How did you build self confidence and self esteem?

posted 1 month ago in Not Wedding Related
Post # 2
Member
1415 posts
Bumble bee

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@botanistbee:  My childhood was no cakewalk and I was not taught proper emotional boundaries. What helped me build self-esteem was several things, one of which was having goals and accomplishing them. I felt insecure while trying to accomplish them but tried anyway and succeeded. Over time, my successes helped me believe in myself. Another thing that helped was overcoming hardship and not allowing it to hold me back. Sure I’ve felt like a failure and like life was bleak. But I told myself I’m going to try despite those feelings and it worked. Therapy and confronting my demons REALLY helped. The BIGGEST thing that helped–realizing that thoughts and feelings are transitory and don’t have to become reality. You can’t always control your thoughts and feelings, but you can control your actions, which is what counts. Finally, superficially, I take good care of myself physically. I look good and that helps me feel good.  Looks do matter and they do help you get ahead in life. I try to use every advantage life gives me.

Post # 4
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1415 posts
Bumble bee

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@botanistbee:  You don’t need to put pressure on yourself to speed up your resilience! It’s a practice and it’s ok to go at your own pace. What matters is that the pace is sustainable for you. Congratulations on not giving up! Perseverance is crucial. And I encourage you to enlist the help of a therapist to help with processing your feelings. It really helped me! Truly!

Post # 5
Member
871 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2021

In my research (I’m working on my dissertation for my PhD), I’ve taken an interest in the concept of shame. Learning about shame and it’s effects has clearly illuminated so many of my own thought patterns and emotional experiences. “Guilt” is usually considered to be a response to an action or a behavior. Guilt is a feeling that, “I’ve done something wrong.” Shame, on the other hand, is considered to be a feeling that you, yourself, as a person, are inherently wrong, or bad, or worthless. The root cause of issues like low self-esteem is often a strong base of shame. You say you’re ashamed of your low self-esteem, but the reality is that you might actually be ashamed of yourself. 

When my dad left my family as a kid, I developed a deep sense of shame. When something like abandonment (or abuse) happens to kids, they often feel like they must be bad people, otherwise, why would bad things happen to them? From my shame grew anxiety and low self-esteem issues. Dealing with your self-esteem alone won’t always solve the problem… you might have to go back to those roots of shame, and deal with them directly. For me, that’s involved a lot of therapy and self-reflection, primarily through writing and journaling.

I’ve also developed a practice of nurturing the inner child that had been deeply wounded. If I need a hug, I ask for one. If I need to cry, I cry, and I don’t blame myself for doing so. Being kind to yourself can go a long way.

Post # 6
Member
157 posts
Blushing bee

For me, it was having a job that was truly challenging in terms of both the work and my boss, who was kinda a dick, but learning to deal with him was important for my self-confidence. So I’m actually glad for that experience, even though it was pretty miserable for those 3 years I worked there. I was in my early 30s and had always had low self-confidence until that job. In terms of self-esteem, I think that unfortunately is based on how I’m feeling about how I look. Right now, I weigh about 40 lbs more than I’d like, and probably 30 lbs more than the point at which I feel good about how I look. I definitely need to do something about it, because I also just don’t feel good physically, and I have a VERY active toddler. Good for you for persevering, you can do it! It’s so hard. 

Post # 7
Member
3669 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2017

CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) is really helpful too. I read the Feeling Good Handbook and did the online workbook along with it. That is all CBT. That helps me reframe the thoughts that pop into my head. I also agree with PP about therapy and also trying things. I get anxious about doing a lot of things but once I do it I feel proud of myself. I also grew up with a lot of family issues and there was abuse and abandonment, drug abuse and mental illness, so that did affect me as a kid and as I became an adult. 

Post # 8
Member
297 posts
Helper bee

Building self-confidence and developing a supportive network of friends is a lifelong journey; some people are lucky to be born with qualities or in an environment that helps them start out ahead, while others have to put more work into it. The fact that you are posting this is a wonderful step!

I have moved to a new city every 1-2 years as an adult; this means that I have to start over with a new group of local friends each time. One of the first things I do after each move is look at all of the local places where I can volunteer.

Finding a long term volunteer position can do amazing things for self-confidence. Helping individuals or communities gives you a mission and sense of purpose, which are crucial building blocks for confidence. And of course, you’re also helping the local community!

You can look for organizations whose missions involve art, poverty, youth, mental health, etc; whatever resonates with you. When you volunteer, you will also naturally meet like-minded people, who might introduce you to other organizations or activities that you can join. This becomes a cascading effect. The more you volunteer and interact with your fellow volunteers, the more opportunities you will have to meet new people!

Post # 13
Member
1650 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2022 - Studio City , CA

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@botanistbee:  

1.  Find 2-3 qualities or as many as you can and honor those.

2. Reimagine flaws as challenges where you can grow

3.  Identify lies you tell yourself (mistaken belief…”im not good enough’)

4. Reframe those lies into statements of affirmation and repeat them until you own them:

“I am not good enough vs. I am not good at certain things as I would like to be but I will get there”

“I am not skinny enough vs. I am a little healthy but I am still beautiful.”

5.  Create a vision board or vision list of all the quallitiies or things you would like to become. Who is the best version of yourself that you would like to become?

6.  Follow up and journal daily about your glows and grows. This can be written or in video form

7.  Find a mentor someone IRL or someone you admire and borrow some of their tricks

8.  Eliminate anyone from your circle who causes you to doubt yourself, or those who are unnecessarily critical. 

9. Surround yourself arround equally strong women whom you admire

10.   Forgive yourself and Love yourself as you are because of who you are.  

Post # 14
Member
437 posts
Helper bee

I am not qualified to give mental health advice but I can talk about my experience!

In highschool/my formative years I had extremely low self esteem. I am on the spectrum and had a very difficult time fitting in with others and making friends. I envied those who has close friendships and could talk to people. I was really miserable and did feel that sense of shame. I felt like I was a burden to the people around me, that I didn’t deserve the right to speak or ask for things or make my needs known, since I wasn’t worthy of anyone’s friendship. I remember in class when the teacher would give out treats like success or something, I’d always refuse not because I didn’t want one, but because I felt like I didn’t deserve one because I simply wasn’t on the same worthiness level as the other kids, I was less than human in my own mind.

I was very depressed a lot of the time, and often alone. I did try to find comfort in things I was good at, such as academics, crafting, and writing. When I focused on things I already had some skill in and enjoyed, I found that I enjoyed that feeling of confidence and wanted to expand it. I started to pick up other solo hobbies, got a job at 14 and saved up to buy a cheap guitar and some paint supplies, and worked on those. The internet was at the stage where it was really expanding and websites and forums were forming so that I could get/give feedback to others within the hobby without necessarily having to socialize in person. As my skills grew with practice, I realized I could apply the same practice to all areas of my life. I think starting work too (in retail) really helped as well, as it gave me a safe space to interact with people since there were certain social norms to follow (professionalism and customer service). I didn’t have to try hard to navigate through conversations as they were scripted for me.

I started researching and practicing social skills. I learned first through textbook, then through online practice, then through real world experiences the nuances of sarcasm, small talk, reading non verbal signals and cues, etc. I remember I would attempt to deviate from my script at work to make small talk with customers, try and joke with them etc. It was a low risk situation because if my attempts failed that customer would then leave and then I’d have a new one to practice on. I unfortunately at the time (likely due to my low self esteem) was in a relationship with an NPD, which did nothing for my self esteem but did give me room to continue to improve myself until I got to a point where my self worth started to build.

If there was something I found that I didn’t like about myself that was in my control to fix, I researched how to fix it and worked hard on it. Things that were out of my control I struggled with more, and still do struggle with some things today but I try to disconnect it from my worth as a person by reminding myself everyone has flaws.

Now I pretty much love myself though. I continue to set goals and of course I know I can always improve and do better, but I am happy and practice a lot of self care. I do think that if I tied my finances to my self worth I would struggle a bit like yourself. I make decent wages but if I’m having a rough day at work or make a mistake it doesn’t affect my salary or ability to pay bills. I do pride myself in my work and work very hard and put my heart into it but if my salary depended on perfection then that would be indeed far too stressful.

Is there a way perhaps that you could find employment that isn’t as closely tied to your performance and perception of your work, especially seeing that it’s such a vulnerable thing for you? Perhaps even just part time work so you can do both? That may help take some of the stress off if your art isnt 100% responsible for your livelihood. I know amazing talented people in the arts industry who still struggle financially. Do you do commissions? I know sometimes that helps vs making the art and trying to sell it after it’s complete as a lot of times people are more willing to pay for something in which they have some creative input. I’m not sure what type of art you do so these things may not apply.

Post # 15
Member
542 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2019

I leaned into the parts of myself I thought were my best qualities, and tried to accept my negative traits in a practical way. For example, I’ve always been told I’m fairly kind so I always thought “I may not be the most beautiful, but at least I’m nice!” I focused on the subjects I was good at in school (English, reading, writing) and laughed about the stuff I was bad at (just dreadful at sports). I tried to have a good sense of humor about it all. 

I did have good self-esteem but the downside of my approach is I wasn’t very motivated to make changes. Because I accepted my flaws, I just lived with them. For example, I was always late and fairly messy. I couldn’t cook. Etc. When I was in my early 20s I was telling someone I was just a “late person”. I laughed it off but she called me out- she said I could choose to change that. It wasn’t an inherent, immutable quality I had, it was a habit. That enabled me to see I could improve things I didn’t like. However, it could also lead to me being harder on myself, and telling myself I was bad for not fixing things better or faster.

When I met my husband, I quickly realized I had lots of self-esteem, but only in certain areas. He would tell me I was beautiful but I had trouble agreeing- I didn’t feel ugly exactly, but not beautiful compared to most women! I realized I wanted to feel beautiful but thought I was “bad” at it, so I hid behind my better qualities and didn’t try. It was easier to think “perhaps I would be as beautiful as others if I wore makeup and nicer clothes” than to try to be beautiful and not be. Essentially not even trying for fear of failing. I had to face a lot of demons regarding how I felt about my appearance and this manifested mainly in a ton of anxiety that my husband would just leave me one day for someone more beautiful. I didn’t feel angry towards other women but saw it more as a fact- 1+1=2 and this guy is only with me because he thinks I’m the best he can get- if a prettier woman approached him he would leave me for her. I overcame this by having conversations with him in which he assured me that I am beautiful, that I do have other positive traits and qualities that he likes that others might not have, etc. So I came to feel more confident in my appearance and also just balanced that with my other good qualities. I also learned more about how to feel more beautiful (for example, I have a basic makeup look I like and wear if I want to “dress up”), so I can control my appearance to some degree.

Finally, some things I learned just by doing. I couldn’t cook at all but my husband asked me to cook and encouraged me. One day I made a lasagna with some deviation from the recipe and it turned out amazing. I was genuinely surprised and said to my husband “huh… maybe I *can* cook”. I genuinely just thought I was incapable before. He also believes I can do more than I attempt. I am very quick to give up on things and will just accept my limitations rather than keep trying. But my husband is very stubborn and will keep trying for ages after I am mentally done. Then, when I’m beyond all hope, he’ll succeed. That helped me see how much I was getting in my own way. Sometimes I’m mad when he pushes me instead of just letting me give up. But then I often find I CAN do the thing. It’s so annoying because then it just proves him right, but also empowering because I find I can do something I never thought I could do. Since I accept that, it also means there are tons of other things I could do if I put in the time and effort. Maybe I can’t do it right now, but I can do it.

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