s a loop. There are three factors happening here, feeding into one another endlessly to make it hard to accept compliments: low self-esteem, cognitive dissonance, and high expectations. It goes like this: you don’t think much of yourself, for whatever reason. Maybe it’s imposter syndrome, maybe you’ve only been valued for one aspect for most of your life, so it’s impossible to see your worth in others. Maybe you’re continually comparing yourself to others and coming up short in your own estimation. Either way, you have low self-esteem. So when someone compliments you, this jars with the truth you hold about yourself. It’s uncomfortable for your mind, because you’re faced with two prospects: one, you’re wrong about yourself, or two, they’re lying. You can’t simultaneously believe you suck and believe someone else when they say that you don’t. So while your brain is working furiously to justify the two things concurrently, your mouth will open and justify things to the other person. “Oh, I just got lucky.” “I guess the stars aligned.” “Good thing they asked the right question that I knew the answer to.” Just like that, the pressure’s off. This plays into the last factor: high expectations. Because you have low self-esteem, because you struggle to believe other people when they’re kind to you, you want to shirk any expectations as soon as possible. So you respond to the situation in a way that lets you off the hook if you don’t succeed next time. This relieves a bit of the pressure and anxiety you feel when someone compliments you. But it’s unpleasant to constantly be second-guessing every nice thing people say. Sometimes, people are just nice. It’s good for our brains to be told we’re good. We’ve established why this thing happens — because we don’t believe in ourselves, and it’s more comfortable for our brains when nobody else believes in us, either. But it’s healthy when, instead of forever dwelling on negative feedback, we linger on the positive. Being able to experience happiness when other people notice you can be an important source of fulfillment. It turns out that when you push those positive memories away, you’re actually losing the ability to experience happiness over positive remarks. You can tell they’re positive, but there’s no warm glow of pride accompanying them. Research showed that people who routinely dismissed positive comments actually had a harder time remembering the level of positivity of the feedback, more so than people who accepted them to begin with. Accepting compliments can be hard. It’s worth it to accept compliments, both for your memory and your mental health in the long run. But it can feel boastful, to accept that something you’ve done is good. Who wants to be the narcissist who says “Yeah, I’m aware,” when someone compliments you? But even when you’re just trying to say “Thanks,” it feels like pulling teeth. The urge to justify or qualify your success is overwhelming. You want to buckle and say that it wasn’t you, that you just got lucky, that you won’t do so well next time. I’m like that, so I know it sucks. Obviously, I’d rather just believe the other person, say thanks, and move on with my life instead of obsessing over the appropriate way to accept compliments. But I want to get better. What happens when you stop self-criticizing? For one week only, just while I was at work, I accepted compliments. I did not deflect, I did not qualify, I did not put myself down immediately after accepting it. I simply said “Thank you,” to anything nice that people said about me. If my success was partially due to someone else, I said thanks and acknowledged their hard work, too, but I didn’t say it was all them. If I didn’t agree with a compliment, I still took it, choosing to believe that someone else’s opinion could still be valid even if I didn’t think it was true. In short, I tried to live for a week as though I could take credit when I did stuff well. My brain tried to convince me that any would-be compliments were just being sarcastic, or that I’d spectacularly fail the next time I tried at anything and embarrass myself. But you know what? I didn’t spontaneously combust. I did not get fired. I didn’t become amazingly self-assured either, and my self-esteem wasn’t fixed overnight, but it felt good to accept that I might be good at some things. I didn’t get better at believing it — yet — but it did start to feel more natural to simply accept and move on. I hope in time I’ll find it easier to believe compliments, and not just give lip service to the idea. Compliments can feel like just a minor form of social interaction. We all say them, we all receive them. But I believe that just as important as learning to give one, is learning to take one.
(M.Ed, LPC, CSC)
Answered on 01/21/2022