How To Rebuild Self-Esteem After Losing a Loved One

You’ve lost a loved one—don’t lose yourself, too.

A significant loss can shatter a survivor's self-esteem, leaving you to pick up the pieces and put yourself back together. Perhaps you feel you could have done more to prevent the loss, that you somehow failed the person who is gone. You may feel incomplete or “less than” without your loved one. If he or she made you feel special and loved, you may not feel those things now.

Five Suggestions To Help Rebuild Self-Esteem

Cultivate Relationships

Cultivate relationships with people who affirm who you are and are honest with you—the friends and acquaintances who help you grow. Those who try to do too much for you aren’t helping you in the long run.

Stop Putting Yourself Down

Frequent self-disparaging remarks are a sure sign of low self-esteem: “I never do anything right!” Try writing down a list of self-affirmations. It takes practice, but when you notice that you are having a negative self-thought, try substituting a positive thought.

Take New Actions

Growth in self-esteem comes from thinking, deciding and acting, no matter what you are feeling. Even when you don’t feel good about yourself, you can decide to act in ways that are good for you. For example, decide to get more exercise because you deserve to be healthy. When you make the decision and act on it, you begin to feel better about yourself.

Express Yourself

Take seriously your own ideas, feelings and wishes —just as you take others seriously and listen to them. Instead of withholding yourself from others, tell them what you think, how you feel, what you want. When you do this in a way that does not blame or attack, both your self-esteem and their esteem of you grow.

Accept Yourself

Remember that no one gets close to perfect, and life is difficult at times. We all want to do right. We all make mistakes. We all deserve to like ourselves—to be our own best friend.

Find out if hospice care could help your loved one.

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