Discussion Questions About Self-Esteem

Many of my readers send me questions about self esteem by email. I wrote this page to answer these questions and allow you to learn more from my answers. If you have any questions about self-esteem or self-confidence then please send them to me here. I will add them to this page if I think your question could help others.

Discussion questions about self-esteem can help you to build self-esteem and increase your self-confidence. The advice I give to my readers is based on more than 20 years of writing about this topic, publishing a successful book about self esteem, coaching clients, and suffering from low self esteem and depression in the past.

Hypnosis 5 Pack1

Self Esteem is not Selfish!

I received an email a while ago claiming that self esteem is selfish and that I was encouraging people to become selfish. The person who emailed me even said I was selfish. I couldn’t disagree with this more and really want to answer this as it is a common misguided opinion.

Believing that working on your self-esteem is selfish is a common mistake. However, wanting to improve yourself is a very positive goal. It is not an easy thing to do at all, but well worth the effort! It is not selfish to look for happiness and self-esteem. It is only selfish if you obsess about it and get so wrapped up in yourself you ignore others’ desires.

Why is self esteem important?

  • It will help you confront the world and its challenges
  • It is a weapon you need to fight lack of self confidence and depression

The Bible teaches that everyone is entitled to a high level of self esteem – for we are all special and equal.

Low self esteem, low self-confidence, and depression are three evils that stop us from being what we can be and obstruct us from giving our best to the world. If you have the right attitude you will seek to improve yourself so that you can give more to those around you and to the world at large. This is an unselfish view.

There is also the possibility that improving one’s self esteem could increase selfishness, but there is some evidence that volunteering to help others can improve self-esteem as this study of elderly people shows. Volunteering is a selfless act and if it boosts self-esteem, then it reveals a connection between self esteem and less selfishness, not more.

Accepting low esteem and remaining afraid to open up and confront these problems can cause depression, anger, frustration, and withdrawal. Lonely and depressed individuals are not likely to give much of themselves to others and are likely to hide away and avoid life and relationships. This is very selfish behavior because you are denying all you can offer to others and keeping it hidden inside you.

Narcissism is Selfish, Self-esteem Is Not.

Narcissism and high self-esteem are different, although there may be a small overlap where too much high self-esteem can be seen as selfishness. This article looks at the differences between these two terms and shows how narcissism negatively impacts relationships where self esteem is much more positive and unselfish.

Focusing on yourself and your problems too much is also selfish and not at all helpful. Give yourself a break and focus on elevating your self esteem, but don’t obsess. Have you ever considered helping others? Giving is a fantastic way to open yourself up to others and contribute to society.

How will increasing my self esteem help me be less selfish?

  • As you learn to respect yourself more, you will also begin to respect others more.
  • You will realise everybody has value, not only you.
  • You will find that helping others raises your self esteem – giving therefore becomes a win-win for you.
  • The value of what you give to others increases because you become more honest to who you really are. You are then able to give directly from your heart.
  • You will be happier and more pleasant to others. The kindness you begin to show yourself will reflect outwards and enable you to be kinder to others too.

So, build your self esteem and be less selfish! Give to others and you will receive twice as much back. Not that you should be looking for your own gain, but it will happen anyway!

If you have low self esteem or poor self-respect how can you respect or love others? Fix this and you open the way to a new life of unselfishness.

Questions About Self Confidence

“I am reading your book. Just finished chapter 1** I have a question. What do I need to work on if I feel confident about myself, but I feel others don’t. I value myself, but feel others don’t. What is this about?” – Zsa Zsa

**My book, published in 2009, Self Esteem Secrets.

I am glad you are enjoying the book I’ve written, Self Esteem Secrets. I’d love to know if you like it, and how it’s helping you? Others have sent me very positive comments which is great to hear!

Your question ” What do I need to work on if I feel confident about myself, but I feel others don’t. I value myself, but feel others don’t.”

This seems to show that you worry a lot about what other people think about you and that is affecting your self esteem. Is that so? Why do you worry so much about what others think? By doing this you give other people power over how you feel. Read this about how to stop worrying about what other people think.

Next time you are in a social situation and feeling confident try to focus less on how others react. If you become sensitive to others’ reactions and their response to you, then your self-consciousness can affect your thoughts and actions negatively. Rather than worrying about what others think, you need to be confident and relaxed so you can be at your best. Just concentrate on presenting yourself, smile, and be positive and others will respond to you positively.

When faced with challenges, try being optimistic about what you can do, and you are more likely to be successful. You can overcome fear if you are a positive person. By being more positive you attract success and happiness into your life rather than reject them.

You Need the Right Attitude to Be Confident

You may think you are confident, and you know that what others are thinking is wrong, but you still worry about what they say because, no matter what you do, you can’t seem to get the respect you believe you deserve. Are you concerned with getting respect from others who clearly have a problem with their own self confidence? If they do not value you, they are not worth your time. Just make sure that you value others as you wish to be valued by them. Or are you worried that what these people think will affect how other people see you?

Be responsible for your thoughts and feelings and that should be enough. You cannot control the thoughts of others. You cannot make them like you or respect you even if you deserve it. Change your attitude and look to be honest with yourself and with the world and if they don’t like who you are then that’s their problem!

You’ll find lots more help and advice in my special guide below:

A More Confident You Audio

Good luck!

Being watched by others

I get tensed up with every small thing when people are watching me. If I’m myself I can perform well. This thing is eating me up and I will be glad if you help me deal with it.

From what I can tell from your message, you feel a large level of pressure when someone is watching and waiting for you to do something however when it is something you are doing for yourself, you are more than competent at doing it. Stress and pressure are some of the worst things you will have to deal with in your lifetime. If you are feeling pressured performing a task or helping someone with something, just let them know. Tell them that your feeling a bit stressed and to give you some space and time. If they don’t understand that, then they don’t deserve your help. I wish you the best in fighting your stress; it’s a battle we are all fighting.

“How can I feel more confident when talking to colleagues?”

The trouble with colleagues is that you may feel they are more experienced or critical of you and this is why you lack confidence when you talk to them. My first piece of advice is not to avoid talking to them. To try to be yourself and be friendly. Talk about other things like general subjects to make conversation. Above all, smile!

To build confidence with colleagues listen more and agree with them. They want to be listened to and not told what they think. When you give an opinion just ask for their thoughts and if they agree. Have friendly discussions and always let them talk more than you do. They will respect you more and class you as an equal. Smile more and be natural. If you listen carefully you will see that no one has all the answers or knows better than you. Relax and stop feeling competitive. It is not a race or competition. Be yourself and they will respect you more and your confidence will improve… Good luck!

My Recommendations to Build Your Self Esteem

My answers will hopefully be helpful to you as you read this page, but there are so many great programs online that can help and expand your mind at the same time.

If you need some motivation and inspiration to build your self esteem then download one or more of these excellent hypnosis audios from the experts at hypnosisdownloads.com. Check them out now and support my work on this website.


How Important is it That Others Value You?

You say you feel others don’t value you. Two important questions about self esteem:

1. what is more important – how do others value you or how YOU value yourself?
2. how do you know what they think? How can you be sure? Many times we think we understand how others look at us and what they are thinking, but really it is a mystery. Can you read their minds? Perhaps you might be putting your own negative thoughts into their heads and imagining that they do not value you?

If you know for a fact that someone does not value you because of what they have said, then ask yourself if what they say is really true or if they could be covering up their own problems by saying hurtful things about you. Remember that if someone is talking badly to you or seeming to show little respect for you then you have a choice. Either believe what they say and suffer low confidence and esteem or refuse to accept what they say.

If you refuse to accept the attitude someone has towards you, if as you say you value yourself but he or she does not, you can simply decide to ignore them or prove they are wrong by your actions. All that matters is how you value yourself. If you allow others’ thoughts to become more important than yours, that is your choice.

Many people have the same problem as you do and the same questions about self esteem. We are all very good at blaming others for the situation we find ourselves in. What you must do is take responsibility for your thoughts and feelings. You must understand that only you give power to other people’s thoughts. Learn to value what you think, why should what others think be more important to you? Are you trying to please others? That is a mistake. You need to fix it.

To say that you feel confident and value yourself is one thing, but if you continue to worry about what others say or think about you, then you still lack confidence, otherwise, you would ignore these negative opinions, knowing they are wrong.

Find out how to get the respect of others, and make sure you understand why it’s so important. Self esteem depends on you believing you deserve respect, so be sure to put this advice into action!

Are you happy?

Are You happy?  It is a great Question but difficult to give a straight answer. You know well that ” Happiness is a State of Mind.” It’s difficult to quantify or measure in terms of units, and very subjective. Happiness should be felt by the brain/mind. and it is a creation of the mind. I feel by about 70 % of being happy is genetic and 30 % may be changed by training, education, environment, awareness, practice, etc.   The above view was sent to me by Ramachandran Venkataraman. Do you agree with this opinion? Drop a comment below.

Questions about Self Esteem Building

“Hi, Karl! I have questions about building self-esteem and self-acceptance. It’s sometimes hard to accept yourself and how you are and still at the same time aspire to get better. My goal is to get better self-esteem and confidence – it is my dream and I think about it often. After these thoughts, it is hard to accept that I am shy..”

It can be hard at times to accept yourself and when you feel shy it doesn’t help but when you focus solely on being shy and you constantly think about having low self esteem and worrying about what you look like and seem like to others, it not only shows itself more but it builds up in you and becomes worse and worse. If you keep thinking about one state of mind it will become how you live, you’re in a way brainwashing yourself. However, ignoring the issue is never a good thing because It comes back and you never really deal with it. It then becomes easy to fall back into old habits. What is it specifically that is causing you to have low self esteem and feel self-conscious? I know how painful shyness is. I used to suffer from it, and was so scared of talking to others. For this reason, I wrote this page about overcoming shyness, explaining a system I used to rid myself of the pain of shyness. This system can help you too, so check it out.

Accepting yourself as you are is the first step. Accept the reality and be honest with yourself. If you can change something then you should go ahead and do it. First, accept your problem of shyness then try to do something about it but don’t let it rule your every moment – your aim should be to ignore if possible the actual shyness and act as if you were confident and slowly you will be.

I’m so amazed at how helpful I found self-hypnosis when I used it to beat shyness many years ago. Back then, I had to learn to do it myself. Now all these years later the vast options that the internet offers us include some really great resources for building your self esteem.

One of these great resources is the possibility to instantly download self-hypnosis audios produced by experts in this field. It is something I really recommend trying.

“Are friends a really important part of someone’s life? How can I stay in a long-lasting relationship?”

Friends are VITALLY important. I hope you have at least one good friend because the world is a very lonely and difficult place without friendship.

How can you say you have never believed in friends? Friends trust each other and are there when you need support. It is true a good friend is hard to find but I am lucky enough to have several. One real friend can change your life.

A poem about Friendship


Whether by

strange coincidence

or divine guidance

in the course of our life

we cross paths with

many people.

Some move towards us,

others move away.

Some we choose to remember,

others to forget.

But with a special few

we seem to have no choice,

for each has made an impact

on the other, and their

memory will live on forever.

These people we call friends.

You, to me, are such a one.

– Dick Innes

© Copyright

How can you stay in a lasting friendship?

The most important thing is to GIVE of yourself. Be honest always and be yourself. A friend should like you for who you are not what you pretend to be. Be as trustworthy as you want your friend to be, talk about your feelings and thoughts and share them with your friend but before everything else, listen to your friend and they will love you for it. Respect them by showing the friend how much you value them. Be helpful and kind and sympathetic.

A true friendship is a two-way effort but first give and if you have real friends they will respond by giving back as you gave.


Q:  “I have this inconsistent personality. There are variations in the way I project myself in the institutions/organizations I am in. (Perhaps, my roles also vary.) I have this tendency to adjust myself just to get “fit” in the group. At times, I am no longer certain of the personality I have. Worse, I don’t know anymore what I want. The weird thing is that I know what to do and how to do it but, I find it hard to put it into practice.”

Many people do what you do to fit in. That is a very useful skill and means you will get friends but behind this where is your true personality? It is probably lost in the group and you risk maybe not being the real you. If you can sit down and list all the good things about yourself. What kind of person are you? Spend some time working out what you want too. Everyone finds it hard to act but all you really need is to make a decision for yourself, not tomorrow but today – are you going to change your life and take steps to find yourself?

I have this as my central message in my audio CD, A More Confident You. The whole point of it is to understand and overcome low self-esteem and move forward to a life of happiness. The steps are easy if you decide to take them:

“What is the cause of low self esteem?”

This is one of the most important questions about self esteem on this page!

There are several causes, including:  

  • Influence from parents and family
  • Physical appearance problems
  • Abuse
  • Negative relationships
  • Unemployment 

I advise you to look at this page for more causes of low self esteem:

What is self esteem?  

I also cover this question widely in my CD Audio “A More Confident You” (this link takes you to a page where I explain what’s in the audio, and why you should get it to help you build your self confidence).

Negative labels

Q: “Since self-esteem is a huge problem in our youth, could it make sense to not limit/label individuals with negative terms?  The terms I refer to are disabled, retarded, handicapped, etc., i.e., disability environment; these terms create a negative educational self-fulfilling prophecy, which benefits who?”

I agree with you completely that these terms are negative and therefore can hurt the self esteem of those described by these terms. Other terms can be used within that environment. However, to describe these people to the outside world these terms are in common use and we will find it difficult to change them, and neither should we try in my opinion as this seems like political correctness. If you can however use a commonly held alternative then this is a good idea.

Family issues

Q: “my dad doesn’t want me to go out though I completed university. I always feel like a prisoner in my house. even if my mom sends me out of the house, my dad will insist that I shouldn’t go. what should I do?”

I sympathize and get a lot of similar emails about issues like this. I appreciate in your culture things are different from where I live and this must be a problem for someone like you. You are right to think that this is not correct and feeling like a prisoner is an understandable feeling. Does your mother agree with your view? Get your mother to talk to your father and also please try again to talk to him explaining how you feel and why you think you need to be treated differently. Other than that it is difficult to tell you what to do. 

You understand that probably your father thinks he is being a good parent, he is trying to protect you. Explain to him what he is really doing and that he needs to let you grow and become independent. Tell him how much you love him and respect his point of view and come to a compromise. You should tell him that if he allows you more freedom then you will not abuse it. Please tell him that you will contact him and tell him where you are and that you are OK. Make it easier for him to say yes. Accept some of his rules but make sure you get him to accept you as a person who has a right to move as she wants.


Q: “I find it difficult to communicate with people who usually glare at me. I feel my self esteem downgraded, what can I do to improve this?”

This is a common problem. You seem to have a problem with self-consciousness in front of other people. If someone glares at you, you start wondering why and your mind imagines all kinds of negative reasons and your reaction is to feel self conscious. At these moments you need to stay strong but if your self esteem is low, your confidence will be also and you will feel awkward and it will be difficult for you to communicate with these people. I have a helpful page about self consciousness that I think you should read. There are many suggestions on what to do to become less self-conscious so here’s the link:


Excuses and negativity

Q: “My friend, who is a woman, is greatly in need of knowledge about inner health and well-being. I have witnessed the perilous plight she is going down and she always has an excuse, which brings her self esteem down really bad. Her negative energy is engulfing her making her act as if the whole world is at fault and she can’t do anything about it. She doesn’t let anyone else say anything, she just blabs and blabs about everything wrong. I am willing to help in any way, but the one dilemma I have is money, we both can’t afford therapy and she is jaded about people who prescribe medicine. She is pretty bright just needs the kindness of a stranger. So what can I do to move this learning experience to fruition?”

I applaud you for trying to help your friend and thank you for your email. You say that the obstacle is money. You can get around that problem. Answer this question for me:

Is your friend ready to admit that she has a problem and is she willing to try to change how she thinks and acts? If the answer is yes to the above your job is easier with some guidance and help. I have a few suggestions for you.

First, direct her to my website more-selfesteem.com and also depression-helper.com She will benefit from the info I have there. Secondly, I think that medicine is not the answer here. I am dubious of medicines as they are only a band aid, the best is to get at the problem. Your friend has an attitude problem and a mistaken way of thinking and acting.

I know you don’t want to spend money, but I have a helpful page about self-hypnosis and this is a great way to help someone change their way of thinking and behaving in a natural way. The downloads are cheap and if you want to see if they could help your friend go to this page:  https://more-selfesteem.com/self-hypnosis-audio.htm.

I also have written a lot about self-help and how it can help you change a negative attitude. Check out my post about self-help here

Q: “my question is what areas of self esteem are effected after wars ?

This is a very good question. Wars cause a lot of psychological problems because victims of war see a lot of violence and are subject to cruelty. Anybody who feels they have been a victim may ask themselves why it happened to them and some people feel they are being punished maybe by God or for some reason. This is obviously not the case but many people do believe this. Also, human life is devalued in a war so self-esteem can suffer because we as human beings need to feel we have value. Persecuted people may feel less than human or may have been outcasts and feel they are worthless.

Why Do I Feel Self Conscious?

Q: “How is it possible that in some groups of friends I am actually the center of attention (or at least a very big part of the party), and in others, I feel self-conscious, I feel like I don’t fit in, and am aware of every word that comes out of my mouth???  Sometimes I feel like what I say in a crowd is interesting to everybody, and at other times I feel like I am being scrutinized and every word I say is picked apart…”

There are two answers to your question that spring to mind Doris. One is that you sometimes get self conscious. This may be because one day you feel confident and on form and another for some reason you don’t. Confidence and esteem are not static and do vary from moment to moment and day to day. Also secondly there are other personalities involved. It may be that one or more people in a particular group intimidate you or put you off. Maybe someone in that group makes you nervous or brings out your lack of confidence and you begin to doubt yourself.

I believe that my audio CD, A More Confident You can help guide you in these issues – go check it out now! You’ll find it available at a very low price for the next few days. I suggest you think about getting it, it comes with a 100% guarantee, so you can try it without risk. I will also answer any questions you have as you listen along…

Why did my father belittle me, and why has this caused me to suffer from low self esteem?

Q: “I was belittled by my father in terms of academic and it began when he refused to go up on stage to put my medal as 3rd honor student during elementary days.  I got confused after that and it added up when I failed the entrance exam in a school where he wanted me.  After that, it seemed that I lost my self-esteem, coz I could no longer confidently affirm that I can do everything.  I could not believe others who appreciate me, coz in my mind, I’m no good in front of my father’s standards.  Now that I’m working, I took graduate studies up to the highest level, but still, sometimes I have a hard time believing in myself.  I just make a mental switch whenever I feel that and affirm myself of my worth.”

Why did your father act this way? No wonder you are asking questions about self esteem! Do you know why he refused? Did you ever ask him? If possible you should confront him about this and ask him for an explanation. You failed the exam for the school which HE wanted you to go to. Was he deciding for you? Were you resentful of this? His actions could be unfair because you didn’t achieve what HE wanted. You shouldn’t feel bad about this. 

Did you really want to succeed? Even if you did, a father has no right to force his wishes on you and demand so much. Could be he wanted you to be better than he was. This was his problem. You have a right to be you and even if you do not succeed in his eyes he should not judge you. If he is still around please try to talk to him and tell him how he has made you feel. Perhaps you misunderstood. 

Now it is time to start building yourself up. If you depend on another person to feel good about yourself you are in danger of feeling like a victim. There is a lot for you to gain by listening to my audio A More Confident You so do take a look.

Being told what to do – what does it mean for our self esteem?

Q: “my question is, “if people always object to our ways of doing things and direct us to do things as they want, and expect too much from us, does it mean they are of high and we are of low self-esteem?”

No this is not true. Just because someone is telling you to do something doesn’t mean they have higher self esteem, maybe they are just bossy and always think they are right. The fact that they take credit and ask too much may show that they cannot do what they are asking you or don’t want to do it. 

It depends on the situation, whether it is work-based or if you are talking about daily life. If you have a friend like this then if you allow that friend to boss you around and you do everything he asks and never get any credit then yes you probably will suffer low self esteem and he may feel superior to you. It totally depends on how you react. If you are being told what to do like this you can maintain your self esteem by politely saying no or stating limits. You should also expect credit where it is due.

How Can Religion Affect Our Self Esteem?

Q: “Self-Esteem”… “Do Religious Beliefs affect it”?

Thanx Karl,  Barry

I do believe that religious beliefs may have an effect on your self esteem either positive or negative. In some religions we are sinful by nature and sex for example is something shameful. In strict Christian religion, this would certainly have an effect on a person’s self esteem. Other religions are much more liberal and foster freedom of thought and harmony of the mind and body and connect us closer to nature. Our upbringings in terms of religious belief of the family unit will also have a profound effect.

Q: “I’ve had questions about self esteem issues all my life. I know it had a lot to do with the way I was raised and that there is nothing I can do about that but have been listening to tapes and reading materials like yours for years but it doesn’t seem to change much. What does it take to really make some substantial change in this area?”

I understand, Richard, and know what you mean. My breakthrough came when I realized that not only did I need to read and learn about my problems I needed to put what the books said into action. Every day you need consistent effort to improve, you need a plan and stick to it. This is very difficult for many people to achieve. My tip is to take one piece of advice or something from a book or website that you think could help you and focus on that every day for a few weeks and make a change in your life like that.

You see in the end the only reason why something will help you or have no effect is because you allow it to happen or you stop it from happening. How? You don’t believe something will work, then it won’t. You don’t accept the problem or you defeat yourself by expecting to fail. Before you can start any road to recovery you need the magic ingredient and there is one you know: 


There Are No Magic Formulas To Help You Improve How you Feel About Yourself



I agree with you, it is very easy to say these things to people you can do this and that…What I try to do is give out information that helps people to ask themselves questions and learn more about their problems. You are right we are all different and that’s why we must all find our own answers within and help ourselves. What I am doing is giving the tools to people to use to help themselves. I cannot do it for someone else.  

I have listed some of my favorite self-help tools here that I think can really help you.

Good questions but be clear everyone needs help and advice so that they can start to heal themselves. The fact that you are tired and hopeless will limit how much you try to improve. Open yourself up to hope because with the hope you can do anything without it you are lost. I try to give hope and I know what hopelessness is because I’ve experienced it and even wanted to end my life but now I help others – it is not easy to help yourself or change anything but first you need hope the rest will follow. Faith is everything..

At What Age Does Self Esteem Appear in Children?

Boosting your child's self esteem

Q: “I need to know one thing about self esteem that in what age period it develops in children?”

Actually, self esteem begins to develop from the moment a baby can start to understand what a parent is saying to him or her and the expression on the faces of parents in response to the behavior of the baby. This begins even before the baby can talk and the value of praise or encouragement from the parent is crucial in forming self esteem in the young child as it grows.

Rosemary Roberts’ book, Self esteem and Early Learning: Key People from Birth to School, shows how self esteem is first formed when a child is developing. Roberts explains that it develops as soon as children begin to compare themselves to others or when they start to measure their own failure or success as they play.

Q: “I think I have many problems in my personality, which are needed to be corrected. I just started using your course on self confidence. I have a problem talking to people, especially girls, I feel like a complete loser, whereas my classmates have no problems talking to people & they really enjoy every moment of their lives. I am in a constant fear that I will make a fool out of myself…”

I experienced many of the problems you talk about and you are not alone. You are correct about the importance of examples like your parents but you cannot blame them for being who they are. You need to learn the social skills you need by experience and this will mean being brave. 

How does Low Self Esteem Affect Your Attitude?

Q: “If you say low self esteem is from attitude..the world is in trouble…everyone has an attitude that shows at one time or another…my low self esteem is making my attitude worse…my self esteem comes from childhood, and people in general who think they`re better then you”

There are many reasons for low self esteem and I accept what you say that it causes a poor attitude. It works two ways and both attitude and low self esteem feed off each other. We all have attitude problems at times correct and all of us have times of low self esteem. Your childhood has hurt you but it is time for you to do something for yourself and begin helping yourself. My audio  “A More Confident You” offers a lot of help and advice about attitude and would really help you to improve your level of self esteem. 

How to Make Better Decisions

Q: “My question is how to be a decisive decision-maker? What is exactly mean by leadership? How can we improve our leadership skills? what should we do?”

I think leadership means to show others below you a good example and then they will follow you and respect you. A leader without respect is no leader. How to improve your leadership skill? Take management course but more importantly practice leading others and taking part in group activities. An effective leader can motivate others and care about those under him/her.



  • Campbell, W. K., Rudich, E. A., & Sedikides, C. (2002). Narcissism, self-esteem, and the positivity of self-views: Two portraits of self-love. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin28(3), 358-368.
  • Musick M, Wilson J. (2003). Volunteering and depression: the role of psychological and social resources in different age groups. Soc. Sci. Med. 56:259–69
  • Roberts, R. (2006). Self-esteem and early learning: Key people from birth to school. Sage.

Recent Posts