8 Tips on How to Help Someone with Low Self Esteem
Knowing what to say or do to a friend with a low self-esteem can remarkably improve their self-worth and relationship with others. However, the process will require you to be a little bit creative when showing your love, support, and acceptance towards your friend.
Tip #1 Compliment them.
Everyone appreciates compliments especially when they have done something extraordinary. It makes them feel admired and appreciated.
In my experience, I try to be sincere and specific when giving compliments. I just make sure not to overdo it.
Tip #2 Do not nurse their insecurities.
People with low self-esteem tend to be sensitive about their image and other people’s perspective of them.
As a friend, I empathize with them. But I try not to fan the flame of their self-belittling inclinations.
Tip #3 Affirm their sentiments.
It is very common for some of our friends with low self-esteem to speak poorly of themselves to us. This only adds to their tendency of wallowing in self-pity which never gets them anywhere.
If they say, “I’m so ugly,” responding curtly with, “Of course not,” might undermine their feelings. I say instead, “I’m sorry you feel down in the dumps today. Why did you say that? Did something happen?”
A study from the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University found that cheering and giving encouragement to people with low self-esteem do not help them at all.
Tip #4 Be a good listener.
Stephen R. Covey, the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change said, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
Sometimes people with low self-esteem don’t really need our unsolicited advice about how to think or act when their insecurities kick in. We may be tempted to do so. But oftentimes they just need someone to listen. Or perhaps a shoulder to cry on.
Tip #5. Help them identify their strengths.
It is very easy for us to identify our friends’ strengths that they haven’t recognized themselves.
Usually, I’d help my friends identify their strengths by pointing out their talents and hobbies that they are really good at.
Tip #6. Praise their accomplishments.
I try to celebrate the daily milestone in their lives, however negligible it may be. This constantly reminds them of their successes whenever they are facing obstacles that they feel are too difficult to overcome.
Making them recite self-esteem affirmations over and over help in building self-belief and confidence that they can overcome challenges.
Thoughts are powerful. Self esteem affirmations and visualization videos like the ones found in MindZoom may aid them in shifting their self-deprecating thoughts.
Tip #7. Help them challenge themselves.
Encourage them to try different things. Help them find out where they are good at. You may also motivate them to join groups and organizations that would let them do confidence building activities. It might make them improve their talents and skills. They might even discover a dormant talent in the process.
Tip #8. Refer them to counseling.
At times, when I feel that there is nothing much I can do, I refer them to a professional counseling service since there may be deeper issues like depression.
Finally, people suffering from low self-esteem need genuine friendship, love, and support from family and friends. These could make them build their confidence and ultimately, self-worth.