What can friends and family do to help?

This section is for friends and family who want to support someone who has low self-esteem.

If you have a friend or family member who has low self-esteem, there are some things you can do to help:

  • Show them that you care for them and reassure them that you do value them by being affectionate, listening sympathetically, or simply by spending time with them
  • Remind them of the positive things, such as good qualities they have or positive things they have done
  • Avoid blame and reassure them that this is not their fault, and avoid saying things such as ‘pull yourself together’
  • Try to be patient; low self-esteem often builds up over many years and changing someone’s opinion of themselves can take a long time and they may need repeated reassurance.
  • Let them know that it is reasonable to feel bad from time to time, and that nobody feels happy and confident all of the time. It is important they don’t feel under pressure to live up to unrealistic expectations
  • Be encouraging
  • Offer practical support, such as offering childcare so that they can attend appointments
  • Help them seek appropriate treatment, particularly if you are concerned that low self-esteem is causing a mental health problem
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