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A friend and I... low self esteem, confidence... and weight.

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Old 05-26-2010, 05:23 PM   #1
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Default A friend and I... low self esteem, confidence... and weight.

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... ), 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...

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. 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!
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Old 05-26-2010, 05:40 PM   #2
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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.
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Old 05-26-2010, 05:44 PM   #3
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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.
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Old 05-26-2010, 05:51 PM   #4
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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.
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Old 05-26-2010, 05:52 PM   #5
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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.
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Old 05-26-2010, 05:55 PM   #6
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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?
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Old 05-26-2010, 05:55 PM   #7
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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. 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.

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Old 05-26-2010, 06:06 PM   #8
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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.
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Old 05-26-2010, 06:12 PM   #9
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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.

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Old 05-26-2010, 06:14 PM   #10
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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!
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Old 05-26-2010, 06:20 PM   #11
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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. (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).

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Old 05-26-2010, 06:30 PM   #12
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"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.
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Old 05-26-2010, 06:35 PM   #13
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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.

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Old 05-26-2010, 06:38 PM   #14
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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. Very confusing... I know.
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Old 05-26-2010, 06:40 PM   #15
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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..."
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