A couple of bad experiences with guys have left me at rock bottom.
There’s nothing wrong with you, says our elder. Forgive yourself, move on, and learn to love yourself.
What to do when your self-esteem has hit rock bottom? I’m not really sure what went wrong with me. My first bad experiences of this were in third-fourth grade when I was ‘going out’ with a 13-year old guy who was still in sixth grade. When my parents found out about it I lied that I stopped talking to him even though I didn’t. I don’t know why and it made me feel so bad. I felt like I had to prove myself to him all the time and send pictures I really shouldn’t have. I didn’t actually want to do anything with him. Last summer after I got out of a year relationship from 14-15 that my mom didn’t like either. I felt all alone because for a year I had isolated myself from everyone else. That summer I lost my virginity even though it ended up being awful. Just because I was afraid to say no or stop because he would’ve hated me. I never told anyone about it because I feel like I would be judged. I really hate that I didn’t listen to my parents those times and I have created bad patterns like that. Is there something really wrong with me? Can I be fixed?
Ms. Mary replies
I’m sorry that you had such terrible experiences, especially with that last guy — that must have been very traumatic.
The good news is that there is nothing wrong with you. You made some mistakes out of ignorance. Now you know better and can move on. Your intentions were not bad, just misguided. The sooner you stop feeling guilty about the past, the better. There is no reason to continue to beat yourself up. Instead, you have the opportunity to make good choices from here on out. You have a clean slate and are so much smarter now.
You aren’t alone. Many females have given in to please a guy, usually hoping that will make the guy like them. That usually backfires. Teenage boys have raging hormones. In most cases, they are looking for sex, not a relationship. You may have heard the phrase, “Wham bam, thank you, ma’am.” In other words, they want sex; then they will be on their way. Sex for guys is much more about the physical act than anything else until they fall in love. For females, it is more about a deep emotional connection. It isn’t usually until a guy is much older and in love, that sex has a deeper meaning. Generally speaking, guys will go to bed with any girl who will let them. Unfortunately, that rarely leads to a relationship. They figure if she has sex with me right away, who knows how many other guys there have been. If they are interested in a serious relationship, it is typically with a girl who respects her body and waits to have sex. You don’t want to get a reputation, so you know now in the future to wait before you take that step.
On a side note, when a relationship expresses love, and the guy cares deeply about his girlfriend, sex will be extremely pleasurable, not at all like what you experienced. I’m so sorry you had to go through something that awful.
With that said, you asked how to build good-esteem. First, forgive yourself. Let go of the past. Second, learn to love and appreciate yourself. There is no need to tell anybody what happened. That was then; this is now. Don’t isolate yourself again. Look for a friend, a girl who is kind, caring, and has good morals. Don’t hang out with anybody that you think sets a bad example. Choose your friends wisely.
Also, you said you were afraid that the guy would hate you if you didn’t have sex. It doesn’t matter what anybody thinks about you, except yourself. You are a worthy person. Don’t base your value on what others think of you. Don’t give your power away. Take your power back. I recommend you read What You Think of Me is None of My Business by Terry Cole-Whittaker. It is an old book and has a bit of a religious connotation; however, even if you put that aside, it can help you change the beliefs about yourself that hold you back.
You’ve already made the first step towards better self-esteem by writing this letter to EWC. It is a given that once you gradually turn your thoughts in the opposite direction, your self-confidence will improve. If you find yourself thinking self-destructive thoughts, rehashing the past, or feeling guilty, do not indulge in those thoughts. Make a decision not to hold anything in your mind that you do not wish to become real in your life. Choose good-feeling thoughts.
The easiest way I know to reverse your thoughts is by imagining what you want. Whatever we think about gets bigger, whether we like it or not. See yourself as you want to be. The world can only see us as we see ourselves. Spend quiet time every day visualizing how you want to feel (e.g. smart, capable, attractive, worthy, assured, engaging, well-liked, friendly, happy, worry-free, etc.) Savor and bask in those feelings until they gradually become real. At first, be general in those thoughts, but as you become comfortable with them, make them more specific. It also helps to write down how you want to feel. Refrain from saying or thinking things that make you feel bad (e.g. “I can’t be fixed”).
You have a strong desire to change your pattern of behavior, so you are bound to be successful. The lockdown is the perfect time to change your inner-world before you test your self-esteem with action in the outside world. Enjoy your alone time reading books and watching videos that inspire you. There are many good videos on YouTube about self-confidence and self-esteem. A simple book that I recommend written in 1906 is titled, Every Man a King by Orison Swett Marden. The words are quite different than we speak today; however, it can be a life-changing book. The paperback version costs about $5.00 on Amazon.
Vee, everything you dream is within your reach if you affirm and believe that it will be. You can do that. Make up your mind that nothing will hold you back and that you will make yourself and your parents proud. Take one step at a time doing the inner work. Gradually you will feel lighter and more optimistic. Then you will start to notice tangible results.
I’m happy to talk with you further if I can be of more help. I hope you will take this opportunity to make a new start, one that brings you the love and happiness you deserve.
Letter #: 459831