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Ask Julie: I Have No Self-Esteem

Q:I’ve come to realize for the last fifteen years that I have no self esteem, and I try to accomplish tasks that are far too difficult to make me feel slightly okay and keep myself non-suicidal. And when I fail, I feel so terrible; like I want to die.

I’m not a suicidal person. I’m not, I just have issues with my self-esteem. I have had problems with bullying for many, many years, and only have friends over the internet, not in real life. This has resulted in my low self-esteem, I think.

To make myself get through a day and feel half decent, I try to accomplish a task. However, when I fail at this task, I feel completely worthless.  My family doesn’t care, and I don’t have anyone to turn to on this matter. Can you please help me?

A: I am so sorry to hear of your pain over the last 15 years. If you’ve been bullied for years it makes sense that your self-esteem would become very fragile. I suggest that you get into therapy, particularly group therapy, to start expanding your relationships and learn how to trust. Please take a few minutes to watch the rest of my response in the video below…

Take good care of yourself!
Julie Hanks, LCSW

Are You Self-Aware or Self-Absorbed?: Studio 5

Are you self-aware or self-absorbed?

We each have a long list of personal responsibilities: our finances, careers, bodies, families, etc. It’s critical to be aware of our lives and our needs. But when does self-awareness become self-obsession? Do we think about ourselves too much?  Here’s how to determine if you’re self-aware or self-absorbed:

Are you usually the center of attention? Do you monopolize conversations? Are all your social media updates about yourself? If so, you may be self-absorbed. Try instead to balance the attention you give to yourself and to others. Remember that everyone needs to be recognized, celebrated, and validated.

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Ask Julie: Is this Depression, Personality Disorder, or Bipolar?

Q: Well I’m 19, but I don’t feel 19. I have so many things going on in my life that it’s hard to keep up with everything. I’m a full time worker, a full time student and a part time gym rat. I’m also in a relationship. There is no time in the day for me to do anything and everything I do always feels rushed. Even though I’m interacting with my coworkers, friends, or girlfriend during the day, I feel empty and numb to it all, like everything is just an act. As far as feelings go, like I said, I’m numb. I feel as if my best friend or mother could die and I wouldn’t care, and I feel as though to a certain extent that I don’t care even for my girlfriend. But on the flip side, I don’t want to be alone. It scares me to think that me and my girlfriend would breakup. I laugh and joke but don’t know why I do.
I really want to know what’s wrong with me because I was never like this before. Or if I was, it was deep down and is now just surfacing and I can’t handle it. I WANT TO BE HAPPY AGAIN.

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Ask Julie: I Hate Myself And I Don’t Know Why

Q: I hate myself and I don’t know why. How do I learn to love myself? Even though I believe I’m a daughter of God, I feel like believing and knowing is different than feeling. I don’t FEEL like that. I have urges to cut myself and sometimes give in, and I make myself throw up off and on. I hate being like this. I was sexually abused by a family friend for about six years. Even though he stopped when I got older, I never said anything to anyone. I feel like this might contribute to my feelings of hatred toward myself. Sometimes, I even think that my life has no purpose and that the world would be better off without me. I hate myself for doing things like spending money on a nice haircut. Every time I treat myself nice, even if it’s something like a bubble bath or chewing a stick of gum, I feel guilty. I treat other people well. I give people more energy than I have and it’s not fair to them or me. I know that if I treat myself better, I’ll have more energy to not only give to myself, but to others too. However, every time I try to do this, I end up cutting or throwing up because the urge to do so is overwhelming. How do I learn to treat myself well? What is your advice? Is there something I can do without therapy? I don’t have a lot of money and am out of a job.

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Ask Julie: I’m So Lonely But I Should Be Happy

Q: Simply put, I’m very lonely.
 I should be happy.  I just graduated college and starting my masters’ degree.  I own my own home. I have a job. I’m very fit. I try to do things that are social, but most of the things I do are by myself because I don’t have friends. 
I’ve always had a boyfriend, and finally realized that they were a crutch, so I’ve been single for the past 2 years and concentrated on myself and my education. But being alone night after night and not having anyone to do things with is terrible. I’m considerate and friendly, but I just don’t know how to find friends. Seems like I’ve even lost my mojo in dating. I don’t feel like the person I used to be, and maybe I’m not anymore in a good way, but I can’t figure out why I don’t have any friends and am living a solitary life. It’s so lonely. What can I do?

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Self-care During Painful Times: Feminist Mormon Housewives Podcast

Radical Compassion

I was invited by Tresa Edmunds, blogger at Feminist Mormon Housewives, to share thoughts about the importance of self-care during times of grief and loss. In this fMh podcast Tresa and I talked about how to process emotions, deepen spirituality, embrace complexity, and practice radical compassion, and prioritize self-care as tools to process difficult emotions surrounding the excommunication of Ordain Women’s Kate Kelly.

In this podcast I mention Riane Eisler’s Cultural Transformation Theory and the continuum of dominator and partnership models of social organizations. For more information on cultural transformation theory visit RianeEisler.com
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8 Signs of Emotional Balance and Well-Being: Sharecare Interview

Here’s an engaging article about your emotional health with some practical suggestions on how to improve your well-being:

Emotional well-being is something all of us want, but few of us take time to think about and work on. That’s a big mistake, says therapist Julie de Azevedo Hanks, LCSW, author of The Burnout Cure. Good emotional balance can boost happiness, improve relationships and support recovery from a mental health condition — and that’s not all, Hanks says. Reducing emotional stress also helps combat a host of physical ailments, including obesity, heart disease and digestive problems. Can you tell when you and others are doing a good job of working on emotional well-being? Watch for these signs.

Read the full article here

Ask Julie: Am I Depressed?

Q: So five months ago, I moved from Chicago to a new school. I thought it would be great to move to a new school, but I was wrong. It isn’t and I’m still not making any close friends. Everyone already has all their groups and best friends, so it’s really hard for me. I still haven’t found Read more