Low Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is confidence in one’s self, in terms of abilities, looks and attitude. If you have low self-esteem then you may think your body is disgusting, and will often believe others see you in the same way. This can consequently affect your social and sex life, and cause feelings of inadequacy and sadness in your relationship.

In the continually digitally enhanced media we are seeing men and women who have fantastic bodies. When we compare ourselves to these individuals we can come up short, and consequently start to think negative thoughts. This can cause a vicious cycle, in which we seek comfort in the form of food or other alternatives when we feel undesirable. This can leave us feeling even more detestable.

What causes low self-esteem?

The causes of low self-esteem can be different for each individual, but there are a few that usually crop up:

  • Media - We often see beautiful people when we watch Hollywood movies. This is also the case now when we watch soaps and read magazines. But we need to remember that we are unique individuals, and that we can not be compared to anybody else. Until you can come to appreciate this you will find it difficult to overcome low self-esteem.

  • Pornography - In pornographic movies the women usually have large perfect breasts, as do the men in terms of penis size and girth. The kind of sexual activity we see is also very different to what typically happens in a relationship. Breast size in pornography is often down to implants, and the typical size of a man’s erect penis is actually five or six inches.

  • Pregnancy - The after affects of pregnancy can cause women to have low self-esteem. Delivery may have involved a caesarean, but it is often the case that pregnancy can cause the vagina to become stretched and not look as it once did. This can often result in mothers feeling undesirable. Sex is often not possible for a period of time after pregnancy, and some men may turn to pornographic material. This can also cause low-self esteem for women.

  • Abuse - If there has been experience of abuse, whether it is physical or sexual in nature, then this can cause low self-esteem. It can become very difficult to open up to your partner, and sexual arousal can be very difficult to achieve.

  • End of a relationship - If your relationship has just ended then you may blame yourself, and think yourself in some way inadequate.

  • Other causes - There are many other causes of low self-esteem. They include grief, rejection, a burglary, educational ability, alcohol or drug abuse, stress, an accident, unemployment or failure when applying for a job.

What are the symptoms of low self-esteem?

There are several factors that can indicate whether you or your partner has low self-esteem. They include:

  • Not wanting to be seen naked
  • Only willing to have sex with the lights off
  • Staying with an abusive partner
  • Unable to become aroused
  • Not wanting to have sex
  • Not wanting to go out to social gatherings
  • Difficulty sharing your feelings and opening up to your partner
  • Very sensitive to criticism
  • Lack of confidence in your own ideas and abilities
  • Boasting about prior sexual conquests to cover up feelings of inadequacy

What can I do to improve my self-esteem?

Therapy can be a great help if you are having problems with low self-esteem. This is because self-esteem is such a personal matter and one difficult to change. But with the help of a therapist you can get to the brunt of your problem, and identify its causes. You can then be helped to overcome your low self-esteem through a steady programme.

If you are unsure about therapy then there are tips that can help you to overcome your low self-esteem:

  • You’re not alone - We all have problems with self-esteem. Even the celebrities that can cause us feelings of low self-esteem have issues with their own worth.

  • You are like no other - You are a unique individual and can in no way be compared to anybody else.

  • Communicate your problems with your partner - Although it may seem daunting to open up to your partner, they can really help you get through this. Through reassurance and words of support, whether it is face to face or over the phone when you are having a negative moment, they can be there for you.

  • Recognise your attributes - Learn to think about your positives rather than the negatives. Through good eating and physical exercise you can achieve a better body if that is what you want. But this can only be done when you have a healthy mind.

  • There is no one standard of attractiveness - We are all attractive in our own way. There is no one person who can be deemed the pinnacle of attractiveness.

  • The anchor exercise - This is a self-help technique, which involves the person thinking back to a moment when they felt great confidence. You need to allow this confidence to flow through your body. When the feeling of confidence is at a great level you pinch yourself, which acts as an anchor. Then, next time you feel you need a boost of confidence, pinch yourself. This will act as an on switch to these feelings of confidence. There are other self-help techniques that a therapist can recommend you.

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