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Topic: Self-Esteem

September 6th 2016 Meeting Notes for the Vancouver Adult ADD Support Group

Return to Vancouver Adult ADD Support Group Previous Notes Page



Self Esteem Nathaniel Branden

Facilitator: Pete Quily

Thanks to Ed and Amy for taking notes.

Many people have problems with self-esteem, but adults and children with ADHD have much, much higher rates of problems with self-esteem than other people regardless of external achievement or status.




What is self-esteem?
Warm up exercise in pairs or threes. what has worked for you before in boosting your self esteem? 

Consequences of low self-esteem
What things reduce self-esteem?
What things boost your self-esteem?
Practical self esteem pair exercise


What is self-esteem?



  • builds the confidence you need to move forward with things
  • how you perceive yourself and your abilities to do things 
  • how you respond and deal with failure
  • it is based on confidence not delusional arrogance or narcissism
  • it is how you feel about yourself
  • low self-esteem results in either shame, anxiety or depression or it is projected outwards
  • reflects on how you treat the world



Warm up exercise in pairs or threes. what has worked for you before in boosting your self esteem? 



  • a strict plan i am prepared for and know how to recover from
  • being clear on what i am and what i am not doing 
  • being prepared and having a plan
  • dancing
  • do what i am supposed to do/knowing what i am supposed to do
  • gym - eating well 
  • having another provide me with a plan/keep on course 
  • helping others
  • music
  • read positive things about myself 
  • remember that it is the heart that counts, remind myself about my faith 
  • sticking to a healthy eating plan
  • way of measuring things to stay on track



Consequences of low self-esteem



  • affects every area of your life
  • afraid to try new things
  • anxiety
  • assertiveness problems
  • avoidance of relationships and socializing
  • codependency
  • depression
  • disengage - not caring
  • eating disorders
  • get into any kind of addictive pattern, behavioural or chemical, i.e., food, booze, drugs
  • have no boundaries –> what is the boundary? communicate it impose a consequence for violating it
  • higher rates of being bullied and sometimes being the bully
  • irritable
  • isolation
  • learned helplessness - no point 
  • lower patience and tolerance
  • perfectionism
  • problems maintaining and creating relationships
  • social skills problems
  • unemployment/underemployment



What things reduce self-esteem?





book recommendation: 

What does everybody else know that I don't?: Social skills help for adults with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder by Michele Novotni

What things boost your self-esteem?



  • achievable goals
  • affirmations/positive self talk 
  • avoiding energy vampires
  • being helpful to others (boosts dopamine)
  • belonging to positive people and groups - that you resonate with - that do things you enjoy doing
  • breaking down a big project into smaller parts and getting it done
  • create something physical, making something with your hands
  • doing something creative, physically, artistically, emotionally, or intellectually creative ie, make a meal
  • exercise and meditation
  • faith
  • figure out a script with a problem you are having - start using it in front of the mirror
  • gratitude journal
  • groups that you resonate with, what you like
  • hang around people who appreciate you
  • help someone make something - use your strengths to help others
  • learn what gas lighting is and how to recognize and deal with it
  • learning a new skill
  • notice and celebrate your successes and get curious why –> how can i use that again?
  • recognize manipulation
  • rewarding yourself when deserved
  • short, doable routines
  • spend less time on web/social media
  • stepping outside your comfort zone
  • succeeding at a small goal 
  • try something new or challenging 
  • try, test, measure, evaluate and adapt



Practical self esteem pair exercise


Get together in twos or threes and ask the other person to answer these questions with one or two, not ten, examples.


What is your consequence of low self esteem?


What lowers your self esteem?


What boosts your self esteem?


What will you do/not do? To improve your self esteem?


When will you do it? Pick a specific day and time?


How will you remember to do it then?








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