If you're constantly second-guessing yourself throughout life, you are probably one of the millions of people who suffer from low self-esteem.
Tune in as Dr. Joan Rosenberg shares the definition of low self-esteem, the typical causes of this occurrence, and how you can overcome the issue.
Get a lift in self-confidence during this enlightening segment and learn how to build higher self-esteem.
RadioMD Presents: Wellness for Life Radio | Original Air Date: May 8, 2015
Host: Susanne Bennett, DC
Guest: Joan I. Rosenberg, PhD
It's time to feel better with help from Dr. Susanne Bennett. Allergies, nutrition, ultimate wellness all discussed right here, right now. It's Wellness For Life Radio on Radio MD. Here's your host, Dr. Susanne.
DR SUSANNE: Do you ever find yourself feeling like you're not good enough? You're always feeling like you're waiting for others to approve of you and your actions because you just don't want to make any mistakes? You are feeling a lot of shame and you have a tendency to be really hard on yourself? Well, you're not alone. You may be among the millions of people who suffer from low self-esteem. My next guest has 30 years of experience on the topic and she's here to lift you up and give you some great tips on how to develop higher self-esteem. Please welcome professional speaker, bestselling author and psychologist, Dr. Joan Rosenberg. Thank you Dr. Joan. So what's the cause of low self-esteem?
DR JOAN: What's the cause of low self-esteem?
DR SUSANNE: Yes. What is it?
DR JOAN: Well, what I think? Well, let's start with what self-esteem is because it's a pretty broad topic and I like to think of self-esteem as taken from Nathaniel Branden's early work on the topic when he described it. It's this idea that you not only feel worthy of good things, you feel capable and confident to achieve or go after whatever you want. So, it's kind of this notion of I'm worthy of good stuff and I'm capable of going after it. Low self-esteem then would be, not…Obviously feeling the opposite of that. You feel neither worthy nor capable.
DR SUSANNE: Right and this all happens at such a young age because we see that in our children and I truly believe that a lot of it is because our children actually mimic our parents and we are models and the people that we actually look up to also have low self-esteem. What do you think about that?
DR JOAN: I would agree with you. I think that and, in fact, I'm going to be doing a talk in couple weeks on the importance of parents dealing with their own emotional kind of stuff, if you will, for lack of a technical term, because when parents don't work out their own issues or concerns or the way that they were raised, oftentimes they visit that to their children and they will be mean to their children, they'll be hurtful to their children, they'll tell their children that they're not worthy or that they didn't want them or that they're stupid or any number of other things that really undermine a child's ability to believe in his or her own capabilities. So, it has a huge impact. It has a huge impact.
DR SUSANNE: I know. I see this all the time and you can see even in the shopping mall when you're shopping and you see parents really grabbing their child and yelling at them. I actually feel that parents don't know how, they don't have any other way, they don't have any idea of how else they can treat their kids and, just by default, that's what they do, because that's what they were taught and their parents treated them this way. So, obviously, one of the causes of low self-esteem can be from life events. Life events that you are dealing with, with parents. What else causes low self-esteem?
DR JOAN: You know, I think that there's a challenge for folks and, again, I tie this to my ideas around emotional strength, as being part of what can help someone, then, develop high self-esteem but the cause then, or some of the cause then is somebody's own inability to handle the unpleasant outcomes in life. So, if I don't handle disappointment well as a child and I avoid activities or I avoid experiences that might put me about to face disappointment and I avoid those things, I never develop a sense of confidence. I never have my sense of being capable of handling upsets and, as a result, I lead a very restrictive life. So, those kinds of things can also contribute to low self-esteem. So, it's not just what parents may say or do that are hurtful to the child and undermines that child’s sense of self, but it's also as an individual. If I don't go out and try things and find that I can handle things when they don't work out, that also can lead to low self-esteem.
DR SUSANNE: Got it. So, you mentioned a really interesting term, emotional strength. So, emotional strength is like the integrity of how you deal with trauma or deal with day to day actions. What else is that? What else is emotional strength?
DR JOAN: I break it down into two aspects and I'm sort of on a mission to redefine what emotional strength's all about. We get this stereotype view of it, of thinking that it means shutting down or stiff upper lip or all sorts of kind of phrases like that. For me, it involves two things. It involves feeling capable and feeling resourceful. If I can, I want to break that down for you. Feeling capable basically involves being aware of and kind of in touch with what's going on inside of you. It means that you're aware of what you think and you're aware of what you feel, in that you're able to, again, handle unpleasant feelings. I think that this is really interestingly enough at the core of stuff and I don't think of unpleasant feelings as bad or negative. They're simply unpleasant. None of us wants to experience them but we need to be able to actually move through life with much greater ease. The second has to do with feeling resourceful. When I think about feeling resourceful, for me that means that you feel okay doing things alone and you feel comfortable leaning on people when you need to. And we’ve got to do both in life or we have to be able to do both in life so that when you feel resourceful then you're able to ask for help and then you can acknowledge your needs and limitations. You can ask for help and then you can, hopefully, easily receive what people give to you. So, it's this inside aspect and this outside aspect that's a part of emotional strength. Am I making sense?
DR SUSANNE: Yes. Yes. I love the fact that you share about how it's important to, like you said, lean on and, I suppose, really trust your own instincts within yourself but when you need, help don't forget to ask, don't forget to ask those people.
DR JOAN: Right and what I watched, Susanne, is that a lot of people when they won't acknowledge need, or their limitations, and they won't ask for help, because they see asking for help as weakness.
They see need as weakness and that's why this whole notion of me putting, asking for need, recognizing and asking for help as emotional strength. It's really emotional strength that can do that--not weakness. So, again, it's feeling capable, which means you can handle unpleasant feelings and it's feeling resourceful which means that you can recognize need and ask for help and those two those elements are what comprise emotional strength.
DR SUSANNE: And once you obviously develop emotional strength, it's all about building your self-esteem. It's all part of it, isn't it? The two of them together?
DR JOAN: Yes, absolutely. It totally contributes to it because when you have; when you feel capable and you feel resourceful, then you're going to go after stuff that you want to go after. You’re going to go pursue the goals and dreams that you have, and it means that you're going to be able to face the outcome of the challenges, or the frustrations or the disappointments that you meet along the way. So, the key here is that when we then go after stuff, we'll be able to handle it, and that, again, is when we have that high self-esteem. It's like, “Oh, I can go do this and it's alright if it doesn't turn out. I can handle it.”
DR SUSANNE: It's all a win-win situation where once we start to see ourselves as we're capable people and competent, then our esteem ends up rising. Thank you so much, Dr. Rosenberg for this uplifting information. For my listeners who want to learn more about developing higher self-esteem go to Drsusanne.com/DrJoan. Drsusanne.com/DrJoan or go to my Wellness for Life radio show page. This is Dr. Susanne with natural strategies for ultimate health and wellness. Until next time, stay well.