How to Help a Woman with Low Self Esteem

How to Help a Woman with Low Self Esteem

Do you (or a woman you know) tend to never hear the loudest compliments but easily pick up the slightest slur? Many women don’t think much of themselves and have deep insecurities often due to flaws (imaginary ones, I must say) in their physical features.

In an earlier post, I shared some useful tips to help a man with low self-esteem. Today, I’ll like to explore how to help a woman with low self esteem. If you are a woman struggling with low self-esteem or know one who does, this article is for you.

I’ll start by explaining what low self-esteem looks like in women, the causes, and the signs to look out for. Then together, we’ll explore ways to improve self-esteem in women.

Let’s get started.

Women and Low Self-Esteem

Both men and women face self-esteem issues, but research shows that women are more sensitive to emotional feedback than men. This means they are likely to pick up on any slight hint of rejection or disapproval, just as they are quick to feel happy.

The reason for this is not too difficult to understand. Hormonal surges in women coupled with decades of conditioning contribute to many women’s general lack of self-confidence.

From a biological perspective, women have a larger “worry center” in their brains. This explains why women tend to worry more than men and are more susceptible to anxiety disorders. The next time you see a woman fret about whether or not she’s a good mother, the taste of her cooking, or just being hard on herself, now you know why she’s having such thoughts.

Unfortunately, this type of thinking pattern leans more toward the negative, and if left unchecked, it can do a lot of damage to a woman’s way of seeing herself. Continuous negative self-talk can significantly impact her self-worth and self-confidence so much that she’ll end up thinking of herself as damaged goods.

What Causes Low Self-Esteem in Women?

women with marks on face
Image source: Pixabay

Women with low self-esteem are not born that way. In fact, no one is born with low or high self-esteem, regardless of gender. In other words, everyone learns how to feel good or bad about themselves from their environment.

In other words, the environment or upbringing is one of the major factors that affect a woman’s self-esteem. Young girls are highly impressionable, and if their childhood is characterized by overly critical parenting, they will likely grow up with a poor perception of their self-worth.

The following statistics about girls and women should give you an idea of how the environment affects their self-esteem:

  • 1 in 4 girls today experience eating disorders, depression, and other emotional or mental disorders.
  • 53% of American girls are unhappy with their bodies by age 13.
  • 92% of teenage girls want to make changes to how they look.
  • 74% of girls experience pressure to please people.

Besides environment and upbringing, being in a bad relationship can hurt a woman’s self-esteem. This is especially the case if her partner constantly abuses her emotionally and physically.

Enduring constant physical illness can also contribute to low self-esteem, just as women with mental illness can suffer from poor self-perception.

Low Self-Esteem in Women: Signs to Look Out For

Not sure whether you or a woman you know has low self-esteem? The following signs point to issues with self-worth in women.

Extreme Fear of Failure

Women with low self-esteem hardly take on challenges because they are afraid of failing. They are afraid of standing out and being unique. They prefer being in the shadows and living in obscurity.

They believe they won’t succeed at anything and will amount to nothing, so there’s really no need to try. This is often a result of several years of negative self-talk.

Feeling Embarrassed to Ask for Help

You likely have a serious case of low self-esteem if you assume that others will think less of you just because you asked for support or help.

Everyone needs help once in a while, but people with low self-esteem think they will appear incompetent when they ask for help.

Being Overly Defensive

Another indication of low self-esteem is being overly defensive about something. A woman who does this may secretly fear that others will see her inadequacies (often imagined inadequacies), so she fiercely defends her opinion or position. She might even get aggressive while trying to prove her point. This is a clear sign of low self-esteem.

Being a People Pleaser

Do you go out of your way just to try to please others? It is a sign that you’re not very sure of yourself or have little respect for who you are.

A woman with low self-esteem usually doesn’t voice her opinions. Instead, she goes along with the general opinion or the opinion of those with some kind of authority over her. This is in a bid to gain favor or to be likable. Unfortunately, people hardly like a yes-woman or doormat.

Feeling Stuck in Your Problems

Low self-esteem can prevent you from seeing other things outside your problems. It feels as if life dealt you a bad hand in almost all aspects. This usually leads to the erroneous thinking that says, “I am always unlucky.

Feeling Inadequate

Feeling inadequate is a sign that you are struggling with self-acceptance. This often leads to withdrawal from interactions, especially when you feel others are better than you. This destructive assumption also stems from negative comparison.

Low self-confidence

One of the sure-fire signs of low self-esteem is a lack of self-confidence. If you are constantly second-guessing yourself or putting yourself down, you are doing a lot of damage to how you perceive yourself.

7 Effective Tips on How to Help a Woman with Low Self Esteem

confident women
Image source: Pexels

1. Live in the Present

One of the things that worrying does is rob you of the joys and blessings in your present moment because it has your attention riveted on potential future failures that may never happen. This negatively affects your self-confidence.

But for many women, the problem is not so much about the future. It is about their past mistakes. They hold on too tightly to something in their past they’re not too proud of and re-enact the negative emotions associated with that mistake to torture themselves in the present.

This is like continuously paying for a mistake that you’ve paid for.

Here’s the deal. We all make mistakes, and it is nothing to be ashamed of since mistakes are essential parts of learning.

Let go of any past mistakes. You’ve already paid for them.

Use the lessons you learned from your mistakes to live more confidently in your present moments.

2. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Have you ever paused to consider the origin and meaning of the word “individual?” Here’s a quick etymology lesson. It’s not a boring one, I promise!

The word “individual” originates from the Latin word “individuus,” which is a combination of “in” (not) and “dividuus” (divisible).

Bottom line: you are an individual – you are not divisible. You are unique! And no one in the entire universe is exactly like you.

Why is this important?

When you recognize this truth, you will stop comparing yourself to others. You are not here to be like anyone else, so why compare yourself to others?

You don’t have to look like someone else, have what someone else has, talk like someone else, or be popular like someone else. All you have to do is be yourself! Is that such a huge relief?

Negative comparison is the single, most damaging thing you can do to your self-confidence and self-worth.

You mustn’t be great or even good at everything. Measuring yourself by what other people are good at is totally unfair to yourself.

Stop comparing yourself to any other person, and simply focus on doing the best you can in whatever thing you do.

3. Stop Worrying

worried women
Image source: Pixabay

I know it’s easier said than done, especially when you are up against complex chemical processes in your brain. But if you put in the effort, you can reduce the effect of hormones surges that tends to make women worry too much.

First, understand that excessive worrying doesn’t make things better. If anything, it can make you act prematurely and worsen your situation.

If you think your future is bleak, obsessing about negative “what ifs” isn’t going to change it. Your best bet would be to take concrete actions that can alter whatever fears you have of the future.

However, if you continue worrying about something you have no control over, you will mess up your present condition, even when the future fear may not be real.

Consider practicing meditation for positive thinking. This will help you identify unhelpful thought patterns and avoid them.

4. Be Kind to Yourself

Each time you catch yourself in self-talk – something we do almost all the time – pause and listen to the words to say to yourself.

I’m not suggesting that you stop the self-talk, whether it is negative or positive. Just listen to the words or thoughts and ask yourself: “Would I say these words to a dear friend?”

If you wouldn’t say them to someone you love, you shouldn’t tell yourself those words.

Being kind to yourself start with saying nice things about yourself. This is especially true when no one is listening except you. What you consistently tell yourself will eventually sink into your subconscious mind, and you’ll start believing it to be true, even if it is not.

Instead of constantly second-guessing and putting yourself down, tell yourself positive words. Here are some positive affirmations that can rewire your brain and help you improve your self-esteem.

5. Celebrate Your Accomplishments

Give yourself a pat on the back whenever you achieve or accomplish something, no matter how big or small it is.

Don’t wait for some major milestone to celebrate yourself.

Practice writing down your small and big wins daily if possible. The more you note your achievements, the better you will feel about yourself and the more things you will want to accomplish.

6. Get Active

women during morning jogging
Image source: Pixabay

Engaging in regular physical activities like exercises can give your brain a boost of “happy” hormones (dopamine) and “feel-good” hormones (serotonin). Little wonder people feel great about themselves after a healthy dose of workout.

Being physically active does not only help you stay fit; it also improves your overall mood and puts you in a good frame of mind.

However, if your low self-esteem stems from insecurity about your body, I strongly suggest you get help from a professional before using exercises. This way, you won’t overdo things or fall into the trap of negative comparison.

7. Take Baby Steps

Quantum leaps are usually practical and are hardly sustainable. You’re not likely going to change yourself overnight, so take things slow and be patient with yourself.

Don’t engage in self-blame or self-pity if you find yourself faltering and making mistakes. Remember that kids fall and whack their heads many times when learning how to walk. But that doesn’t mean they’ll give up on their goal of learning how to walk.

You will make mistakes, even when you take baby steps toward regaining your self-esteem. But like little kids, keep going and never give up!

Final Thoughts

Going from someone with low self-esteem to someone with high self-esteem won’t likely happen within a week or two. I can’t promise a definite timeline of when you’ll start to see changes since everyone is different and our circumstances are not the same.

But here’s something you can be sure of: you can improve your self-esteem as a woman, no matter how “damaged” you think you are!

And if you are a man reading this post, you now know how to help a woman with low self esteem. Encourage her to practice these steps daily, and little by little, she’ll start to notice positive improvements.

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