How To Help Someone With Low Self Esteem

With the daily grind and routines we are accustomed to, life can be pretty demanding and stressful. On top of this we seem to live in a society where thin is sexy, fashion is cool and imagery is everything. This means it’s easy to feel singled out and isolated which can be really affect a person’s outlook on life..

With this in mind it’s clear to see why more and more people are experiencing low self esteem. When learning or trying to understand how to help someone with low self esteem it’s important to understand that there’s more to having low self esteem than just feeling worthless or lacking motivation.

Our self esteem is the opinion we hold about our self, our self-worth and our expectations of ourselves. For some these expectations and opinions can be extremely low which can be caused by a number of factors. One of the more predominant factors though is the experiences that we encounter throughout life. These experiences “mold” us into who we are now and shape our opinions of ourselves and our self belief systems.

For some it may simply be a case of going through a bad phase in their life such as being in a job where they are not happy and feeling undervalued, or perhaps the criticisms of a loved one. For others however their is a much deeper psychological issue that can stem from bad childhood experiences such as being bullied at school.

How to Help Someone With Low Self Esteem

Many people will tell you just to be gentle and considerate around the person and to point out their strengths and attributes. However, the person experiencing low self esteem will hold images and beliefs of their-selves in their mind which can over power any thoughtful words or gestures someone may make.

Firstly and most importantly is to understand the severity of the person’s low self esteem. If you know the person well then they shouldn’t present to many barriers in discussing this with you. As stated it may be that their issues stem from their childhood or that they’re experiencing a particularly traumatic phase in their life for some reason.

Dependent on how well you know the person.. You will need to approach it as a friend and really try to understand why they hold a low opinion of their-self. Once you understand their circumstances better you can act accordingly.

Basically, you want to try to get to the root cause. In my experience low self esteem is often caused by issues from the past as opposed to current affairs although this certainly isn’t always true. If you do come to the understanding that the person has deep psychological issues regarding their past then it’s wise to seek professional help.

The other end of the spectrum are those who are experiencing low self esteem without any serious psychological issues but have developed a low opinion of there-selves. Unfortunately there’s nothing you can really do or say that will cure them straight away, just be supportive, patient and understanding.

They must overcome the barriers in their own mind which is oftentimes easier said than done! However, although we can’t directly affect the views and opinions a person holds about their-self, we can certainly nudge them along in the right direction and give them support. Consider the following tips to help someone with low self esteem..

Tips To Help Someone With Low Self Esteem

Self Image

Like the saying goes if we look good we feel good. People experiencing low self esteem will oftentimes let their appearance slip which is a direct reflection of how they feel inside. Obviously you can’t just show up with a bag of clothes and say get into these you’ll feel better for it, instead suggest a day out where you do some shopping.

You could also arrange the occasional day out with them or even just a meal in the evening somewhere. This will naturally give them a short term boost but more importantly they will feel obliged to at least make a little bit of effort.

Positive Talk

Negativity feeds negativity. If someone experiencing self esteem is surrounded by negative talk and influences it is going to affect their own self esteem in a negative manner. It certainly isn’t going to help matters anyway.

Try to be encouraging and positive around them and compliment them but not to blatantly. Remember people with low self esteem are very sensitive when it comes to others opinions of them. It’s also been proven that a positive gesture is much more powerful than a negative one in terms of emotional attachment so do bare that in mind.


As the person trying to help a friend or relative with low self esteem you will need to be patient. Dependent on the extent of the low self esteem it may take a while to see noticeable changes. People with low self esteem will often experience emotional free-fall which causes them to be slightly bitter and resentful, this can reflect in their attitude.

You’ll find they’re naturally defensive and quick to bite back if they dont agree with something you say or feel you’re putting them down. Let it go over your head, reacting will only cause more tension and lowers their self esteem.


Someone with low self esteem will tend to draw upon their weaknesses as opposed to their strengths. Without being blatant, try to point out their strengths and positive attributes no matter how trivial they seem and encourage them to work with their strengths not against them.

Don’t Mother Them

Going back to not “being blatant”! It’s extremely important that you draw a line in the sand and don’t over nurture them, doing so may make them feel more worthless. Be natural and sincere but also allow them the space they need, just let them know that you will always be there for them come rain or shine.




Posted in: Self Esteem

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