Weight Loss Support - A friend and I... low self esteem, confidence... and weight.




Serbrider
05-26-2010, 06:23 PM
OK... so... a friend and I are like... complete opposites. Except for our height. Our height is the one thing that's about the same about both of us. We're both around 5'11" (when we stand up straight).

Well... it's weird... because:

I need to lose weight... and she needs to gain weight (doctors told her she needs at least five pounds to gain)
I am gaining confidence... and she's always talking about her low self esteem
She's quiet and... well... not the clearest when she talks... and I'm loud... and enunciate most things.


Well... anyways... we were talking today. Primarily about our weight goals, confidence... and breakthroughs.

When we talk about these kinds of things (seems to be every other lunch period... :dizzy:), she is always talking about her low self-esteem.

And... I dunno... but I just started talking today... and all of these things came out... and I'm wondering what you guys thought.


Low self-esteem doesn't exist. It's an excuse people use for a lack of confidence and allowing fears to rule your life. Fears exist. Confidence exists. But low self-esteem... doesn't. Now... autism. That's something that exists... and can be a definite reason for not being able to function well amongst people. But low self-esteem in my personal experience is a made up thing. The name was put out there to describe girls (and guys) who didn't like themselves. And since then... I think that people have latched onto it.

I think that a lot of people treat it as a disease. Something that can never be cured. But... it doesn't exist.

Fears exist. Yes... people are afraid of rejection... afraid of what people might think. Hatred and disgust exist... disgust at yourself... hatred of yourself... but that's not low self-esteem.

Maybe it's just my friend. She doesn't hate herself. She does sometimes talk about her having a large tummy... :dunno:

But... with her at least... when I ask her why she doesn't just talk to the guy she has a crush on... she says "I have low self-esteem". Umm... no... you have a fear of rejection. You have a fear that he'll laugh at you. But low self esteem? No.


I dunno... I just think that so many people refuse to face up to their fears, flaws, whatever it may be... so they make up a word for what they are... as an excuse. Like... "fluffy" or "curvaceous" or "slow metabolism" for larger people. Or "relaxed" instead of lazy... or "weak" when you really just don't want to do something.


I dunno... I don't know what kind of advice to give my friend. :p Or even if the advice I gave to her is even valid... thoughts? Just feel free to throw in ANYTHING that involves confidence, self-esteem, fears, weight, anything! :p


mandalinn82
05-26-2010, 06:40 PM
I think self esteem IS real, and goes a layer deeper than "fear of rejection", for example.

Your friend IS afraid of rejection. What's the reason for that? For some people with "low self esteem", the reason that they have fears of rejection is that they feel that they are not worth NOT being rejected. So they anticipate rejection because they do not feel that they, intrinsically, have the worth to not be rejected.

I think "low self worth" or "low self esteem" exists just as solidly as the fears...the two may or may not be related in all people. For example, someone might fear being rejected due to a low sense of intrinsic worth, or they might fear rejected because they had a previous bad experience completely unrelated to self-worth.

I think the idea of low-self-worth, in terms of weight loss, can also play a part. It's one thing to dislike parts of yourself, your body, etc. Where it becomes bigger than that is when your perspective is "I am so GROSS, there is no point in me taking care of myself - I am not worth it". People can have weight problems regardless of having issues with self worth, or they can have them in conjunction.

In any case, the idea that it "doesn't exist" is like saying, for example, that "anorexia" doesn't exist and that people just don't want to eat. Since anorexia is defined in clinical terms, it exists. Self esteem has also been defined in clinical terms for research purposes, and tools exist to measure it for research purposes, so it's as real a characteristic as any other measureable emotional outcome.

MoveMoveMove
05-26-2010, 06:44 PM
Thanks Mandalinn82. I was having a hard time figuring out how to word my opinion that low self esteem does exist. You said it pefectly for me.


Serbrider
05-26-2010, 06:51 PM
yeah... I get what you mean. Definately. I guess I meant more that... even if it was real... it shouldn't be an excuse to not go for what you want to. Like... just a non-weight related example... this guy at the college I'm wanting to go to was not accepted to vet school. He applied eight times... and then finally got in. He could have just said "they didn't accept me"... but then it'd just be an excuse. Yeah... it happens... but that shouldn't be your excuse for not trying.

Lexxiss
05-26-2010, 06:52 PM
Here is a link to a Mayo Clinic article on self esteem(and low self esteem). There are many articles out there, but I chose it because the Mayo Clinic is a very well known medical facility.

"Self-esteem is your overall opinion of yourself — how you honestly feel about yourself with all of your successes, abilities, flaws and limits. When you have healthy self-esteem, you feel good about yourself and see yourself as deserving others' respect. When you have low self-esteem, on the other hand, you put little value on your opinions and ideas, and you constantly worry that you aren't "good enough." "

It sounds like your friend, in fact, may very well have low self esteem. Perhaps by doing some reading and learning about it you could find out how you could validate her feelings and let her know she is a valuable person. It would probably mean the world to her to have someone who cared enough to understand.

mandalinn82
05-26-2010, 06:55 PM
I'd add that, for someone whose fear of rejection is tied in a low sense of self-worth, it's not an easy task to remove that fear without addressing the self esteem.

Your friend who applied to Vet school 8 times likely came at it from an approach of "I am worthy to get into vet school, so I will keep working at improving my application until I am accepted". But if your viewpoint is "Of course they rejected me, I'm intrinsically not worthy of being accepted anyway", what point do you see in continuing to apply?

Serbrider
05-26-2010, 06:55 PM
The odd thing... is she also says that "people like her"... and that she is happy with her life. That she likes the way she looks... most of the time.

I dunno. Maybe she does have low self-esteem... but it just feels as though she's at the point where she's using it more as an excuse for not being more talkative, or not even trying to look at herself in a different way.

I dunno... I'm not a psychiatrist... I don't know everything. ;)

ETA: That guy who got into vet school... I don't know him personally. :p He's some guy who went to the college I'm going to go to.

I have a huge fear of rejection. It takes me an hour (at least) to get up enough courage to ask my mom if I can go to the store to get something. And I have keys and could technically just go anyways. But... I dunno. Maybe I'm just starting to face it and say that it's there. Or maybe... for me... it was a fake fear all along. I don't know.

juliastl27
05-26-2010, 07:06 PM
i think that low self esteem is VERY real. i have it. it sometimes comes from your parents way of talking to/treating you, rape, abusive spouses, or in my experience, childhood trauma. things like that change your perception of yourself and it often comes out feeling like you're "damaged goods", so to speak.

it took a lot of therapy for me to get even slightly improved self esteem, and i dont know if it will ever get any better. i think this is a serious psychological problem for a lot of people.

Serbrider
05-26-2010, 07:12 PM
But... did you go around telling people that the reason you don't want to do things is because you have low self-esteem? I dunno... this is pretty much the primary... ok... only reason why I think it's more of an excuse than anything else in HER case (not everyone's case).

I don't doubt that she has low self-esteem. I do too come to think of it... half of the time. But... it just seems to me that she's at the point where she's using it as an excuse for things... not as anything else. She also interchanges it quite a bit with lack of confidence... and being shy. So... I dunno.

Vladadog
05-26-2010, 07:14 PM
Often people who don't have a particular problem - depression, attention deficit disorder, low self-esteem, phantom pain, dyslexia - disparage those who do and refuse to believe the issue is real. "If you really wanted you could pay attention (ADD) or spell (dyslexia). " or "You're just using xyz as an excuse; if you really wanted to you could..."

Some one can be happy and clinically depressed at the same time. Someone with ADD can focus intently for long periods of time sometimes. And people with dyslexia can learn some tricks to help them compensate (plus thank all those computer nerds for spell checkers!!!). SOme things can be helped with medication, some with practice, some you learn to live with.

But never assume that just because you personally don't have that issue the other person is making it up, isn't trying hard enough, is just making an excuse. Maybe they aren't maybe they aren't; either way, it's not your call.

BTW, great avi image. Is that your horse? It's a beauty!

Serbrider
05-26-2010, 07:20 PM
no... not my horse... a horse I rode in a lesson. :) But that is me on the horse.

But... I dunno... I'm sorry. I apologize. I'm not trying to make it seem like "OH... YOU'RE AN IDIOT BECAUSE YOU DO THIS, IT DOESN'T EXIST"... I just... I just don't understand.

I used to hate everything about myself. But then I just began to think about things I liked. I don't exactly now HOW it happened... but it did. And now... I like myself... not the shape I'm in... but I do like myself.

Could someone just explain to me exactly what low self esteem is? I'm sorry I said I believe it doesn't exist... in my opinion I still think that people CAN use it as an excuse... just like I used my cholinergic urticaria as an excuse to not run. Then again... maybe I'm just completely wrong. It has happened before. ;)

ETA: ok... so... I googled... looked up some of the symptoms, took a couple "diagnostics" quizzes, and so on... and apparently I have low self esteem. I dunno... I'm confused. :p (I have been feeling really good the past few days... I did what is my first reaction to things, and how I normally react to things... I just feel giddy right now... mainly because school is over and excercise is making me feel good).

mandalinn82
05-26-2010, 07:30 PM
"Self Esteem" is essentially having pride in yourself as a being and believing that you, as you are, have worth. Someone with low self esteem has little pride in themselves and believes that, as they are, they do not have intrinsic worth.

angelskeep
05-26-2010, 07:35 PM
It's hard to describe in simple terms, because it is a complex issue, but I'll try.

Someone who feels good about him/herself could try something, fail the task and know they gave it their best shot and continue on with life.

Someone with low self-esteem in the same situation would think they didn't do enough, or they should've done something differently, or that they shouldn't have even tried because they never do well anyhow, and so on. If they did well, then they would not take the credit, but rather think that they just got lucky, or it was successful accidentally or just a fluke or not believe the results. People with low self-esteen do not value themselves. And no matter what happens in a situation, they take blame or fail to take credit.

And yes, people could use that terminology to avoid situations they did not want to deal with, but then it would just be an excuse not a reason. There's a difference, IMHO.

I hope that helps.

Barb

Serbrider
05-26-2010, 07:38 PM
Great. Apparently I have low self esteem... because the second one you described pretty much describes me... most of the time.

My own words to my parents after they were hounding me about homework stuff "I keep failing, what's the point in trying if I'm just going to screw it up?"

I dunno... still confused... and annoyed... at myself... for being confused. :p Very confusing... I know.

Vladadog
05-26-2010, 07:40 PM
Another thing to consider, your friend may be willing to confide in you that she doesn't have the confidence she needs/wants to do certain things but with people she's less comfortable with she may try to just get by (hoping no one notices) or use some easy excuse "oh, I can't; my folks won't let me..."

Serbrider
05-26-2010, 07:42 PM
Maybe... I dunno. She's smart... beautiful... and she's always talking about how she is... how all the guys stare at her... how other people (except for people larger than she is... and she made this distinction very clear) are always nice to her... and like her...

I guess I just don't understand her mind. Most people... I can figure out. She just bamboozles me though. :p Probably because she is such a polar opposite of me...

ParadiseFalls
05-26-2010, 07:45 PM
I see you've kind of talked it out, but I just want to throw this out there: I firmly believe that low self-esteem is real, and I think you may be mistaken to equate it with lack of motivation. I'm successful in the things I do—I'm editor of the independent student paper in my area, I have interned at professional publications, etc.—but in terms of self-image and how I feel about myself as a person, my opinion is very low. But the fact that I don't necessarily think I deserve to be successful and I hate a lot of things about myself doesn't stop me from doing the best for myself that I can.

Serbrider
05-26-2010, 07:52 PM
I have already talked about it with her. It's something we've been talking about for the past two months. I also have to admit that I'm kind of annoyed with her... because a couple weeks ago I told her about me feeling like I had chronic depression... because I fit every single symptom... right down to being extremely tired and having daily thoughts of suicide. Not ever planning out suicide... just thoughts like "there are pills downstairs" and "I could just drive this car off the road, or into another car" and so on. How easy it is for me to die... and why not? Well... I went and told all of this to her... and because I'm not suicidal (despite the thoughts), I asked her to ask adults for advice... but to leave me anonymous. Well... she went and told my parents. Indirectly... but she knew it'd get back to my parents.

And because my mom and I don't have the best relationship... I kind of had to shake myself out of that. I still have those thoughts almost daily. Less with the exercise and better diet... but maybe because I'm feeling good about my "breakthrough" on saturday. Maybe this is just my subconsious evil thinking "you don't know what you're talking about"... but... I dunno. She goes through days where she is like "I love myself... I love everything about myself... everyone loves me"... then she turns and tells me stuff like "y'know I have low self-esteem right?"

Maybe it's the way she says it that makes me a disbeliever... I don't know.

Thighs Be Gone
05-26-2010, 08:11 PM
Self-esteem is very real and definitely the core of all of us. From the time we are babies it is either built and nurtured, or it is diminished and destroyed. If you fall into the latter category, it can be difficult to build later no matter how hard you try. Your story is your own. Side by side comparisons like you are making aren't possible.

juliastl27
05-26-2010, 08:46 PM
Another thing to consider, your friend may be willing to confide in you that she doesn't have the confidence she needs/wants to do certain things but with people she's less comfortable with she may try to just get by (hoping no one notices) or use some easy excuse "oh, I can't; my folks won't let me..."


this.

astrophe
05-26-2010, 09:31 PM
"I love myself... I love everything about myself... everyone loves me"... then she turns and tells me stuff like "y'know I have low self-esteem right?"


Bad self esteem is real.

Perhaps it is true in her case -- or perhaps not. I don't know her or you, and I don't mean to sound rude. I'm just thinking out loud, ok? :)

But maybe she does have bad or low self esteem. So she goes around saying to you and others "I'm so great, I'm so great!" trying to pump herself up. And maybe it works for a little bit and then she deflates again. So she gets more frantic about pumping herself up. It gets over the top with the "I'm so great!" stuff.

I know a person with poor self esteem who overcompensates this way.

Acts/says person is great, expert, fabulous, can do anything but really the person seeks reassurance, approval, validation or worth from others because the person does not assure/approve of/validate/value themselves. But since they don't believe in themselves, they have a hard time believing OTHER people who say they are just fine, relax, etc. Surely they must be crazy. There is no WAY Person is worthy. So they crank up with the "I'm so great!" business hoping someone will agree and validate. But really it is running in circles.

Or perhaps she's confused, and she might have something else entirely. Like bipolar disorder. When she's high, she totally high and feeling up and the world is great, she's great, etc. When she's low, she's totally low and feeling like the world is awful, she's terrible, etc. She might call it "low self esteem," but it might be another condition that she just doesn't know the name of yet. I have a relative with BPD and til the dx we didn't know what the problem was. Weird self esteem periods and crazy hyper happy periods.

Or maybe she's fine, and just likes yanking your chain?

Who knows? In the end, the bottom line is up to you. Do you want to stay friends? If so, this seems to be part of the package here.

A.

Serbrider
05-26-2010, 09:37 PM
I think this is more of a vent to let of some steam... her issues with this tends to be the topic of conversation all the time. I guess I'm getting a little tired of hearing about it... and her saying she is feeling better and more confident... and then next she's asking me for advice on how to be more confident. I guess I'm just tired of giving her advice... and then when I ask her for advice... she goes and tells my parents... and then lies to my face about it (she later told me the truth... that's how I know it WAS her).

I dunno... it's not something that bothers me to the point of breaking up the friendship... I guess I'm just getting tired of hearing about it... which could be why I'm now saying stuff like "it doesn't exist"... because to me... it's now starting to sound like an excuse she keeps making to me and to herself in order to say "I don't have to do stuff because I have low self-esteem". But... that could just be my perception of it.

Like I said... nothing I'd break up the friendship about... but it's getting kind of annoying having to constantly hear about it.

mandalinn82
05-26-2010, 10:00 PM
and then when I ask her for advice... she goes and tells my parents... and then lies to my face about it (she later told me the truth... that's how I know it WAS her).


I just have to comment on this really quickly. When I was about your age, I went through some major depressive stuff, including talk/consideration of suicide (which later progressed to cutting and other self-destructive behavior). While it feels like a betrayal to you now, I am eternally grateful to my friends that "went behind my back" to talk to my parents and school counselors about my depression and suicidal thoughts. Those people let my parents know that there was a problem, which enabled me to actually start getting help.

Telling someone about suicidal thinking, even if it's not specific, and asking them to promise not to give anyone your name is asking for what the counselors in my school called "the deadly promise" - because in cases where teen suicide is a real threat, keeping silent or withholding names can mean someone loses their life.

Just try to consider it from your friend's perspective - she cares enough about your mental health that she will risk you being mad as all get out at her for telling your parents to ensure that you're safe.

Serbrider
05-26-2010, 10:06 PM
Oh... I understand WHY she did it. I'm not upset about that. But I wasn't suicidal. I'm still not.

The biggest thing that got me is that when I confronted her... she lied to my face about it... then... later... when she admitted it... and I asked her why she lied... she said "habit", and then "I dunno... just did".

It would have been fine for me (and is now) if she had just said "oh... yeah... I did. I'm sorry... but I just care too much about you"... or something along those lines.

In the end... all she did say in the end about it was: "you can hate me all you want, I did this... and I feel good about doing it."

Umm... huh? SHE felt good about doing it? I'm confused... I thought it was out of concern for me...

I dunno... I just don't understand her.

kaplods
05-26-2010, 10:58 PM
Oh... I understand WHY she did it. I'm not upset about that. But I wasn't suicidal. I'm still not.

The biggest thing that got me is that when I confronted her... she lied to my face about it... then... later... when she admitted it... and I asked her why she lied... she said "habit", and then "I dunno... just did".

It would have been fine for me (and is now) if she had just said "oh... yeah... I did. I'm sorry... but I just care too much about you"... or something along those lines.

In the end... all she did say in the end about it was: "you can hate me all you want, I did this... and I feel good about doing it."

Umm... huh? SHE felt good about doing it? I'm confused... I thought it was out of concern for me...

I dunno... I just don't understand her.


She lied because she was afraid of your anger/judgement - behavior that's very consistent with "low self esteem," shyness, social anxiety all of which exist and can be very difficult to overcome - there's even a good bit of evidence that it could be genetic (more on that in a minute).

When she said she feels "good" about her decision, I suspect it is because it WAS out of concern for you - that is she is confident that she made "the right" decision, and was trying to help not hurt you.

Now, when I said that low self-esteem, social anxiety, and shyness might even be partially genetic - there's some interesting research in the field (but unless you do study psychology, it's probably not going to interest you all that much).

I was adopted as an infant. I have absolutely no knowledge of my biological parents. I do wonder if obesity and self-confidence runs in my bio family.

I wonder because I studied adoption studies alot in college and graduate school (I have a bachelor's and master's degree in psychology). I've also always been overweight, so I studied that too. When I learned of the adoption studies on obesity, intelligence, and confidence/self-esteem that found genetic links for these and other conditions often assumed to be learned, social behavior - it made a lot of sense in my own family.

I was obese morbidly obese most of my life, even very early childhood (I'm the only person in my family to ever have been overweight before the age of 30).

My parents were told I was "going to be smart" and my parents didn't understood how the adoption agency could possibly know that about a baby. I taught myself to read before kindergarten.

I've always been more confident than anyone in my family (except my brother - who was also adopted. His confidence bordered on true fearlessness - he's more of an adrenaline junkie).

My dad is more quiet than shy, confident once he gets to know people. My mother has extreme social anxiety, and is constantly worried that people don't like her.

My younger sisters (my parents biological children) physically and emotionally take after our parents. Both aren't just pretty, they're beautiful and yet they're both quiet. One taking after dad (quiet, but fairly confident) and the other taking after mom (painfully shy and lacking in confidence, even in areas she excels).

They both follow the weight patterns of our parents too. One being effortlessly slim (which if she continues to follow Dad's pattern, she will continue to be until retirement puts on a few pounds). The other started gaining weight in her hips (right where Mom has most of her weight) around the age of 30 (also when Mom started gaining weight).




It's easy to think people are "making excuses" when you don't understand their behavior. It's easy, it's even normal, but most of the time it's also as untrue as it is true. People and their problems are complicated, and there are no easy answers. Think of all of the things in your life that other people tell you should be easy to fix (I'm sure you've been given advice that is easier said than done). She's making excuses for her behavior no less and no more than you are in all those things in your life that other people have thought were easy.

Even when you don't "make excuses," and lay all of the blame at your own feet - change isn't any easier. Change, even small changes are remarkably difficult. Made even more difficult when you're bombarded with messages that tell you the change "should" be easy.

Serbrider
05-26-2010, 11:13 PM
Thanks for that kaplods. I needed a good reality check... and explanation of things.

Ok... and to kind of explain myself... I wasn't meaning the whole "excuse" thing as to make her out to be a horrible person, or I just want to ruin her life... or tell her she's the one who's wrong. I just know that this has helped me personally... because I had made a lot of excuses in the past for things I've done... and it's never helped. But now I'm trying conciously to avoid excusing myself by saying stuff like: "oh... whoops... forgot to charge my mp3 player... looks like I can't go run" or "well... all we have are chips and dip... guess I'll just eat that". These excuses have been my life for so long... I guess I naturally assumed that other people made the same kind of excuses... and would use things like low self esteem and shyness as an excuse to not face their fears. I still think that a lot of people do that... though subconciously, or not on purpose.

I dunno... I hope what I told her today helped... not harmed.