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Something has to change.

Thread starter #1
I don't like myself, and I don't know what to do about it.

I love making people happy. I want to be useful, to make a difference to someone. The problem is that I don't like being around people. It's emotionally exhausting trying to do and say the right thing all the time, always feeling inferior and like if I make a decision the whole world will come crashing down. I waste all this time wishing I wasn't so shy and awkward, or wishing I was more creative or more intelligent, or even just really passionate about something, when none of those things are true. I want to focus on my strengths, like my Mom wishes I would, but I don't know how. I'm not even sure I know what my strengths are.

It makes me feel even more pathetic when I'm sitting around like this feeling sorry for myself when I should just get out there and do what I have to do. But it's so hard... I feel like I owe the world more than this. I'm terrified that I'll never do anything with my life. I'm afraid once I'm out in the real world I won't be able to make friends. I'm afraid no one will want me at a job because I have such pathetic oral communication skills. But simply by believing that, I'm worried it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. I want to be logical about these things, but my emotions keeping paralyzing me. Sometimes I feel so alone and distant from everything in the world except my Mom, but I think I rely on her too much. She's the only person who can bring me back from feeling like the scum of the Earth. I've been trying to train myself to do it on my own, but sometimes I just can't talk myself out of it. My greatest fear in the world is that she's not always going to be here to do it for me, and my emotional dependency runs too deep for me to break free of it.

Guess I'm just wondering, does anyone have any tips or ideas for improving self-esteem? Because I feel like something has to change; I just don't know what.


Active Member
A couple things. The only way to raise your self-esteem is to not worry about what others think and concentrate on being the best person you can be at this moment. Those expectations on yourself to more productive just aren't realistic until you're less depressed. My anxiety is very disabling so I just make a goal of doing one productive thing a day that I know can be finished that day. Anything beyond that is gravy, icing on the cake. I'm also surprised at you having "pathetic verbal skills" when you have such good writing skills. Your verbal skills are probably better than most when you're feeling comfortable.
Thread starter #3
Thanks :) Actually, I am a writing major at college for the simple reason that it's the way I communicate best. My speaking is horrific, especially around strangers. When I was a kid, I would pretty much freeze when new people tried to talk to me. I've gotten quite a bit better, but I still struggle when I'm put on the spot.

I do wish I could just stop worrying about what other people think. I've been working on it... even have my own mantra I tell myself every day. But it takes so much to build me up and so little to push me back down. For whatever reason, even when I succeed at something, I have a hard time just letting myself be happy about it. I always find something else.


Active Member
So what did you think of my mantra about daily goals? I have the same inclination to not let myself be happy, as if I don't deserve to be, so I make sure I find something negative about what ever was making me happy. It's hard to find people who actually have a high self-esteem. Many appear to have it but it's pretty much all show for most of them. You're not alone. If you have some close friends, I'm sure they'll admit to low self-esteem also.
I'd check out your college counseling center to see what resources they have for students in your situation. Don't be shy about it as so many of your fellow students are in similar situations.
Thread starter #5
Yes, I think having the goal of doing at least something productive every day is good. Absolutely try to be happy about the little things! I've been thinking about trying counseling services at school recently, but I haven't gotten up the guts to do it. Up until a few months ago, I never wanted to talk to anyone about this stuff other than my mother. I used to wonder why I would want to talk to some stranger about my problems. But ever since I started college I feel like I've slowly been getting worse. The more I learn, the more stupid and insignificant I feel. Everyone always thought I was mature and wise beyond my years when I was in middle school and high school. The truth is that it was just fear. It's still just fear. And I get that fear can be a good thing sometimes, that it can keep you safe. But it isn't when it cripples you - when it holds you back from learning and trying new things. I was never an assertive child, but sometimes I wonder how much of it came naturally and how much was learned. For about the first month of my first grade year, I was emotionally abused by my teacher until my Mom found out and pulled me out of the class. I grew up in a household with a Grandmother who has always walked the line between wanting to coddle me to death and believing no one in her house could ever be right except her. I love her more than my own life, but I was terrified of her as a child, and still am. And I know that has to contribute to my extreme sensitivity to criticism, but I don't really know how I could ever talk about all that to someone face to face.


Active Member
Just keep in mind that everything is relative. Your fears are just as significant to you as someone with realistic fears, say someone with a terminal illness. What you've got going will be a piece of cake for a counselor who has listened daily to things considered much more embarrassing than the insecurities, fears and your reaction to them. So take the leap. You don't want to keep living like this, so make yourself be willing to accept some help.