Self-Conscious With Low Self-Esteem My Whole Life

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Reader’s Question

I have always been self-conscious. I never noticed it when I was really young, but around 3rd or 4th grade I started to realize it. I was not as pretty or as outgoing as the other girls. I envied the popular crowd all through high school. College was a little different. I had plenty of friends, but only one or two close ones. I attribute part of this to my father, who it seem could never be pleased. No matter what I did it wasn’t good enough. If I got a B for the semester, it should have been an A. If it was an A, my dad constantly hounded me to keep it an A. Nothing was ever good enough.

I am now 25 and have no degree. I want to go back to school but am afraid that I might revert to my old ways of skipping class. My dad also makes sure to point out to me what a failure I am because of the 3 years I spent in college with no degree to show for it. Although I realize that my self-esteem issues might have started with my father and mean children, I realize that I must be the one to do something about making it better.

I have a wonderful boyfriend, and we’ve been together for over 2 years. I know that he loves me. However, I get insecure and jealous whenever a past girlfriend is mentioned. Even the mention of a girl who is simply a friend bothers me. I know that this jealously is just my insecurity showing. I know that he loves me and would never cheat on me. Yet at times, I can’t believe that I’m so lucky to have him and am just waiting for the other shoe to drop. I tell myself that nothing good has ever lasted in my life and ask why should this be any different. My boyfriend knows how insecure I am, and it bothers him because he thinks he should be able to fix it. I’m afraid that if I don’t work to change things, I may lose the love of my life. I think I need some professional help with my self-esteem and anxiety. But are there people out there who specialize in helping with self-esteem issues? I also will lose my insurance in December and am afraid that when I get different insurance they won’t cover any counseling that I may have already started, as it will be a pre-existing condition. Is there some help through the state that I can get for this?

Please help. I can’t lose my soul mate because I’m afraid to get help. Also, it would be wonderful to feel the kind of confidence I haven’t known for over 15 years.

Psychologist’s Reply

Try Online Counseling: Get Personally Matched
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One sure-fire way to boost your self-esteem is to demonstrate increased self-sufficiency and reliance. You need to know that not only is there professional help available, but also that you have the ability to shop around, ask questions of potential therapists, and pick a person who has an established track record in dealing with esteem issues. You also have the ability to stay in class, finish your degree, love your boyfriend, and even find support when and if your insurance runs out (yes, there are places you can go for help even without insurance).

The main thing is to take charge and start being more self-directed as opposed to dependent on what other people say, do, approve of, or support. Whenever we look outward for validation, support or approval, we set ourselves up for diminished self-esteem. So, take charge and take action. If an action you take doesn’t pan out, try another course. And when you don’t succeed in one endeavor, pick yourself up and get back in the game. Keep on taking action and doing for yourself and give yourself the credit instead of looking to others to validate you. You are your own greatest resource. Look inward instead of outward. This may take some getting used to, but it will go a long way toward helping you build the level of esteem you have always sought.

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