We all have friends who are not feeling 100%. From adolescence to young adulthood to farther on in life, we are constantly battling with our concept of pride, worth, self appreciation and achievement – and these days there is certainly enough social fodder to influence us either way. When you are feeling at the top of your game, it's easy to notice the people who are not. We see what we are looking for; usually we want to find happy people, so we notice happy people. But every now and then we see that one of our friends is not keeping up with the rest of us. Their confidence is dropping, and their sense of self esteem is at an all time low. Life comes in waves; it happens to all of us. There are a plethora of reasons why people become depressed or otherwise emotionally lesser off. Here are some things to look out for if we fear our friends have a plummeting sense of self worth, and some ideas to help recharge them.
1. Apologizing for everything
Not only reserved for Canadians, people who are depressed and consider lowly of themselves will find themselves also apologizing for everything and anything. They feel as though any inconvenience to others is a direct result of their presences and input. They cannot see their being as ever being a positive contribution to the social network, and because of that, any time they feel like there is a problem they see themselves as directly being the source of that.
If you have friends like this, the best thing to do is try and keep them laughing and smiling. Of course when we have small social problems we laugh it off, and can see the bright side of things – people with low confidence cannot. Without being obvious, you need to keep the mood light and in doing this, remind them that there is no one at fault.
There is no rulebook to life, and at some point, our parents stop guiding us and we have less people to influence our decisions. People with low self esteem have lived their whole lives feeling like they have made irreparable errors in their lifestyle which is what has lead them to living the life they do now. They dwell on regret and are so afraid to continue making "mistakes" that when it comes to making a decision, they just cannot do it. They will ask everyone they know for advice, and push it away – they will take weeks to decide on something and never feel confident about their choice.
Here we must remind each other to just trust your gut instinct. Most decisions have only one or two choices; remind them not to overthink it (not to overthink anything), and simply follow their "gut". They need to learn to trust their intuition, and although it takes years of practice, eventually we all develop a stomach we can trust.
3. Afraid to make eye contact
Due to their self-deprecating sense of lifestyle when it comes to apologizing and indecision, these types of people have a hard time making or keeping eye contact. It all comes down to body language – body language is a direct sign of your level of confidence. Confident people can greet others with firm handshakes and strong smiles and eye contact; conversely, those on the other end of things have limp hands and are afraid to look others in the eye.
It may be aggressive, but forcing eye contact might be a way to make low people feel like it is more necessary for them to do it and make them more comfortable as well. Their confidence level needs to be addressed, not shunned. If they are prompted to provide eye contact more often, they will think about it more and work on it, and their self esteem will develop in turn.
4. Unable to accept compliments
People with low confidence consider themselves to be in the lowest caste of society. They have lived their lives not feeling "worthy" or "necessary" to others. It is really too unfortunate. Thusly, they have a very hard time accepting good gestures and compliments from others. They do not feel worth it; perhaps they feel like you are lying to them because they can sense your sympathy – this is paranoia, another symptom of low self esteem. You should continue to compliment them (but do not use white lies to try and promote them; be honest), and with your sincerity hopefully they will start to appreciate themselves more as they age and learn.
5. Self destructive sense of humour
Consequently, when these people show their sense of humour, they have no problem defeating themselves into it. They feel that a self destructive sense of humour would be reverberated by the group; like everyone would "agree" with it and understand it. Actually, of course, we find it demeaning and it is not a wonderful form of sarcasm. We should not laugh at their self-deprecating humour, and change the topic to a more pleasant thing when it occurs. Eventually they will see that their choice of jokes do not resonate well in the group and they will refrain from depreciating themselves in sarcasm.
6. Visibly poor health choices
Of course, people with low self confidence do not take care of themselves properly. They do not sleep enough because they stay up all night wallowing in self pity; they do not eat properly because they do not have the energy to find healthy food choices; they do not exercise because they don't see the benefit or purpose of it. You can help. Take your friend to healthy food stores and let them see better options for themselves. Take them to the beach to get some sun and walking in. Do something exciting during the day so that they have no choice but to be tired at night. The little things go a long way, and take a lot of time, to people who have low self esteem, but it's always worth it.