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Please Help: Serious Problems With Self-Esteem

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Hello there. I'm new here and I really need your help.


I always thought that I suffered low self-confidence, but after meeting my boyfriend I realized how very very self conscious I am of the way I look and that I have a serious problem with my self-esteem.


We are long distance, and always have been. There are the in between visits that never last that long. But we've been going out for five years and he has recently proposed to me. I love him and I know that I always want to be with him. He's a very kind and decent person and we have something special. The problem is, I constantly put myself down.


Now he doesn't know much about this, and I rarely talk to my best friend about this dark side. I now have mild acne, which was caused I think by stress or something and I'm getting it treated. I hate my smile, even though there is nothing visibly wrong with it. Recently I noticed there is slight discoloration in two areas in my teeth which is caused by drinking coffee. When I noticed it, I don't know why but I felt so ashamed of myself and that I don't deserve love. I have a decent weight of 115/120 lb. It fluctuates but I feel I need to be hitting the gym all the time because I need to shape up.. these are the most important things.


I think I have a problem with perfection. I am an atrractive girl, I know I am and I've been told that lots of times and maybe a thousand by my boyfriend who adores me. But there is this ugly side of me that stands in the way.


Anyone been through this? Will this ever change and how can I fix it? I'm 27 and I kinda feel that I won't handle aging the way I'm supposed to. I always feel that there is something to do to look more beautiful.


Please Help..

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Hello Sherry

Welcome to ENA...I can totally relate to you on this issue...I have struggled with this same issue for as long as I can remember. My ex would often comment on how it made no sense to him that I was so kind and thoughtful to those around me and yet so hurtful and utterly mean to myself.

I wish i could give you a fool proof plan for getting over this but I can't...i have good days and bad days. I will tell you some of the things that have helped me.

Someone once told me to soften my gaze when I look in the mirror...I can find EVERY flaw on face and my body..I know every scar, mark, discolouration..all of it! When i look at myself I try to just see my overall appearance instead of focusing in on my flaws...

I have spent a lot of time in the past while learning more about who i am as a person and what i value...in doing so I have learned that I am pretty unique and I kind of dig that about myself...takes the pressure off being perfect...I would take unique over perfect any day!!!

What are you doing in your life (work wise) another thing that has helped me is realizing that I made exactly the way I am supposed to be to make the most impact in my future career. I hope to help people who suffer from issues such as these (and many more) if i was one of the "perfect" people it would be impossible to help them because I would be too intimidating and they wouldn't be comfortable with me...

Positive self talk is KEY!!!!Do you journal? If you don't try starting and if you do...take the time to read over what you write and highlight the negative thought patterns you have and really examine them...what are they bringing to your life? you need to want it to be different in order to start change...

Have grace with yourself, striving for perfection is exhausting and impossible, know that you are human, you are beautiful, unique with different experiences and features from everyone else in this world. There is not one person with the same make up as you...what an awesome thought...

Be kind to yourself...life is hard when you are the one beating yourself up...

Hope this helps and if you ever need anything I really do know where you are at...


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It's really easy to say, "Oh, but you ARE pretty". And you probably are. But you've heard that lots of times and it doesn't help, does it? It sounds, to me, like you're stuck with issues similar to those that often cause eating disorders. I do recommend you talk with your Doctor about this.


A few random thoughts:


-Western society has "trained" our women to look down on themselves. To look in a mirror and see only what's wrong. I think that is what's going on with you, only much more so.


-Stop drinking coffee, it's bad for you.


-I can tell by the way you wrote you are no idiot. FWIW men, (those who aren't idiots, themselves) don't put a whole lot of stock JUST in a woman's looks. Personality counts for a LOT.


-So you're engaged? Mozel Tov!! I wish you all the best.


As I said before, talk to your Dr. In the meantime there are loads of books on self-esteem. Do some research. Read a few in the next few weeks. Let us know how things go.

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hey. Reading your post was like looking in the mirror. I have self esteem issues where even if someone says something that is meant to be a joke. Its there back of my mind and I rip myself apart for it later. Its like something you can't help. I have a fiancee and we were long distance about five years before I moved to be with him. There are times I feel like I don't deserve and I have said it. But like it was previously stated, it takes time. Do something for you every day. That is what I am in the midst of learning.

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aww, i didnt know you were engaged! congrats... i'm sure you'll be fine. I dont know how much books or a psych can help, but having a close group of friends can, and doing things to make you love yourself. for me it was getting some new clothes, working out and achieving a weight i'm happy with (I hope that weight for you is not anorexic though!!! I should say - a healthy weight) and doing things you love and are good at - whether swimming, aerobics, poetry, filmmaking... ,whatever. what boosts my confidence is usually doing well in school, actually, but lately that hasnt been helping for moi!!


anyway, those are usually the things that self-help books say, but try reading a few perhaps and most of all - STOP critical self-talk. Whenever I realized that I was being too perfectionist about myself, I tried to circle out of that and rephrase things to become more positive. I'm sure a lot of what you say about yourself is negative and that doesn't help. Psychs may be able to help in this respect by turning the negative self-talks into positive.

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I can totally relate to your situation. I have the same problem and am working on it in counseling. It probably has more to do with deeper issues than you are aware of, that's where counseling could be very helpful. So far, the comments you've gotten are right on target. Try to look at yourself in mirrors and see the attractive parts of you instead of focusing on what you deem as 'not perfect'. A small imperfection is normal and we base our looks on actors and actresses who always appear perfect in public (they are not; they work really, really hard to appear this way) or what society has prescribed as beauty.

Anyhow, it sounds like you are attractive as you already know it in some way and others affirm this, too.

Lastly, I'd say be good to yourself, pamper yourself, write down your good qualities and be sure that no one else is quite like you. This will reaffirm to yourself that not only are you attractive on the outside but also on the inside which is also important. Take Care and hope this helps.

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