Self-Esteem Articles

Withdrawal: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

Withdrawal: the Good, the Bad, and the UglyWithdrawal makes love addiction different from codependency. Like any other addict, a love addict wants a fix — in this case, the object of his or her obsession. That could be a particular person, or a relationship in general. So what happens when that “substance” goes away?

There are two ways a love addict enters withdrawal: They’ve ended the relationship or tried to. Or his or her partner has left the relationship — explicitly, or by becoming obsessed with his or her own addictive behavior. As soon as the love addict feels the other person’s absence, it will trigger feelings of loss.

Relearning How to Relate to People After a Major Trauma

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

IsolationWhen I was first diagnosed with schizophrenia eight years ago, it was almost impossible for me to talk to people, let alone relate to them.

If it wasn’t the constant anxiety and paranoia keeping me from engaging, it was the burden of having an 800 lb. gorilla that nobody understood hanging over my head.

How could I possibly get on anyone else’s level when there was this immense self-stigmatizing diagnosis of being crazy sitting on my shoulders?

Own Your Own Strength: Finding Power in Helplessness

Monday, August 4th, 2014

happy woman summer

One of the most crushing and crippling side effects of low self-esteem is the sense of helplessness with which it saddles us.

Hopelessness too, of course. But before hopelessness comes helplessness: that paralytic mixture of fear and resignation driving our belief that, whatever good, bad or incalculable thing awaits us around any corner, we will be tragically but blameworthily unequipped to handle it. Whether it’s a new relationship, a health issue, a job interview or a banana split, the one thing we think we know for sure is that we cannot endure it unscathed if at all, much less emerge educated, victorious, enjoying ourselves and/or improved.

For those of us who struggle with self-loathing, helplessness is not just a feeling but a conviction — in every sense of that word.

When You Regularly Feel Insecure in Your Relationship

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

When You Regularly Feel Insecure in Your RelationshipDo you tend to feel insecure in your relationships? Do you often feel worried, lonely or jealous? Have partners commented on how clingy you get? Then you might have an anxious attachment.

“Anxious attachment is a way of describing the way some people connect with others — especially emotionally significant others — in their lives,” said Leslie Becker-Phelps, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist and speaker. Individuals with an anxious attachment believe they’re flawed, inadequate and unworthy of love, she said.

Think You’re Not Guilty of Verbal Abuse? Think Again

Monday, July 28th, 2014

M375/0011

Never speak badly about yourself.

It’s a simple statement, one many of us would agree with in concept. But do you follow it’s advice? Probably not. Because our inner critic speaks to us in a voice so familiar we rarely notice it’s presence.

Recently, I had a friend say out loud with absolute conviction: “God, I’m such a (expletive) idiot.”

She said this more than once, and I was taken back to my childhood where this type of mental patterning was more commonly accepted. I used to say this out loud to myself all the time. Now, I just say it internally.

Would Your Life Be Better if You Owned More Things?

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

Would Your Life Be Better if You Owned More Things?

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough. ~ Oprah Winfrey

Materialists are those who have a central life focus on acquiring more things. They often relate their happiness directly to their possessions while declaring these goods as both the main source of life satisfaction and a symbol of their success in life. The answer they give to the above question is a resounding “yes” — More is always better for the materialist. But does accumulating stuff make them happy?

Finding Your Way through Adversity

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Getting to the Good PartOn my last day of inpatient psychiatric treatment, I nervously asked the hospital’s program director if I could apply for a position there. I felt a thousand times better than the day I was brought into the system, which was in an ambulance after a suicide attempt. I felt like I could help others who had been through the same thing. I felt scared too, because if she said “No,” that meant I was being sent into the world to make my own path.

She said no. It wasn’t what I wanted to hear, but it was what I needed to hear. Apparently many people recovering from a mental illness feel that treatment is also their calling in life, but they’re simply not ready yet.

3 Ways to Reclaim Your Work Life

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

3 Ways to Reclaim Your Work LifeIf you’re stressed, depressed and dreading Mondays, you’re probably working in a toxic interpersonal environment that has started to take its toll on your physical and mental health.

In my recent research on workplace bullying, I have discovered a baffling phenomenon: Targets often don’t realize they are being bullied for months or years. I believe that the reason it takes so long is because no one likes to admit they’re a victim.

The mere thought of being a victim is so stigmatizing that most people would rather give the bully the benefit of the doubt and continue tolerating the abuse. Yet it’s so damaging to a person’s well-being that I want to declare my central message: Catch it early and think strategically. It exponentially increases the possibility of obtaining a better outcome.

Strategies for Self-Compassion

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Strategies for Self-CompassionRalph Waldo Emerson, one of the New England Transcendentalists, was very influential for me as a teenager. I have found many of his essays and aphorisms to be very useful, both personally and professionally. The one pearl I have gotten the most mileage out of is from his essay Love, written in 1841: “Each man sees over his own experience a stain of error, whilst that of other men looks fair and ideal.”

When we compare ourselves to others, we may feel better or worse. It may be more useful to minimize comparison and instead consider our connections to one another and all life forms on the planet if we are working toward building a healthier relationship to the self.

How to Be More Assertive at Work

Sunday, July 20th, 2014

7 Tips for Setting Boundaries At WorkWe’ve all had days or weeks or months at our jobs where we feel like we’re being taken advantage of. You know the feeling: if it doesn’t come in getting passed over for an opportunity, it comes at the hands of either your boss or coworkers not giving you the respect you think you deserve.

You’ve also come up with reasons why these things happen. Sometimes it’s because Jerry from the art department is a brownnoser. Sometimes it’s because of your bad luck and the notion that you just can’t catch a break. Overall, though, you just wish you could be more assertive.

4 Steps to a Deeper Gratitude

Saturday, July 19th, 2014

relationship-happiness-gratitudeWe know that feeling and expressing gratitude is a good thing. But what needs to happen inside us so that we’re more mindful and present for the experience of gratitude? How can the experience of gratitude open us to life more deeply and connect us more intimately with each other?

Having Trouble Accepting Praise? Learn to Overcome Fear and Low Self-Esteem

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Paying it Forward

“How old are you?” she asked.

I told her.

“What? No way,” she chirped. “You look ten years younger than that.”

Okay, I thought. What’s she trying to pull?

Having low self-esteem makes it hard to accept compliments. Nothing nice that anyone might say about us seems true — so we suspect whomever says such things of ignorance (“She doesn’t know the real me”); mockery (“It’s a joke, right?”); manipulation (“He’s just saying that so I’ll do what he wants”); or of perpetrating experiments in social engineering meant to trick us into smiling, strutting — “Yes, now that you mention it, I am quite fabulous” — and acting like the single demographic we loathe more than we loathe ourselves: silly, self-adoring narcissists.

Recent Comments
  • Laurie: It seems that the world in general thought Robin was almost saintly, somehow above all the mundane challenges...
  • susan: I am profoundly overwhwelmed by reading the very truth of suicide. I could not have said it better.I am living...
  • Hopeful: I try my best to avoid telling people that I’m depressed because I end up feeling guilty or get the...
  • Dionne Mussetto, LCSW: I am so very saddened by the death of Robin Williams. I have suffered from depression and...
  • Anny: I could not agree more. I have severe depression from last 7 years and understand that “what do u...
Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter


Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code