Do you know someone who has low self esteem? Do you want to help them feel better about themselves, even though you aren’t quite sure how?
Here are a few key things you can do to help someone you know who is going through life with low self esteem. They may not say out loud that they need you, but they need you nonetheless.
Offer to go places/experience new things with them
A person who has to live with low self esteem may want to try to experience new things, like taking a dance class even though they do not think they will be any good at dancing. However, they might think they are not any good to the point where they will not even try at all. You can help someone with low self esteem by, for example, offering to sign up for a dance class that the two of you can attend together. This way, they have someone to get them to a dance studio and encourage them even when they do not want to.
Get out there and do fun things together. Even if they are not sure they want to do anything unfamiliar, because they are afraid of being judged or do not think they deserve to enjoy themselves, they need someone who will be there for them anyway.
Talk to them – about anything
Low self esteem can sometimes lead to isolation, which can lead to depression. Not everyone who has low self esteem is depressed – low self esteem just means you do not value your worth as much as you should. It can really help, however, if you make it a point to simply talk with a person with low self esteem as often as you can. It does not matter what you talk about – you don’t have to talk about either of you. Just talk to them about whatever comes up. Make them feel as though their voice matters (because it does). Listen to them. Ask them questions. Make them feel heard.
Be involved in things they like
People with low self esteem often times need to feel included and part of something bigger, even if they do not always realize this as an underlying desire. So do what you can to make them feel like their interests are important. If they love to go see movies, go see a movie with them every once in awhile. Make them feel good by giving them the chance to talk about something that makes them feel whole and fulfilled.
Build them up
Everyone tears themselves down every now and then, but people with low self esteem just do it far more often. Every little thing can turn into them unnecessarily blaming themselves for something that is not actually their fault. They need someone there to repair the emotional damage – within reason.
Always work to build the other person up. Show them that they are good and worthy, even if they do not always think so. This sometimes takes more than words, though words can be powerful. Actions are even more memorable. Just the act of being with someone when they are feeling down can make so much more of a difference than you think. When someone with low self esteem tries to tear themselves down, build them up instead. The more they see and hear that they are good and worthy, the easier it will eventually be for them to believe that it is true.
Hold them accountable for positive thinking
Without even realizing it, people with low self esteem will make all kinds of negative comments about themselves, such as, “Wow, I really am the worst at dancing.” Well, maybe they are not very good at dancing, but they do not need to always focus on the negative things about themselves. You can play a major role in helping them change the way they think and speak out loud about themselves.
You can try to help coach them, in a way, into more positive thinking. Every time they say something negative about themselves, you can ask them to name three positive things to counter the negative thing they have mentioned. They might get a little annoyed – but deep down, they probably know you are just trying to help.
Eventually, they will come to appreciate your efforts to help them think more highly of themselves. People do not always like to be told what they need to hear, but there is a good reason why they need to hear it – and why it is okay if you are there to remind them that they mean more than what their thoughts often try to trick them into believing about themselves.
Set a positive example for them to follow
There are a lot of reasons why some people have to deal with low self esteem. It depends partly on who that person spends a lot of time with. Whether you know it or not, you are in a position where you can have a major positive – or negative – influence on the people around you. Someone with low self esteem will only be encouraged to think negatively of themselves if they constantly hear you talking about how pathetic and worthless you think you are. Keep those thoughts to yourself, even if you think them.
Set a good example in the way you talk about yourself and go through your life. They might struggle with their low self esteem because they have not had a positive, confident role model in their life. They may have grown up with parents or siblings who were always bringing themselves down and being negative; they might think this is normal. Show them otherwise.
Everyone needs a positive role model in their lives, and that is what you can be for someone you know with low self esteem. Be mindful of the way you talk about yourself and about other people. What they might need most right now is to be reminded that it is okay to say good things about yourself, be proud of yourself and pat yourself on the back when you have done something well.