Building Self Esteem in yourself and in others

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    Re: Building Self Esteem in yourself and in others

    In Response to Building Self Esteem in yourself and in others:
    [QUOTE]So many relationship issues can be traced back to self esteem issues. If you don't have it, how do you get it? The ever wise CB156 offerred this advice on another thread.  Please add your own thoughts about how YOU build self esteem or if you think you need to build it, what action will you take? CHC--Hmm, interesting questions.  Clearly there is no one formula for doing it. How do you build self-esteem in others? I take that question to mean in general, as opposed to "I know someone with low self-esteem, and I want to make a project out of them.  How do I go about fixing them?" For me, I think it is just about treating other people with respect.  Listen to what they have to say, be decent to them.  If you disagree, debate without name calling.  Be positive, point out things they can do well and things they achieve on their own. Lead by example.  I don't think it's your job, unless you are a professional, to spend your time telling someone "you're worthwhile, you're a good person."  Treat them as a good person.  It's up to them to realize what that means about themselves.  I took a fiction writing class once, and I received one piece of advice from the instructor that applies to a lot of things in life:  " Show me, don't tell me." How did I build my own self-esteem?  I took up a hobby and seriously threw myself into it. And that's where it began.  I ended up becoming an accepted part of a community.  I learned--a lot.  I started to see that others were glad to see me, and respected my abilities and knowledge.  When I saw things that I was able to accomplish, I could say "you did that, just you.  No one did it for you."  I began to see that I had good people around me, people that liked who I was, found me interesting and felt I actually had something to offer. When I thought about that, I found that it had always been true, I just had never allowed myself to see it or accept it. This opened my eyes to what it felt like to be loved and accepted.  And that I had been getting into relationships that did nothing but re-inforce my feelings of not being good enough--the old "we seek out what feels familiar, even if it's not good for us". I was able to start standing up at that point, and say that was no longer acceptable, I was good enough, I was not going to settle for being second-best. Yes, I stumbled into a few more relationships with people who were emotionally unavailable.  But I was able to recognize it and get out of it. None of this happened overnight.  It was a long, hard, sometimes extremely lonely journey.  I've learned to question when I feel like I'm not good enough, or even laugh at it, instead of just agreeing with it.  But I admit that sometimes I still hear it inside me. "When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago"  --Nietzche
    Posted by Corporate-Hippie-Chick[/QUOTE]

    I pick on little kids!
     
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    Re: Building Self Esteem in yourself and in others

    CB156 -- I think  your answer is great!

    I come back to the golden rule -- treat others as you would wish to be treated.  At least that's my aim.  So, I try to make a point of listening, and figuring out *why* my friend/partner/colleague/whatever feels that way (or wants things done that way).  Listening is so key -- I'm not so sure that we live in a culture that appreciates the art of listening too much.  But that's another topic.  If I can listen, and understand where someone's coming from with sincerity, then they know it; they can feel it.  And you can feel their trust and appreciation in return.  If it then makes sense to me, then things change.  If I still don't go along with it, then either a)  compromise or b) just let them know the change isn't going to happen (and explain why).  It's a matter of the other person feeling respected.  People intuitively know when it's sincere.  I think that sincerity is a great esteem-builder.

    Now, with kids, I think it's different and the parent has to be more active.  My parents were alcoholic, so emotional support wasn't really there for me.  That is pretty damaging.  A child who truly feels they are on their own to make sense out of the complex situations around them is not going to have a strong self-esteem.  That's going to follow into school, and other social environments.  Other kids pick up on it, and that kid runs a higher risk of bullying (in my opinion).  Vicous cycle.  So self esteem from a child, I think, comes primarily from the home.  If the home is a bad environment and the child has the good fortune to develop a surrogate parent/family situation, that can be a lifesaver.  But here is where friends become so important.  Just having someone to play with is very helpful.  In the event of bullying, a teacher who will take time to encourage other kids in the class to come to the aid of someone who is being bullied (there are several ways to do that) can also help.

    I think self-esteem is a lifelong project, in part because we live in such a competitive, even violent, society.  Kudos to the people who have figured out how to compete without demeaning others; there are many, many who get ahead at the *expense* of others -- who didn't learn to "play fair", and the self-esteem of others is the price. 

    This little perverse part of me chuckles at the adage:  "be careful of how you treat people on the way up, 'cause you're gonna meet them on the way down"!
     
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    Re: Building Self Esteem in yourself and in others

    CHC - If I learned anything over the past, it is the importance of eliminating toxic people from your life.

    BINGO!

    Sad, but true! I was with a woman one time that wanted to bring me over to her "friends" house. No problem, let's go.  From the time we got there until about 3 hours later - her "friend" - sh*t all over her.  She told my girlfriend at the time - she was fat, she was stupid, she was a bad parent on and on.  I tried, to no avail, to get out of there - the GF was enjoying the wine and I guess it numbed her of all the criticism.  After her sobering up I told her in no uncertain terms that I would never go back there and listen to that crap. It hurt me and I wasn't the one being insulted!

    Negative people are a cancer, they are best avoided at all costs!
     
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    Re: Building Self Esteem in yourself and in others

    In Response to Re: Building Self Esteem in yourself and in others:
    [QUOTE]RT - That is the saddest story I've ever heard.  Why couldn't this woman see that this kind of behavior is unacceptable?
    Posted by Corporate-Hippie-Chick[/QUOTE]

    Here's another one! My own sister - she hated a woman I was dating - problem was they NEVER met!  My sister has also told me "I'm a f%^$#@! idiot!" when offering a different view point than hers! Huh? what?

    I haven't spoken to my sister in years. Sad, yes - but I get more respect here on line from total strangers than I did from my own flesh and blood!  I refuse to be a  doormat - for anyone!

    Table for one!
     
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    Re: Building Self Esteem in yourself and in others

    CHC--Completely agree about eliminating toxic people from your life.  What I've noticed in myself, probably because of my experience with past relationships, is that I can often spot these people now when I meet them.  I no longer allow people like this into my life--why get started?

    As for children, they are a clean slate to be written upon.  But understand that we are all children when it comes to any new endeavor we undertake--we are clean slates. We might be better able as adults to teach ourselves new things, or better cope with how someone else tries to teach us, but the bottom line is always the same:
    How that slate is written on is as important as what is written on it.
     
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    Re: Building Self Esteem in yourself and in others

    I think self esteem is either instilled in us by our parents as we are in our formative years or it is destroyed.  So, by the time we're adults we either have it or we spend our lives compensating for not having it and call that having it.  Some people without it compensate constructively and are happy.  Others don't and are miserable.  Since not many parents, imo, are equipped to raise kids with healthy self esteem, mostly because their parents weren't either, we're left with a society of self esteemless people with methods of coping with it that vary widely with respect to how happy and relatively healthy we are.
     
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    Re: Building Self Esteem in yourself and in others

    In Response to Re: Building Self Esteem in yourself and in others:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Building Self Esteem in yourself and in others : I pick on little kids!
    Posted by RogerTaylor[/QUOTE]

    Not. Even. Funny.
     
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    Re: Building Self Esteem in yourself and in others

    I have to admit that I have often wondered, and never understood, where this attitude came from:
    It isn't enough that I succeed, everyone else must fail, and preferably in a way that I can rub their face in it.
    Just because everyone else loses, doesn't mean you win.  Not everything is a zero-sum game.
    I've often thought that people like this have some deeply buried self-esteem issues, and it makes them feel better about themselves when others fail, or they can "beat" someone.
    I just never felt that making other people look bad makes me look good.
    Being the best you can be is not the same as being better than everyone else.
     
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    Re: Building Self Esteem in yourself and in others

    cb, the pervasiveness of the attitude you're describing harkens back to my first post here.  That zero-sum approach is a popular coping mechanism, albeit a poor one, to handle having had one's self esteem demolished in childhood.

    People with demolished self esteem either develop constructive ways to handle it to live peaceful and happy lives in spite of a lack of honest self esteem, which I believe only has a chance of being developed in childhood, or they develop destructive ways.  Destructive ways are vastly easier to acquire and are, therefore, more common.

    I don't think one can "build" self esteem.  Either you have it or you don't by the time you're 10.  At that point, if you don't have it you have to learn to cope effectively with that fact to be happy.  That's why there aren't many truly happy people out there.

    I believe that people who tell me they've successfully built self esteem in their lives actually have built very effective coping skills to handle the lack thereof.  And, really, I guess it can be argued that there's very little difference...at least in outcome.
     
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    Re: Building Self Esteem in yourself and in others

    So much good work has been done on childhood bullyhood. I want to see studies on how those bullied during their youth become depressed adults. It happens, and it happens a lot; being bullied at age 10 can make for a depressed grown-up, even if the bullying ceased in childhood.

    I saw my Dad and brother being pushed and pushed by my Mum for decades. She rarely turned on me. Yet today I tend to see the world through Dad's eyes, not her bullying eyes. My brother became a meth addict. I'm gentle, like Dad was. He didn't leave because in those days men didn't get custody, and he was scared that his children would be scarred if left with Mum.

    I loved them all to pieces, but she could be a verbal terror. It is any wonder I prefer the gentle cervidae, and run from those with hunter personalities?
     
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  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from RogerTaylor. Show RogerTaylor's posts

    Re: Building Self Esteem in yourself and in others

    In Response to Re: Building Self Esteem in yourself and in others:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Building Self Esteem in yourself and in others : Not. Even. Funny.
    Posted by reindeergirl[/QUOTE]

    Sorry......Embarassed
     
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    Re: Building Self Esteem in yourself and in others

    I didn't claim anyone was doomed if by the time they have grown out of their formative emotional years.  Instead, I believe people can be happy and well adjusted even if they got through that time without self esteem if they replace it with positive coping skills to handle not having it (or having less than one could have).  You can hardly tell the difference because both the person with real self esteem and the one who handles not having enough very effectively both live honestly happy lives, but it's there. 
     
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    Re: Building Self Esteem in yourself and in others

    No, I don't think real self esteem can be damaged later in life.  If one has the real deal, it's like a diamond - it can get dragged through the mud but it's still a diamond, and there's nothing tougher.  

    It's the positive coping skilled person who lives a happy life (because of those skills) who can "lose self esteem" later in life because it's not real self esteem they are losing - it's a shortcoming of their coping mechanisms, ususally under extreme duress, that masks itself as a self esteem loss.  And, in that case, yes, they can rebuild and add to those coping skills after they get out of the stressful situation and would call that "rebuilding self esteem."
     
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    Re: Building Self Esteem in yourself and in others

    Hi Kar
    I agree with your notion that putting others down represents a poor coping mechanism.
    However, I do have a difference of opinion as to whether one can build self-esteem later in life.  I would say it is a philosophical difference, and may be moot since, as you pointed out, the outcome would appear the same.
    Would you agree that a person's self-esteem can be destroyed or damaged later in life?  If that can happen, why can't it be built up?
    In my own experience, I would say that I did develop a coping mechanism (throwing myself into a hobby), but the result of that was to build my self-esteem.  I interpret the idea that I use a coping mechanism to compensate for a lack of self-esteem to mean I use a crutch. This implies that I will always need a crutch.  I do not agree.
    In my case, the hobby that I used is one I don't really have any longer.  The "community" I was a part of, the friends I had, have gone with time and tide.  And yet, I still feel worthy as a person, I still believe in the man I see in the mirror.  I no longer fear meeting new people.  I can walk into a room of strangers confident that I can meet people and engage in conversations.
    The coping mechanism provided a positive energy, but  you have to be able to internalize that external energy.  Like a spark.  You catch fire or you don't.  And that takes effort.  Some people may just get stuck on the positive reinforcement from their chosen coping mechanism and never really learn from it--much the same way that people with negative coping mechanisms must always have that reinforcement.
    So, while I can agree that a positive coping mechanism is necessary to help with low self-esteem, I disagree that is the end of it.  I personally feel it is a stepping stone to developing a sense of self-esteem. If one is willing to make the effort.
     
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    I apologize for the multiple posts appearing and disappearing, but I was trying to figure out why my entire post was being rejected by the filter--and the filter would not tell me what word was causing the problem.
    Seriously, I can't use the 2 syllable word that starts with "feed" and ends with "back"???
     
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    Re: Building Self Esteem in yourself and in others

    cb, I think you've always had self esteem and things have dragged you through the mud.  The diamond got dirty and dull looking and didn't serve you as well as it could have as a result, but it was still a diamond.  The steps you took to "build" your self esteem were actually just ways to polish the self esteem you always had deep down and utilize it to be happy.  It seems to me that you gained skills in life that allowed your self esteem to fully manifest in positive ways instead of what most people need to do, develop skills to cope with not having self esteem to begin with.
     
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    Re: Building Self Esteem in yourself and in others

    In Response to Re: Building Self Esteem in yourself and in others:
    [QUOTE]cb, I think you've always had self esteem and things have dragged you through the mud.  The diamond got dirty and dull looking and didn't serve you as well as it could have as a result, but it was still a diamond.  The steps you took to "build" your self esteem were actually just ways to polish the self esteem you always had deep down and utilize it to be happy.  It seems to me that you gained skills in life that allowed your self esteem to fully manifest in positive ways instead of what most people need to do, develop skills to cope with not having self esteem to begin with.
    Posted by kargiver[/QUOTE]

    Thank you, I think that is one of the nicest things that anyone has ever said to me.

    It's an interesting perspective that perhaps it's always been there for me.  I never thought about it that way.
    I cannot say at this moment that I agree, but it perhaps bears some thinking about.

     
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