Feeling ok again

Being treated badly can make you lose confidence in yourself. Here’s some tips to help you feel ok again.

Your confidence and self-esteem is affected by…

other people – the way others treat you can affect how you feel about yourself. People who are abusive like to build themselves up by putting others down. They often want you to feel bad about yourself, and try to do things to bring you down.

your own ‘inner voice’ – if you focus on negative things, or tell yourself that you are hopeless or that you are to blame for everything that goes wrong, then this can also lower your confidence and self-esteem.

In turn, this can affect how you relate to others. You might find yourself trying too hard to please others. You might think your needs don’t matter, so you don’t stand up for yourself.

You can change your ‘inner voice’ and think more positively about yourself.

How are you thinking?

  • Don’t be hard on yourself or focus on mistakes.
  • Don’t blame yourself for the way other people act­. If someone has put you down, bullied you or hurt you, it says more about them than it does about you.
  • Focus on positive things like your achievements and good qualities. Try Dear Diary: feeling better about myself.
  • If a little voice inside your head says “But I was so stupid/weak/dumb to put up with that” (or something like that), fight back! Remind yourself: there’s nothing wrong with hoping someone will change, or giving someone a second (or seventh!) chance.
  • When someone has treated you badly it can be hard to know what to say or do – there’s nothing wrong with feeling confused. What’s wrong is the abuse.
  • Tell yourself that you don’t deserve to be treated this way.
  • Believe it’s not your fault. The other person has done the wrong thing – not you!
  • Be proud of the way you’ve been able to be strong and of the ways you have found to keep going while dealing with the stress and trauma of the abuse.

Ways to feel better

  • Get involved in something that interests you and that helps you connect with other people, like a sport or a hobby.
  • Do exercise or take up a sport – this can help you to feel fitter, stronger and less stressed.
  • Spend time with people who treat you with respect and make you feel good.
  • Talk to a counsellor who can help you to accept yourself and develop goals for the future.
  • Laugh out loud. See some funny movies with your friends or do something goofy.
  • Write your boyfriend/girlfriend or ex a letter that you don’t have to send, so you can get your feelings out.
  • Listen to your favourite music – something that makes you feel positive and strong.
  • Write your feelings down or start a journal.
  • Set goals and work towards them one step at a time – this can help you feel more in control of your life.
  • Hang out in a place that makes you happy and chilled – maybe a local park or at the movies.
  • Soak it all away with a bath.
  • Give yourself credit for every small step you take to build your self esteem.

The good thing about this whole experience is that it has made me, in a sense, a stronger person. It has taught me that if I can survive that then I can survive anything. It took a long time to get my sense of self back. I think I am actually a better person now than I was prior to going into that relationship because I had to question so much about myself.

See Alison’s story

Things to remember

  • You are just as important and worthwhile as anyone else.
  • You don’t have to match up to anyone’s standards except your own.
  • It’s ok to be different! You don’t have to be the same as everyone else.
  • You’re not alone. Other people have gone through similar tough times and have made it through. Read their stories and advice.
  • You have the right to express your personal, cultural or religious beliefs.
  • You have the right to have your own feelings, opinions and friends.
  • You deserve love and respect.

Photo above from Flickr by [email protected]/ / CC BY 2.0

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