These are a selection of questions which readers have sent me and the answers that I gave. I hope that you find them helpful. New questions will be added at the top of the page from time to time, so bookmark this page and return again soon to check any new questions about self esteem.
“I am reading your book. Just finished chapter 1. I have a question. What do I need to work on if I feel confident about myself, but I feel others don’t. I value myself, but feel others don’t. What is this about?” – Zsa Zsa
I am glad you are enjoying my e-book (also available as paperback book), how are you enjoying it and is it helping you? Love to know what you think so far.
Your question ” What do I need to work on if I feel confident about myself, but I feel others don’t. I value myself, but feel others don’t.”
This seems to show that you worry a lot about what other people think about you and that is affecting your self esteem. Is that so? Why do you worry so much about what others think? By doing this you give other people power over how you feel. Read more here: Don’t worry about what other people think
Next time you are in a social situation and feeling confident try to notice how others react less. If you become too sensitive to how others react and respond to you then your self consciousness can ruin how you feel and act. The best thing is to be you and be confident and try to forget what others may or may not be thinking of you. Just look your best, smile and be confident and I’m sure people will respond positively. This one reason why being optimistic seems to help you, if you are a positive person then others respond to you better and you attract success and happiness into your life rather than reject it.
You say you feel others don’t value you. Two questions for you here:
1. what is more important – how others value you or how YOU value you?
2. how do you know what they think? How can you be sure? Many times we think we understand how others look at us and how they think but really it is a mystery. Can you read their minds? Perhaps you might be putting your own negative thoughts into their heads and imagining that they do not value you.
If you know for a fact that someone does not value you because of what they have said then ask yourself if what they say is really true or if they could be covering up their own problems by saying hurtful things about you. Remember that if someone is talking badly to you or seeming to show little respect for you then you have a choice. Either believe what they say and suffer low confidence and esteem or refuse to accept what they say.
If you refuse to accept the attitude someone has towards you, if as you say you value yourself but he or she does not you can simply decide to ignore them, avoid them or tell them they are wrong about you or even prove it by your actions. All that matters is how you value yourself. If you allow others thoughts to become more important than yours that is your choice.
Many people have the same problem as you do. We are all very good at blaming others for the situation we find ourself in. What you must do is take responsibility for your thoughts and feelings. You must understand that only you give power to other people’s thoughts. Learn to value what you think, why is what others think more important? Are you trying to please others? That is a mistake.
I hope this has been helpful. To say that you feel confident and value yourself is one thing but if you continue to worry what others say or think about you then this is showing that you still lack confidence and have self doubts, otherwise you would ignore others negative opinions because you would be sure they were wrong.
One final point. You may say that you are confident and you know that what others are thinking is wrong but you worry about them saying this because no matter what you do you can’t get the respect you deserve. Are you concerned with getting respect from others who clearly have a problem with their own self confidence? If they do not value you, they are not worth your time. Just make sure that you value others as you wish to be valued by them. Or are you worried that what these people think will affect how other people see you?
Be responsible for your thoughts and feelings and that should be enough. You cannot control the thoughts of others. You cannot make them like you or respect you even if you deserve it. Change your attitude and look to be honest with yourself and with the world and if they don’t like who you are then that’s their problem!
“Hi Karl! I have question about building self-esteem and self acceptance. It’s sometimes hard to accept yourself and how you are and still at same time aspire to get better. My goal is to get better self-esteem and confidence – it is my dream and i think about it often. After these thoughts it is hard to accept that i am shy..”
It can be hard at times to accept yourself and when you feel shy it doesn’t help but when you focus solely on being shy and you constantly think about having low self esteem and worrying about what you look like and seem like to others, it not only shows itself more but it builds up in you and becomes worse and worse. If you keep thinking about one state of mind it will become how you live, you’re in a way brain washing yourself. However, ignoring the issue is never a good thing because It comes back and you never really deal with it. It then becomes easy to fall back into old habits. What is it specifically that is causing you to have low self esteem and feel self-conscious? Once you isolate that you can begin to work on overcoming shyness.
Accepting yourself as you are is the first step. Accept the reality and be honest with yourself. If you can change something then you should go ahead and do it. First accept your problem of shyness then try to do something about it but don’t let it rule your every moment – your aim should be to ignore if possible the actual shyness and act as if you were confident and slowly you will be.
Here’s a great way to overcome shyness
“I get tensed up with every small thing when people are watching me. If I’m myself I can perform well. This thing is eating me up and I will be glad if you help me deal with it.“
From what I can tell from your message, you feel a large level of pressure when someone is watching and waiting for you to do something however when it is something you are doing for yourself, you are more then competent at doing it. Stress and pressure are some of the worst things you will have to deal with in your lifetime. If you are feeling pressured performing a task or helping someone with something, just let them know. Tell them that your feeling a bit stressed and to give you some space and time. If they don’t understand that then they don’t deserve your help. I wish you the best in fighting your stress; it’s a battle we are all fighting.
Q: “Are friends a really important part in someone’s life? How can I stay in a long lasting relationship?“
Friends are VITALLY important. I hope you have at least one good friend because the world is a very lonely and difficult place without friendship.
How can you say you have never believed in friends? Friends trust each other and are there when you need support. It is true a good friend is hard to find but I am lucky enough to have several. One real friend can change your life.
Here is a poem I received this week:
or divine guidance
in the course of our life
we cross paths with
Some move towards us,
others move away.
Some we choose to remember,
others to forget.
But with a special few
we seem to have no choice,
for each has made an impact
on the other, and their
memory will live on forever.
These people we call friends.
You, to me, are such a one.
– Dick Innes
How can you stay in a lasting friendship?
The most important thing is to GIVE of yourself. Be honest always and be yourself. A friend should like you for who you are not what you pretend to be. Be as trustworthy as you want your friend to be, talk about your feelings and thoughts and share them with your friend but before everything else, listen to your friend and they will love you for it. Respect them by showing the friend how much you value them. Be helpful and kind and sympathetic.
A true friendship is a two-way effort but first give and if you have real friend they will respond by giving back as you gave.
Hope this helps you,
Take a look at my new e-book “Self Esteem Secrets”
Relationships are a big part of what’s inside:
Q: “I have this inconsistent personality. There are variations with the way I project myself in the institutions/organizations I am in. (Perhaps, my roles also vary.) I have this tendency to adjust myself just to get “fit” in the group. At times, I am no longer certain of the personality I have. Worse, I don’t know anymore what I want. The weird thing is that, I know what to do and how to do it but, I find in hard to put it into practice.“
Many people do what you do to fit in. That is a very useful skill and means you will get friends but behind this where is your true personality? It is probably lost in the group and you risk maybe not being the real you. If you can sit down and list all the good things about yourself. What kind of person are you? Spend some time working out what you want too. Everyone finds it hard to act but all you really need is to make a decision for yourself, not tomorrow but today – are you going to change your life and take steps to find yourself?
I have this as my central message in my e-book. The whole point of it is to understand and overcome low self esteem and move forward to a life of happiness. The steps are easy if you decide to take them
Q: “How can I feel more confident when talking to colleagues?”
The trouble with colleagues is that you may feel they are more experienced or critical of you and so any lack of confidence is more obvious when you talk to them. First piece of advice is not to avoid attending. To try to be you and be friendly. Talk about other things like general subjects to make conversation.
To build confidence with colleagues listen more and agree with them. They want to be listened to and not told what you think. When you give an opinion just ask for their thoughts and if they agree. Have friendly discussions and always let them talk more than you do. They will respect you more and class you as an equal. Smile more and be natural. If you listen carefully you will see that no one has all the answers or knows better than you. Relax and stop feeling competitive. It is not a race or competition. Be yourself and they will like you more and respect you more and your confidence will improve… Good luck!
Q: “what is the cause of low self esteem?”
There are many causes of low self esteem such as:
Influence from parents and family
Physical appearance problems
I advise you to look at this page for more causes of low self esteem:
Q: “Since self-esteem is a huge problem in our youth, could it make sense to not limit/label individuals with negative terms? The terms I refer to are disabled, retarded, handicap, etc., i.e., disability environment; these terms create a negative educational self-fulfilling prophecy, which benefits who?”
I agree with you completely that these terms are negative and therefore can hurt the self esteem of those described by these terms. Other terms can be used within that environment. However, to describe these people to the outside world these terms arein common use and we will find it difficult to change them and neither should we try in my opinion as this seems like political correctness. If you can however use a commonly held alternative then this is a good idea.
Q: “my dad doesn’t want me to go out though i completed university. i always feels like a prisoner in my house. even if my mom sends me out of the house, my dad will insist that i shouldn’t go. what should i do?”
I sympathize and get a lot of similar emails about issues like this. I appreciate in your culture things are different from where I live and this must be a problem for someone like you. You are right to think that this is not correct and feeling like a prisoner is an understandable feeling. Does your mother agree with your view? Get your mother to talk to your father and also please try again to talk to him explaining how you feel and why you think you need to be treated differently. Other than that it is difficult to tell you what to do.
You understand that probably your father thinks he is being a good parent, he is trying to protect you. Explain to him what he is really doing and that he needs to let you grow and become independent. Tell him how much you love him and respect his point of view and come to a compromise. You should tell him that if he allows you more freedom then you will not abuse it. Please tell him that you will contact him and tell him where you are and that you are OK. Make it easier for him to say yes. Accept some of his rules but make sure you get him to accept you as a person who has a right to move as she wants.
Q: “I find it difficult to communicate with people who usualy glare at me. I feel my self esteem downgraded, what can I do to improve this?”
This is a common problem. You seem to have a problem with self consciousness in front of other people. If someone glares at you, you start wondering why and your mind imagines all kind of negative reasons and your reaction is to feel self conscious. At these moments you need to stay strong but if your self esteem is low, your confidence will be also and you will feel awkward and it will be difficult for you to communicate with these people. I have a helpful page about self consciousness which I think you should read. There are many suggestions what to do to become less self conscious so here’s the link:
Q: “My friend, who is a woman, is greatly in need of knowledge about inner health and well being. I have witnessed the perilous plight she is going down and she always has an excuse, which brings her self esteem down really bad. Her negative energy is engulfing her making her act as if the whole world is at fault and she can’t do anything about it. She doesn’t let anyone else say anything, she just blabs and blabs about everything wrong. I am willing to help in any way, but the one dilemma I have is money, we both can’t afford therapy and she is jaded about people who prescribe medicine. She is pretty bright just needs the kindness of a stranger. So what can I do to move this learning experience to fruition?”
I applaud you trying to help your friend and thank you for your email. You say that the obstacle is money. You can get around that problem. Answer this question for me:
Is your friend ready to admit that she has a problem and is she willing to try to change how she thinks and acts? If the answer is yes to the above your job is easier with some guidance and help. I have a few suggestions for you. First, direct her to my website more-selfesteem.com and also depression-helper.com She will benefit from the info I have there. Secondly, I think that medicine is not the answer here. I am dubious of medicines as they are only a bandaid, the best is to get at the problem. Your friend has an attitude problem and mistaken way of thinking and acting. I know you don’t want to spend money but I have a helpful page about self hypnosis and this is a great way to help someone change their way of thinking and behaving in a natural way. The downloads are cheap and if you want to see if they could help your friend go to this page: http://www.more-selfesteem.com/self_hypnosis.htm. I also have written a lot of articles including some about changing a negative attitude. Check out my articles here: http://www.more-selfesteem.com/articles.htm. My forum could be helpful as there are discussions and you can ask for advice.
Q: “my question is what areas of self esteem are effected after wars ?”
This is a very good question. Wars cause a lot of psychological problems because victims of war see a lot of violence and are subject to cruelty. Anybody who feels they have been a victim may ask themselves why it happened to them and some people feel they are being punished maybe by God or for some reason. This is obviously not the case but many people do believe this. Also human life is devalued in a war so self esteem can suffer because we as human beings need to feel we have value. Persecuted people may feel less than human or may have been outcast and feel they are worthless.
Q: “How is it possible that in some groups of friends I am actually the center of attention (or at least a very big part of the party), and in others I feel self conscious, I feel like I don’t fit in, and am aware of every word that comes out of my mouth??? Sometimes I feel like what I say in a crowd is interesting to everybody, and at other times I feel like I am being scrutinized and every word I say is picked apart…”
There are two answers to your question that spring to mind Doris. One is that you sometimes get self conscious. This may be because one day you feel confident and on form and another for some reason you don’t. Confidence and esteem is not static and does vary from moment to moment and day to day. Also secondly there are other personalities involved. It may be that one or more people in a particular group intimidate you or put you off. Maybe someone in that group makes you nervous or brings out your lack of confidence and you begin to doubt yourself.
I believe that my e-book can help guide you in these issues and if you have the time to go to the link below and check it out you’ll find it available at a very low price for the next few days. I suggest you think about getting it, it comes with a 100% guarantee so you can try it without risk. I will also answer any questions you have as you read…
Q: “I was belittled by my father in terms of academic and it began when he refused to go up on stage to put my medal as 3rd honor student during elementary days. I got confused after that and it added up when i failed the entrance exam in a school where he wanted me. After that, it seemed that i lost my self-esteem, coz I could no longer confidently affirm myself that I can do everything. I could not believe others who appreciate me, coz in my mind, I’m no good in front of my father’s standards. Now that I’m working, i took graduate studies up to the highest level, but still sometimes i have a hard time to believe in myself. I just make a mind switch whenever i feel that and affirm myself of my worth.”
Why did you father act this way? Do you know why he refused? Did you ever ask him? If possible you should confront him about this and ask him for an explanation. You failed the exam for the school where HE wanted you. Was he deciding for you? Were you resentful of this? His actions could be unfair because you didn’t achieve what HE wanted. You shouldn’t feel bad about this.
Did you really want to succeed? Even if you did a father has no right to force his wishes on you and demand so much. Could be he wanted you to be better than he was. This was his problem. You have a right to be you and even if you do not succeed in his eyes he should not judge rather support you. If he is still around please try to talk to him and tell him how he has made you feel. Perhaps you misunderstood.
Now it is time to start building yourself up. If you depend on another person to feel good about yourself you are in danger of feeling like a victim. There is a lot for you to gain by reading my e-book Self esteem Secets so do take a look. If you prefer, get Self Esteem Secrets as a printed book..
Q: “my question is, “if people always object our ways of doing things and direct us to do things as they say and expect too much from us with less credit, does it mean they are of high and we are of low self-esteem?”
No this is not true. Just because someone is telling you to do something doesn’t mean they have higher self esteem, maybe they are just bossy and always think they are right. The fact that they take credit and ask too much may show that they cannot do what they are asking you or don’t want to do it.
It depends on the situation whether it is work based or if you are talking about daily life. If you have a friend like this then if you allow that friend to boss you around and you do everything he asks and never get any credit then yes you probably will suffer low self esteem and he may feel superior to you. It totally depends on how you react. If you are being told what to do like this you can maintain your self esteem by politely saying no or stating limits. You should also expect credit where it is due.
Q: “Self-Esteem”… “Do Religious Beliefs affect it” ?
Thanx Karl, Barry
I do believe that religious beliefs may have an effect on your self esteem either positive or negative. In some religions we are sinful by nature and sex for example is something shameful in strict Christian religion this would certainly have an effect on a person’s self esteem. Other religions are much more liberal and foster freedom of thought and harmony of the mind and body and connect us closely to nature. Our upbringings in terms of religious belief of the family unit will also have a profound effect.
Q: “I’ve struggled with self esteem issues all my life. I know it had a lot ot do with the way I was raised and that there is nothing I can do about that but have been listening to tapes and reading materials like yours for years but it doesn’t seem to change much. What does it take to really make some substantial change in this area?”
I understand Richard and know what you mean. My breakthrough came when I realized that not only did I need to read and learn about my problems I needed to put what the books said into action. Everyday you need consistent effort to improve, you need a plan and stick to it. This is very difficult for many people to achieve. My tip is to take one piece of advice or something from a book or website that you think could help you and focus on that everyday for a few weeks and make a change in your life like that.
You see in the end the only reason why something will help you or have no effect is because you allow it to happen or you stop it from happening. How? You don’t believe something will work, then it won’t. You don’t accept the problem or you defeat yourself by expecting to fail. Before you can start any road to recovery you need the magic ingredient and there is one you know:
Q: “I’ve read many articles regarding self esteem, my conclusion is -IT IS ALWAYS VERY EASY TO SAY THIS OR THAT FOR ANYONE, IF YOU ARE NOT THE PERSON, AND HOW CAN YOU HELP PEOPLE WITH GENERAL INFORMATION, IF WE ARE UNIQUE , IF SOME THING IS GOOD , OR WORKS WITH SOMEONE ELSE, IS NOT SURE IT WILL WORK FOR ME. LOW SELF ESTEEM FOR ME IS LACK IN CONFIDENCE, AND THE “MAGIC FORMULAS ” ARE NOT WORKING. Sorry, if I am too rude, but in fact I am tired and hopeless.
I agree with you, it is very easy to say these things to people you can do this and that…What I try to do is give out information that helps people to ask themselves questions and learn more about their problem. You are right we are all different and that’s why we must all find our own answers within and help ourselves. What I am doing is giving the tools to people to use to help themselves. I cannot do it for someone else.
I have listed some of my favorite self help authors and articles that I think can really help you.
Good questions but be clear everyone needs help and advice so that they can start to heal themselves. The fact that you are tired and hopeless will limit how much you try to improve. Open yourself up to hope because with hope you can do anything without it you are lost. I try to give hope and I know what hopelessness is because I’ve experienced it and even wanted to end my life but now I help others – it is not easy to help yourself or change anything but first you need hope the rest will follow. Faith is everything..
Q: “I need to know one thing about self esteem that in what age period it develops in children?”
Actually self esteem begins to develop from the moment a baby can start to understand what a parent is saying to him or her and the expression on the faces of parents in response to the behaviour of the baby. This begins even before the baby can talk and the value of praise or encouragement from the parent is crucial in forming self esteem in the young child as it grows.
visit my blog for more inspiring articles and tips about improving your self esteem and your life.
Q: “I think I have many problems in my personality, which are needed to be corrected. I just started using your course on self confidence. I have problem talking to people, especially girls, I feel like a complete loser, whereas my classmates have no problems talking to people & they really enjoy every moment of their lives. I am in a constant fear that I will make a fool out of myself…”
I experienced many of the problems you talk about and you are not alone. You are correct about the importance of examples like your parents but you cannot blame them for being who they are. You need to learn the social skills you need by experience and this will mean being brave.
Q: “If you say low selfesteem is from attitude..the world is in trouble…everyone has an attitude that shows at one time or another…my low selfesteem is making my attitude worse…my self esteem comes from childhood, and people in general who think they`re better then you”
There are many reasons for low self esteem and I accept what you say that it causes a poor attitude. It works two ways and both attitude and low self esteem feed off each other. We all have attitude problems at times correct and all of us have times of low self esteem. Your childhood has hurt you but it is time for you to do something for yourself and begin helping yourself. My e-book “Self Esteem Secrets” offers a lot of help and advice about attitude and would really help you to improve it and your level of self esteem. (Printed book version of Self Esteem Secrets available here)
Q: “My question is how to be a decisive decision maker? What is exactly mean by leadership? How can we improve our leadership skill? what should we do?”
I think leadership means to show others below you a good example and then they will follow you and respect you. A leader without respect is no leader. How to improve your leadership skill? Take management course but more important practice leading others and taking part in group activities. An effective leader can motivate others and cares about those under him/her.
All answers written by Karl Perera author of “Self Esteem Secrets” Book and E-book version