Building self-esteem can be a monumental task, particularly if it is the self-esteem of a loved one and not your own. Sometimes our desired good intentions can overwhelm a person with low self-esteem, and actually do more harm than good.
But with a careful, loving approach, you can help your friend, spouse, sibling, child, or loved one build the necessary self-esteem to live a happier, more meaningful life. Read on to discover how you can help your friend or family member in building self-esteem.
Encourage Self Care
Guide your loved one through self-exploration by creating a Self Care Plan. This includes physical care like exercise and healthy eating, and may also include mindful activities like meditation and yoga. Be careful to let them determine what is essential to their self-worth, not what’s essential to yours.
Talk Less, Listen More
Allow your loved one to do most of the talking. Ask guiding questions to help them explore their feelings. When they start making negative comments about themselves, ask “Has something happened that makes you feel that way?” Do not dominate the conversation or try to compare their life to your own, they do that enough already.
Encourage Them to Engage Socially
People with low self-esteem will drill themselves into a sad, dark pit of solitude if no one intervenes. Get them to try new things with you, and compliment them on making the effort. Better yet, choose an activity that will get them interacting with and helping others. It may take their mind off of their concerns for a while, and give them a boost of confidence.
Turn Negative Thought Processes Into Positive
Negative thinking can actually change your brain chemistry. According to a study done by Metzger, Miller, Cohen, Sofka, and Borkovec and published in the Journal of Psychology, they found that the more a person worried, the more anxious they got as assigned tasks increased in difficulty. Those who worried had a harder time completing the assignment than those who just took their time and cleared their mind.
Help your loved one build self-esteem by first identifying the negative thoughts, and then transforming them into positivity. When they start dwelling on their failures, get them to list the many things they are incredible at. Maybe they haven’t published a great American novel, but they have written many touching letters that have changed people’s lives. Help them see the value in the little things they do every day.
Show Them They Are Appreciated and Needed
One of the most effective things you can do to help someone build their self-esteem is confirming that they are useful and needed. Ask them to help you with things. If they are good with color or redecorating, ask them to help you pick out paint and furnishings. Call them up while preparing dinner and ask “Hey, you know that great salad you shared with me? What was that dressing you made?” It is just incredible how good these tiny questions can make someone feel.
Model Positive Behavior
It is easy to “fake” high self-esteem, so you need to be cognizant of whether your thoughts and actions reflect true positivity. Make sure that you are taking care of yourself while you are helping your loved one through this journey. Keep a calm demeanor and model random acts of kindness to illustrate how easy it is to make someone’s day with one simple compliment.
A loved one’s self-esteem is probably one of the greatest things you can build. Seeing the light come back into a loved one’s eyes is rewarding. Use these tips to help someone close to you today.