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How To Help Someone With Low Self Esteem?

How To Help Someone With Low Self Esteem

In this post, you’re going to learn how to help someone with low self esteem.

Sings of Low Self-Esteem

Signs of low self-esteem can manifest in various ways, and recognizing these signs is an important step towards addressing and supporting individuals who may be struggling with this issue.

1. Negative Self-Talk

Individuals with low self-esteem often engage in persistent negative self-talk, characterized by self-criticism, harsh self-judgment, and pervasive feelings of inadequacy.

They may use phrases like “I’m not good enough,” “I can’t do anything right,” or “I don’t deserve happiness.”

2. Perfectionism

An excessive need for perfection and a fear of making mistakes are common features of low self-esteem.

Individuals may set unattainable standards for themselves and experience intense frustration or self-condemnation when they perceive themselves as falling short of these expectations.

3. Social Withdrawal

Low self-esteem can lead to a tendency to withdraw from social interactions or avoid situations that may trigger feelings of vulnerability or rejection.

Individuals may struggle with initiating or maintaining social relationships and may experience heightened social anxiety.

4. Lack of Assertiveness

A reluctance to assert one’s needs, preferences, or boundaries can be indicative of low self-esteem.

Individuals may struggle to express themselves authentically, fear disapproval or conflict, and may prioritize others’ needs over their own.

Related: Top 18 Self Esteem Exercises (+FREE CBT For Self-Esteem Worksheets PDF)

5. Constant Comparison

People with low self-esteem often engage in frequent comparison with others, leading to feelings of inferiority and self-doubt.

They may perceive themselves as less competent, less attractive, or less successful than others, perpetuating a cycle of negative self-evaluation.

6. Self-Isolation

Individuals with low self-esteem may isolate themselves or have difficulty engaging in group activities due to feelings of unworthiness or a deep-seated belief that they do not belong.

This can contribute to a sense of loneliness and disconnection from others.

7. Over-Apologizing and Self-Blame

Apologizing excessively, shouldering unwarranted blame, and assuming responsibility for outcomes beyond their control are common behaviors among individuals with low self-esteem.

They may internalize negative events as a reflection of their inherent inadequacy.

8. Avoidance of Challenges

Individuals with low self-esteem may avoid taking on new challenges or pursuing goals, fearing failure and lacking confidence in their abilities.

This avoidance can lead to missed opportunities for personal growth and achievement.

9. Emotional Sensitivity

Heightened sensitivity to criticism, rejection, or perceived slights is often observed in individuals with low self-esteem.

They may react strongly to feedback or experiences that reinforce their negative self-perceptions, leading to emotional distress.

10. Physical Self-Neglect

Neglecting physical self-care, such as poor grooming habits, lack of exercise, or disregarding health needs, can be reflective of low self-esteem.

Individuals may struggle to prioritize their well-being due to a diminished sense of self-worth.

Related: Low Self Esteem Quiz

How To Help Someone With Low Self Esteem?

Here are evidence-based strategies and interventions to help someone experiencing low self-esteem:

1. Promote Self-Compassion

Encouraging the practice of self-compassion is essential in supporting individuals with low self-esteem.

This involves helping them develop a kind and understanding attitude toward themselves, especially when facing perceived inadequacies or setbacks.

Guided mindfulness exercises and self-compassion meditations can assist in fostering a more nurturing and non-judgmental inner dialogue.

2. Challenge Negative Self-Talk

Cognitive restructuring techniques can be employed to identify and challenge negative self-talk.

By assisting the individual in recognizing and reframing their automatic negative thoughts, they can develop more balanced and realistic self-appraisals.

This can involve replacing self-critical statements with more objective and compassionate perspectives.

Common negative self-talk may include:

  • I’m Not Good Enough
  • I’m a Burden to Others
  • I’ll Never Succeed
  • I’m Ugly/Fat/Unattractive

To reframe these thoughts, the following questions can help:

  • What Are Some Alternative Explanations?
  • What Would I Tell a Friend in This Situation?

Related: Negative Core Beliefs List (& 8 Tips On How To Challenge Them)

3. Encourage Self-Affirmations

Engaging in daily affirmations that emphasize one’s strengths, values, and capabilities can aid in gradually shifting self-perceptions.

Together, we can collaboratively identify meaningful affirmations and assist the individual in integrating them into their daily routine to counteract self-doubt and negative self-beliefs.

4. Build Self-Efficacy Through Mastery Experiences

Encouraging the individual to pursue activities and goals that align with their interests and strengths can foster a sense of mastery and competence.

By setting achievable objectives and celebrating incremental successes, they can cultivate a more positive self-concept rooted in personal achievement.

5. Foster a Growth Mindset

Supporting the adoption of a growth mindset can empower individuals with low self-esteem to view challenges as opportunities for learning and growth rather than insurmountable obstacles.

This involves cultivating a belief in the potential for personal development and resilience through effort and perseverance.

6. Validate Their Emotions

Validating the individual’s emotions and experiences without judgment is crucial in creating a safe and supportive environment.

By acknowledging their struggles and empathizing with their emotional distress, we can foster a sense of acceptance and understanding, which can lay the groundwork for positive change.

Related: Top 21 Emotional Writing Prompts To Process Emotions

7. Develop Coping Strategies

Collaboratively identifying and practicing healthy coping strategies, such as relaxation techniques, stress management skills, and emotion regulation methods, can equip the individual with practical tools to navigate challenging situations and regulate their emotional responses.

8. Encourage Self-Care

Promoting self-care practices, such as regular exercise, adequate sleep, balanced nutrition, and engaging in activities that promote relaxation and enjoyment, can contribute significantly to the individual’s overall well-being.

Prioritizing self-care reinforces the message that their physical and emotional needs are valuable and worthy of attention.

9. Cultivate Healthy Relationships

Exploring and nurturing positive social connections can provide a crucial source of support and validation for individuals with low self-esteem.

Encouraging them to engage in meaningful social activities and fostering opportunities for constructive social interactions can strengthen their sense of belonging and self-worth.

10. Address Perfectionistic Tendencies

Helping individuals recognize and modify perfectionistic tendencies can alleviate the self-imposed pressure to meet unrealistically high standards.

Encouraging a focus on progress rather than flawless outcomes can facilitate a more balanced and forgiving approach to personal expectations.

Related: Letting Go of Perfectionism: Best 20 Tips

11. Explore Underlying Issues

Investigating and addressing potential underlying issues, such as past traumas, maladaptive core beliefs, or unresolved emotional conflicts, can contribute to a deeper understanding of the factors contributing to low self-esteem.

This exploration can guide targeted interventions tailored to the individual’s specific needs.

Empty Nest Syndrome Worksheets


Incorporating these strategies within a supportive and empathetic therapeutic relationship can foster a collaborative and personalized approach to improving an individual’s self-esteem.

It is important to acknowledge that progress may take time and involve setbacks, and maintaining a consistent and validating presence throughout the process is paramount.

By Hadiah

Hadiah is a counselor who is passionate about supporting individuals on their journey towards mental well-being. Hadiah not only writes insightful articles on various mental health topics but also creates engaging and practical mental health worksheets.

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