2023 Author: Jessica James | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-08-25 04:20
Is it good to be a perfectionist, what tricks will help to raise self-esteem and how to deal with those who are trying to lower it? We asked these and other sore questions about self-esteem to three leading psychologists - Olga Senchuk, Maria Brazgovskaya and Irina Belousova.
Olga Senchuk (@olgafreshhh)
Are self-esteem and self-love the same thing?
Self-esteem and self-love are very close concepts, but they are still different things. The answer lies in the words themselves: self-esteem is how you evaluate yourself, in other words, the feeling of your worth. And it is either there or it is not. As for self-love, it's about actions and how you show your attitude towards yourself.
It is important to understand that “to love” is a verb, and self-love directly depends on whether you value yourself or not. If you have a sense of your worth inside, then you will treat yourself exclusively with love. You will not allow yourself to suffer, to endure what hurts, because a valuable person is not treated like that. And if there is no sense of value, then we try to achieve it by performing actions that, in our opinion, will make it possible to feel this value. And most often it is servility, the desire to be recognized and attempts to please everyone - and to the detriment of oneself.
Unfortunately, all these actions have nothing to do with self-love - they are all directed outward. A person thinks that by earning acceptance and recognition by others, he will be able to relate well to himself. But this plan is always doomed to failure, because self-esteem and self-love depend solely on ourselves.
Is it possible to raise self-esteem once and for all?
I would put it another way - self-esteem can be stabilized. The very concept of high and low self-esteem is not entirely correct - it is just that a person feels differently in different situations. For example, if a man likes a girl, her self-esteem is in the positive zone: "I liked it, I am beautiful." But if a friend tells the same girl that she looks bad, self-esteem can drop dramatically.
From this we draw an obvious conclusion - self-esteem is conditional.
It depends on external circumstances and people, which means that it is not necessary not to increase self-esteem, but to get rid of the influence on it from the outside. And this is quite real - but you need to be realistic and understand that we are all living people, and that there will still be fluctuations in self-esteem. But the amplitude can be minimized.
Why do we constantly want to compare ourselves to other people?
The desire to compare oneself to others is generally normal. Otherwise, how could we define ourselves and realize ourselves? But there is one but. If we talk about self-esteem, then most people "evaluate" themselves by comparing with someone else. That is, the starting point of its value is outside - and this is no longer true.
There will always be more successful, beautiful, young people, which means that our self-esteem will suffer because we are “worse” than someone else. The way out is simple: learn to value yourself regardless of the conditions around. I am, and that's good.
And comparing yourself with other people in terms of your value does not make sense. We are similar in appearance - arms, legs, head, but all are very different. Everyone has their own talents and zest - it is them that must be appreciated and nurtured. My mantra for this case: "we are all different, but we are equal!"
What are the “symptoms” of poor self-esteem?
There are many of them - it all depends on the type of self-esteem. For example, if a person has such an attitude - "I must be comfortable and good," then the symptoms will be as follows:
- desire to please everyone;
- inability to defend their boundaries;
- the tendency to "be patient" even if you don't like something;
- inability to express anger and irritation;
- fear of loneliness;
- continuation of toxic relationships in which the person is not appreciated and used.
If there is an attitude - “I should be perfect, special, better than everyone else”, then the main symptoms will be:
- comparing oneself with others according to the principle "better or worse";
- jealousy of other people's successes;
- cynicism and arrogance;
- feeling like I'm a nonentity if someone did better.
If there is an attitude - "I should be able to do everything myself," then the following qualities will appear:
- aggression and conflict, as a way to protect self-esteem;
- resentment and a tendency to blame others for their failures;
- devaluation of loved ones;
- ignoring the feelings of others;
- fear and inability to ask for help.
If you stay for a long time in uncomfortable conditions for you, be it a relationship, work, friendship - all this is a symptom that you do not value yourself. I just want to add: "Doctor, is it being treated?" Yes, it can be treated.
Is it worth making a list of your strengths and weaknesses to determine your self-esteem?
A list of your strengths and weaknesses should be compiled with a personal analysis, only in addition to this, it is worth completing all this with a list of possibilities. And also a list of what is not yet available and what is worth working with. All these lists are worth making in the event that you intend to change for the better and you need to understand what exactly went wrong.
And you can determine the state of your self-esteem without lists - everything is much easier.
Take a look around - are you satisfied with your life? Things are good? If so, everything is in order with your self-esteem, since this is the foundation on which we are building the building. If, looking around, you realize that something has gone wrong and the building of life has skewed, then it's time to repair the foundation, that is, self-esteem.
Does having a relationship affect self-esteem?
I would like to say yes, but this is not true. An illusion is created - "since I have a relationship, then I am a good woman." And, of course, many women believe that if they have a relationship, their self-esteem will grow and she will immediately love herself. Perhaps temporarily - yes. But the result will be short-term, until the first conflict.
And the saddest thing is that when entering into a relationship, hoping to increase self-esteem, you will always be accompanied by fear: losing a partner, being unloved, fear of betrayal, betrayal and loneliness. And this means that the relationship will not bring the desired result, but will only aggravate the situation with self-esteem.
Is it good or bad to be strict with oneself?
You just need to stop criticizing yourself. Consciously. Track your thoughts and, catching the tail of the very thought that contains criticism, change your mind, replace a new one, with self-approval. “I look bad” is changed to “I’m a beauty”. And even if you don’t believe it now, it will change over time. It's that simple.
Criticizing yourself is just a bad habit that must be eradicated with deliberate effort.
And introduce a new habit to counter it: self-approve and support. As for being strict, I don't think it has a positive effect on self-esteem. Severity is about punishment, and only bad boys and girls are punished. But self-discipline is a necessary and useful thing. This is not about severity, but about the ability to organize yourself, your thoughts, feelings and actions. And without self-discipline, results can hardly be achieved.
What are three common mistakes people with low self-esteem make?
First, endure and come to terms with what does not suit you and hurts. Secondly, do not believe in yourself and your strength. And thirdly, focus on the opinions of others.
What gives a girl high self-esteem?
Consistently positive self-esteem gives a girl everything from the opportunity to build a happy relationship to the ability to monetize her talent for cross-stitching.
Positive self-esteem is the basis, the foundation of life. If we value ourselves, we do not exchange for something that does not suit us. We just know that we are worthy of what we want and we go for it. The option "which is simpler" simply does not arise, even in thoughts.
And by the way, almost any client's request, be it self-realization and relationships with parents or with a man, one way or another, will lead to a question of self-worth.
High self-esteem and arrogance - what's the difference between the two?
Arrogance is the flip side of not having a sense of your own worth. It is an attempt to compensate for your fragile self-esteem through arrogance: “Look, I'm better than you! I'm special!"
But in fact, there is always self-doubt and fear inside. A person with consistently positive self-esteem does not need to put himself above others in order to prove something to someone. He already knows that everything is all right with him. And the most amazing thing is that he doesn't want to get better than he is. It is good for him to be himself.
Maria Brazgovskaya (@marybrazgovska)
Does low self-esteem come from childhood?
This is true, but people often confuse self-esteem with self-awareness. The sense of self is actually much more important. Self-esteem is a category where we are judged through the eyes of others - including our parents. But it also happens that a woman merges with her partner, he becomes a god on a pedestal, descended from Olympus. And then his assessment is more important.
But for me, from the point of view of therapy, it is not only the criterion of assessment that is important, of this ruler, which you apply to yourself and to everyone around, but also the category of self-awareness, because if it is in order, then you can do without this ruler. When you do not confuse “I feel bad” with “I am bad,” then life becomes much easier.
What are the main mistakes parents make when their children grow up with low self-esteem?
It is impossible to single out a specific list of mistakes, because people can grow up in the same family with very different indicators of their vitality. Why it happens? Probably because we are not born as white leaves. The exactingness of parents will definitely affect a person, when parents shift their ambitions to their children, when you have to fulfill your parental potential and constantly jump up and down, whispering so that your parents notice you.
It is wrong for children to stick together a couple of adults. There are many problems in the parent couple, and the children begin to "glue" mom and dad together so that they can be together. Then the child is not in his place, busy not with his child's life, but with adult responsibility, he, of course, cannot cope with it, and a huge tangle of various mental problems appears.
Should you accept your shortcomings or try to correct them?
Sometimes you need to notice your shortcomings first. And notice not as a problem, but as a kind of difficulty. Each complex has a tremendous amount of energy, and it is designed for growth. A person who does not know how or is anxious to speak in public can become a brilliant public speaker. Much better than the one with this predisposition from childhood.
To begin with, the shortcomings should be noticed as an attentive, affectionate observer, without evaluation and self-deprecation, and then try to tighten something, fix something.
Another thing is that you do not need to build yourself illusions about some kind of ideality. When we correct shortcomings with the anger of “they won't accept me, they won't love me, because I am imperfect,” then this work is doomed to failure. When we do it out of self-love and want our talents to blossom like seeds and the harvest is wonderful, then we do it with care.
What are three simple things you can do to help you appreciate yourself more?
Treat yourself the way a caring mom would treat you, even if you never had that caring mom or dad. Appreciate your life regardless of those around you. An adult is capable of self-support, even if his relatives have not supported him in some way. Take pleasure in your body, enjoy it as if it were the body of your loved one or a child. Be amazed each time how beautifully you are. If you leave the house and smile with all your heart, even your liver, then somehow life is read in a different way.
Can self-care boost your self-esteem, or has nothing to do with your appearance?
Self-care can boost self-esteem. We operate in two ways: we can work with our inner world and with our outer world. Both ways have their pros and cons. Of course, when we take care of ourselves and do it without anger, without bet that others will love me only so beautiful, and we do it out of love, then yes, this love begins to fit in us.
What is the difference between male and female self-esteem?
There are no such concepts as "male self-esteem" and "female self-esteem". But men are indeed more often than women oriented outwardly and toward achievement - this is due to the patriarchal nature of the country. They describe their life as an achievement, while most women describe it through whether they are loved and by what particular man they are loved.
These "cards" are often confused, and now there are a lot of women who are just as successful as men (or even more successful), and they are also career-oriented. And their successes or failures also affect their self-esteem.
Why is low self-esteem more common in women than in men?
I would rather say that women are more likely to come to the therapist's couch, so this is the impression. Men are simply better camouflaged, better camouflage. There are a huge number of daffodils among men, and they hide their narcissistic defects perfectly behind the "poker face". Therefore, one cannot say that they do not have problems with self-esteem.
No one has ever cried in my office more than successful, rich and wonderful men.
And they cry in the same way about love, about their failures, about their parents, about the loss of meaning - when you have earned all the money that you once dreamed of, but you still do not feel happy. These are very vulnerable men. And it’s really wonderful when we think of men as people with a capital letter who have a heart, and not as a woodcutter.
Can other people influence our self-esteem and what should be done about it?
Yes, other people influence our self-esteem and sense of self. If their words hurt you, you need to work with self-awareness. Of course, we are breaking some contacts that harm us, but we cannot break some. And if you stretch your sense of self, you don't care what your mom says you disappointed her because you haven't given birth to grandchildren yet, and what your dad tells you that you disappointed him because not yet married, and even if your girlfriends look askance at you and your, for example, boyfriend said some nonsense, like he likes a size 5 breast, and you immediately started comparing it with your C grade.
So, if your sense of self does not swing, there is absolutely no need to break off these connections. We work in two directions: if we are influenced by the words of loved ones, then we just need to filter what they tell us - this is their picture of the world. But there are people who deliberately harm us. Maybe, like Bulgakov's - not because they are evil, but because they are unhappy. We don't have to keep them in our space.
Men like women with slightly low self-esteem - is this true or myth?
This is a myth - men like different women, women like different men.
There is simply such a category of men who find it easier to withstand women with low self-esteem, because such people begin to look into their mouths in every possible way.
This is probably a question of choice: do you love a man and you are with him, because he sees you as an equal partner, or do you need a man who would like you to endlessly iron his ego? For some women, this works. The main thing is that everyone is happy.
Does self-hypnosis help to increase self-esteem or won't it be enough?
Personally, I don't believe in that. Working with self-esteem is a huge complex of different activities, and not a button that you pressed, and everything became different. This is the creation of a completely different reality around you. It is about finding your ability to act, not just dream. This is definitely a reformatting of some previous connections and what is called a remythologization of previous experience - when we pay attention to our past and can interpret it, introduce new meanings that no longer hurt us.
This is working with our shame and healing from it, because when we constantly blame and shame ourselves, then we punish ourselves. And the one who is punished is humiliated. This includes, among other things, a look at how perfectionist you are, because this is a stick with which you can beat yourself and others; endless attempts to jump to a very high bar. They also do not give the feeling that everything is in order. Then you need to look for this balance, when, on the one hand, you raise the bar, but on the other hand, you are happy with the very process that you are jumping.
Absolutely this is such an appeal to oneself: when I look at my life, I accept my past, I am better than yesterday. When I rejoice not only in success, but also in the fact that I have squeezed something out of myself. When I interpret my experience. There is a big difference between "I am a failure" and "I have failed three times." There are a lot of things here, and hypnotic conviction of yourself partly raises your vitality, but this is just one of the tools.
Irina Belousova (@belousova_psychology)
Physician psychotherapist, psychologist
Can the problem of being overweight be called a consequence of low self-esteem?
Excess weight cannot be called a direct consequence of low self-esteem, since these two phenomena can exist separately from each other. However, in most cases, there is a connection: overweight people have traumatic experiences. These are children of suppressive parents who do not know respect for the younger generation. Or the person has been suppressed in a traumatic love relationship.
Excess weight is a practically learned and “gone” to the physical level desire to present your I, to protect boundaries, to attract kind attention to yourself.
And at the same time, avoid intimacy, as it can be destructive. People unconsciously resort to such methods when there are mastered attitudes to prohibit the manifestation of their will. It is necessary to work with a psychologist in the direction of "growing" the personality and gaining psychological autonomy. Otherwise, the weight will never become stable healthy.
What is the relationship between a healthy lifestyle and high self-esteem?
High self-esteem may not always be adequate. But there is a connection with healthy self-esteem, and it is mediated by the level of personality maturity.
First, people who value and love themselves wish the best for themselves. Second, healthy self-esteem is an indicator of personality maturity. A sufficiently mature person knows how not only to wish, but also to do something for himself, so that he has what he wants. Even if it is sometimes difficult and lazy. For example, do sports to be healthy. Thirdly, self-love is not only about “taking the best”, it is also about giving up the harmful in the long run. This is a deep motivation, with the acquisition of which it becomes easy to follow exactly the lifestyle that meets the needs of the moment.
What are three main self-esteem guides?
1) I am, and I can be in this world. The world around is also there, and it can also be as it is.
2) All my feelings, sensations, aspirations, desires, values are real, this is my open response to such a different life. I have the right to be myself.
3) And all this is well arranged and filled with meaning.
These phrases seem strange at first glance. However, they correspond to very subtle and important spiritual aspects of life, without the mental assimilation of which a person cannot have a healthy self-esteem.
Is it important to step out of your comfort zone and will it help boost your self-esteem?
Not as important as inevitable. If there is no growth, then there is degradation, this is how a person is made. Any growth - through the elimination of the old and the collision with the new. And the new is often painful until it has "grown" into the experience. If you want for yourself growth, personality expansion - in any of the aspects (physical, spiritual, psychological, social), then you yourself will look for your new, in order to first face it, and then - to learn. There is a certain interest in this in life, as in the process.
And - yes, when you see how well you have grown, comparing yourself a year ago and yourself today, you are happy for yourself and affirm your good attitude towards yourself. That is, your self-esteem grows and gets stronger.
What are three signs of good and healthy self-esteem?
1) The absence of painful experiences and envy both when comparing oneself with others and when receiving any assessments from the outside;
2) The ability to say "no" if it is not useful or does not want to;
3) The ability to be yourself without excessive striving for the admiring responses of others to the manifestations of your person, that is, confirmation of your value from the outside.
Is perfectionism a sign of low self-esteem?
There is definitely a connection. The constant pursuit of excellence, which remains unattainable, stems from the once learned program (most often in relationships with parents or in love relationships): "you're okay, if only you're the best." And it entails a constant feeling of dissatisfaction with life, because there is no that very feeling “I'm okay”, and being on top is not always about life. It turns out a vicious circle, from which it is difficult to break out, if you do not slow down in the eternal pursuit of the ideal result. Calmness is born at the point "I am, and I can be like this in this world." As you can see, life does not smell of crazy performance in this calm statement.
How does the inability to say the word “no” harm us?
Failure to say no is about not knowing how to defend your borders. And as a rule, this is associated with low self-esteem. The more often you do what you don’t want (or allow others to do what you don’t want), the more your boundaries are violated. In fact, this is somewhere near the betrayal of oneself, one's values, aspirations, violation of one's space by oneself. Of course, deep down, a person begins to treat himself negatively.
How to avoid falling into bad moods and ignoring negative thoughts?
Not turning will not work at all (and why alienate what is - and what do you feel?), But you need to be able to switch and give up what you do not need and is not useful. What good will happen if you rub your brain into dust because of, say, a bad haircut? This, of course, is frustrating, the question is - how much and for how long?
Your bad mood will not entail any real action, since falling into "offense" is a childish position, not an adult one. Will entail an adequate desire to change the situation and somehow correct the unsuccessful result. And this is about composure, not frustration. In addition, negative attitudes and being stuck in the past entail disconnecting from reality. Longing-sadness draws on, and you stop seeing the good that is happening around you here and now. Do you need it?
How to receive praise correctly and is it important to praise yourself?
Take it with joy and play! And stop hanging on thoughts a la "they need something from me, since they are praising." If necessary, they will ask directly. And if they do not know how to ask directly, do not take on yourself unnecessary responsibility for someone else's inability. Why additional worries? And “no, no, I’m not so good, I don’t deserve such words …” - this is also a parasitic thought that has to do with your perception of yourself, and not with the opinions of others. Or maybe, deep down inside you, you have a fear of being wonderful, good?
Track where you hooked on your obsessive thoughts that prevent you from accepting positive assessments from others. This is called "introjects" and this is the basis for working with a psychologist.
Of course, it's important to praise yourself. In this case, you perform for yourself the role of that very good mother, on whom the formation of stable self-esteem in the child depends and who, with kindness and acceptance, marks good and encourages more than criticizes and devalues.
I often give my clients the “I'm smart” technique: every day, write a list of 10 phrases starting with the words “I'm smart because …” - and then in the sequel write what you are ready to sincerely praise yourself for and enjoy your success. Even very small. The technique should be tested first to show the client the cognitive biases that most self-esteem workers tolerate.
Is it necessary to use training to increase self-esteem?
This will speed up the process, but you need to understand that most of the short trainings work with the behavioral component of self-worth (a person is taught the algorithm of actions in typical social situations so that his behavior corresponds to the standard way of actions of a person with a sufficiently high self-esteem). Working with self-concept, self-acceptance, self-respect and self-love is a deeper task that takes time and commitment. For those who really need to be in harmony with themselves, and not create an illusion, I recommend not stopping at the trainings or at least watching how long the training takes. For example, my courses, designed for deep and serious work, last at least a month each.
Text: Anastasia Speranskaya
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