Sometimes the best gift you can give a downcast friend is your own perspective on what a special person they truly are.
Step 1: Pay attention Pay attention to how your friend talks about herself. Does she say she is fat, ugly, or stupid? Don’t let that kind of comment go unchallenged, because negative self-talk reinforces low self-esteem.
Step 2: Counter negative talk Counteract negative talk with realistic feedback. If the person says she’s stupid, point out that she’s a whiz at crosswords, or the only family member who can program the computer. Simply saying 'you shouldn’t feel that way' doesn’t help.
Step 3: Make an effort Make a conscious effort to mention things about her that you truly admire.
TIP: Never give a false compliment. People know when they are being patronized, and a phony compliment will do more harm than good.
Step 4: Spend time Spend more time with the person. When she talks, really listen. If she sees how good you feel about her, she’ll start to feel good about herself.
Step 5: Keep positive people around Keep her surrounded by positive people. Invite her to participate in fun group activities. When it goes well, she’ll feel more accepted.
Step 6: Stop the comparisons Don’t let her keep comparing herself to other people. Of course there’s always going to be someone better than she is at something—that’s true for all of us. Instead, have her focus on how great she is.
Step 7: Hang in there Hang in there. Low self-esteem is not something that can be fixed in a day or two. It may take months of showing the person how special she is for her to start believing it.
FACT: Self-esteem begins developing at a very young age, so the sooner the positive messages begin to be learned, the better.