Self-esteem issues

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    Hi everyone!

    This might well not be a fresh topic (propably) but I’ll still write my thoughts.

    Has anyone succeeded in developing personal self-esteem even when you were already an adult when you realized that you had a serious problem to be tackled? Is it really possible in a holistic way to change your attitudes towards yourself? Or is a low self-esteem like a bad friend that walks on your side throughout your life without asking you if you wanted it or not? Can you really get rid of it and become person that is not that broken inside?

    I am really having hard time with this. Recently I have started a topic on a Relationships section to talk about my horrible break up. During this process I have come into an awakening that I seriously have issues with my self-respect and self-esteem even though people could not see it from the outside. I have built fairly “successful” life at 27yo, having education, good job opportunities and great friends. Basically I have fulfilled my dreams: studying at the best university of my country, travelling a lot and living almost a year alone abroad in a new country simultaneously learning a new language. I have taken classes in a sport I thought I would never do. Basically trying to do new things that as a teenager I thought were impossible for me. That fearful boy of my adolescence that once kept so much into himself has really grown up and changed. Maybe somebody could even say that they would not recognize me anymore.

    But somehow this is still some kind of a facade.

    Inside I always feel inferior to others!

    Before, during the years when I was 12-22, I felt totally inferior to almost everybody else. I had no worth for myself.

    Nowadays this has changed but it has been replaced by a new way of thinking:

    “I may not be inferior to others – actually I am a pretty cool guy with lots of talent – but inside THIS group of my peers and colleagues I MUST BE BY DEFAULT worse than the others”

    I am a bit of perfectionist by my character.

    This holds me back so much!

    Has anyone had similar experiences and how did you get rid of this emotional constraint?


    Some interesting new research is showing that self-esteem and the pursuit of self-esteem is a zero-sum game.

    Self-esteem is based an ongoing struggle of comparison, judgement, evaluation, and need for external validation. It’s a constant barrage of slings and arrows that your mind throws at you, “Am I successful?”, “How do I compare to others?”, “I will feel good about myself if…”

    It’s a game you won’t be able to win.

    Check this out instead: http://www.self-compassion.org/


    In addition to John’s insightful words, also consider searching for “Brene Brown ted talk”. Its pretty awesome, as are her books. She examines the sense of shame that prevents us from feeling worthy of human connection, and her observations might strike you well.

    With warmth,


    Hi Oskari.. I read your post with interest as I (and it would seem many many people here and in the world) have self esteem issues. I don’t think age/sex/race or creed is immune to it.. and John’s reply was very thought provoking. Struggling with low self esteem is probably like trying to hit your own shadow..it is impossible to fight and we just end up exhausted!! It may come down to how we perceive self esteem. Is it “I am great! ” but underneath the awareness of our dark side still terrifies us and we lock it away in case anyone sees it and doesn’t like us for it? I don’t think so.. well not now anyway.. Self compassion, I believe, is the way. i often wonder what it is in the people I admire the most in my life.. and it is this.. having the integrity and honesty and courage to acknowledye their faults while not beating themselves up about them..those who are open and unafraid to be ‘vulnerable’..ie being fully human and yet not minding what others’ opinions are of them.
    I may be wrong but inside it feels right. And it this I am working on in myself right now as opposed to trying to convince myself I am some super human happy clappy person! So maybe it could be something as simple as allowing all the ‘bad’ bits of you to come into your awareness and instead of judging them, or trying to even change them.. just sit silently with them and listen to what they have to say..with love. Try it. You might be surprised! Good luck!
    (PS I am 46..! so there’s hope for us all!)


    Oskari.. I just read your other post about the break up. I am so sorry to read that. There is so much pain in you right now.. I cannot say anymore than what all the others said to you.. You need much love right now and that love must come from your Self.. You sound strong and determined not to let this get the better of you.. Stay strong and keep reaching out. You WILL get through this.

    Rob Leonardo

    I’m surprised that you have this self-esteem issue in spite of your successes!

    Find out why you have this feeling of low self-esteem. What are you trying to achieve? What will make you happy? Do you follow your heart or someone else’s?

    I’ve been through a painfully shy childhood but have learned to open up and move on. Though I still have my struggles, I am happy and proud of what I have accomplished. I have also learned to have simple life and simple joys. In spite of my insecurities, I survive and always end up to say I am happy.

    What adds to my joy is to be with people who have the same issue and so I created my own community – to learn from others and share what I have learned. One fo the key to self-improvement and self-belief is support from those who really understand you- those in the same situation. Cheers!

    Lisa Fitzpatrick

    This is an interesting post. A fantastic book to read is ‘The Happiness Trap’ by Russ Harris. My mentor always said he’s yet to meet someone with low self-esteem who is clear on his values. Get clear on what your values are and actively pursue them. The Happiness Trap is a great resource for getting clarity on your values. I hope this helps!

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