Question: My good friend is a very talented, smart, and capable girl but she severely lacks self-esteem. I think it is mainly because of her weight. How can I, as a friend, and she herself help build up her self esteem and a positive self image?
Answer: This is a very personalized and difficult question to answer. I would say that in general, if a person has low self-esteem you want to give them a feeling that they are in fact needed, wanted, and can give to the world. Give them opportunities to help in any way possible. Let them feel as though you need them. The more a person feels that they are giving to others the more they will feel appreciated. It sounds strange, but it is true. The basis of love is giving. A test of how much a person loves another is how much they are willing to give to them or give up for them. If your friend feels that she is needed and has to give, then she will love, and in turn be more loved. That is how we build ourselves up.
Second, encourage her to have hobbies. Find the things that she likes to do and help her to do more of those things. We are all happier when we are busy doing things that we like doing. The worst thing for a person is to be dormant and not busy with things they enjoy.
Third, introduce her to the smile. I always tell people that we have a happy hormone. It is scientifically proven that the more we smile the happier we are. Smiling and laughing releases a hormone in the body that makes us happier. It is just plain scientific fact. So, laugh with her more and get her to initiate happy conversation. Don’t let her sit and feel sorry for herself all the time.
There is a lot more to say on the topic, and I know that this is very general, but this can be a very serious issue and needs personalized attention. If at any time you feel as though what you can give her is not enough it is important to make sure that she is not really depressed. There is a difference between someone who is just down sometimes and someone who really has a problem with clinical depression. Just be aware of her and how much you can give to her. Good luck and I wish you both happiness and harmony in your lives.