How to feel a stronger sense of self-worth?
November 25, 2007 1:41 PM Subscribe
How can a person overcome general insecurity, improve their self-esteem, and bolster their sense of self worth?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (18 answers total) 66 users marked this as a favorite
Objectively, I can recognize that other people seem to think I'm both relatively competent and relatively decent, and I generally coast along without consciously noticing any of what I'm about to describe. But lately, I've been noticing that I'm really susceptible to others' opinions of me. What I really want is for other people to reassure me I'm okay. Deep down, I actually feel somewhat desperate for approval and acceptance, but I don't really feel like I deserve it.
My relationship with my more judgmental friends is secretly about trying to do whatever it takes to be "good" in their eyes, and with friends who aren't judgmental, when I see myself through their eyes as an equal, I feel surprised, and relieved (and then occasionally I wonder if I'm just a pity case). Around people I don't know well, I feel like they will soon discover I'm not the kind of person they want to be friends with, that I'm bad -- nasty, petty, sleazy, bitchy, a slob. I keep wondering if they've figured it out already and are just politely tolerating me. When I screw up in little ways, it reinforces all my suspicions.
In general, both personally and professionally, I've started to notice I am constantly striving, constantly moving on to the next interest, and constantly interested in self-improvement in a way that has started to feel like just trying to outrun my own self. And I do feel like I'm constantly screwing things up (my papers at home are in total disarray which I regard as a personal failing, I get struck by guilt when I forget to call my friend who is going through a hard time, I feel constantly guilty about being behind schedule on a project) -- I feel really guilty, almost ashamed, about things like that.
Again, all this is balanced by the fact that I actually am somewhat successful professionally, and I do manage to be pretty good at being friendly with people, so I know I'm not a total failure at life or an immoral psychopath who should be shunned by all humanity. But over time this insecurity does probably undercut my relationships and professional progress, not to mention generally drain me, so I'd like to change.
What things do you do that have helped you come to feel secure in yourself? How have you come to believe that deep down, you are a good person? If you've overcome insecurity like this, what has helped you? I am in therapy and will work on it there, of course. But I've learned a lot from the insights, stories, and strategies people share on Metafilter, so I thought I'd ask.