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You, Your Family, and Low Self-esteem:

You do not do well enough and should do better. You worry about not being a good parent, not keeping up with family responsibilities, not living up to the expectations of others, and a myriad of other minor to major, trivial to important things. Your child frets about failing, not being accepted by peers, not doing well in sports and other activities, or messing everything up. Your spouse expects to be fired or passed over at work. You are a failure and will never succeed.

Self-esteem is an important ingredient in trying new things, taking a chance, working on difficult problems, and hanging in there when the going gets rough. It is your little voice saying, "You can do it; you will succeed."

When your self-esteem is low, your little voice's message changes. Expecting to succeed changes to expecting to fail. You do not start new projects or try new things. You will not venture out because things will turn out badly anyway. Why bother? If you do try, you quit at the first obstacle. When the going gets tough, you throw in the towel.

For you, low self-esteem is more than fearing failure and giving up too easily. You think you are not attractive and have serious doubts about yourself sexually. Your children think they will never be as good as others their age. Your adolescent's normal self doubt becomes a chronic sense of not fitting in and being a developmental reject who will never have friends and never be part of the group.

You do not like yourself and believe others share your bad opinion of you. "I'm sorry," is something you say a lot. If something bad happens or things do not work out, it is your fault. Just being you is reason enough to apologize. You put yourself down and can point out a thousand reasons why people do not like you and are just tolerating you. You might as well say how it is with you. It is true; and others are having the same thoughts about you anyway. If you do not fit in, you do not fit in. That is the way it is. That is the way you are.

You believe you are not an important part of your family. You do not belong there or anywhere else for that matter. You are not someone others love, others can love, others want to love. Why? It is obvious; and anyone who tells you it is not true is lying, is just trying to be nice. Why would anyone try to be nice to you? You honestly believe you are not worth the bother.

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Please send comments or questions to Gary A. Crow, Ph.D. GAC@GaryCrow.net