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How will cost of living affect self esteem? - Let's Talk Mate

On the latest episode of Let's Talk Mate, the group covered topics on self-esteem including how affect of the cost-of-living crisis and wrapping self-worth in external factors.

What do self-esteem issues mean to you? The different things that trigger different peoples self-esteem can be very individual.

We’ve already had a podcast talking about body image but understanding that confidence issues don’t come from that for everyone, so a more in depth look at what affects our Let’s Talk Mate hosts felt important.

Our Digital Content Officer Sam Clarke returned again as host, while fellow regulars in Dan Warren-Holland and Rob Eamey joined for this month's edition of our men’s mental health chat.

How will the cost-of-living crisis affect self-esteem?

With it being any ever present worry this year for people across the UK, the group discussed how the cost-of-living crisis could affect someone’s self-esteem.

Rob explained: “When I think more broadly about self-esteem, I think about things like work status, income, place in the world. I personally wasn’t able to work for a long time because of various health issues, obviously that meant I didn’t have much money.

“I wasn’t able to do various things, so I think that can factor into self-esteem, money and status and I think if people don’t know their place in the world, or have a direction, or a purpose.”

While these issues can affect anyone, sometimes men experience more pressure around these topics; Whether it be put on them by loved ones, themselves or just society as a whole.

Dan said: “Even if that is not put on you by a partner, or even society, it is just historical and you kind of feel if you can; Provide, roof over your head, put food on the table, power and electricity these days.

“It does affect your self-esteem, because when you have these things, you don’t have to ask for help. Whether that is a food bank or having to ring your gas and electric company which will happen to a lot of people this year.”

Rob agreed and spoke of his experiencing trying to refer people he has been helping to get further support: “Even before this year, many many times I have been working with clients who are really struggling financially, there can be a real hesitation to accept help sometimes.

“If you would mention something like, I can do a referral for you for a food bank, more often with men than women; I would see a hesitance to take that support. Especially then if men who I am offering this support to as children, or a partner. I’ve spoken to men who that has had a really damaging effect on their self-esteem and feeling of self-worth.”

Dan also described how growing up in Portsmouth may have had more of an effect on his ability to ask for help: “Every single school trip you go on from the age of six is to do with war, everything surrounding you is telling you as a man you have to be prepared to fight and protect what is yours. It is entrenched in the DNA.”

Tying self-worth to external factors

Another thing that was discuss was the idea of tying your self-worth to external factors, some of which you have very little control over.

Sometimes this can lead to things that might be trivial to some, massively affecting your self-esteem, as Dan explained: “There is a new FIFA cycle rolling around, and they’ll be some really worrying about their FIFA Ultimate Team because they aren’t going to have enough coins to get what they need to be as good in the league.

“They will tie their whole self-esteem into that, and I don’t want to make light of it, even if out of context it might sound quite humorous. You do often find people’s self-esteem does get tied into stuff that is only important in the short term.”

Sam questioned if this is perhaps another habit that men are more guilty of: “This is maybe a habit men fall into more is tying your self-worth to something external, because you can’t express it in any other way. Why do some get so wound up by their football team losing when they have no impact on that whatsoever?”

Dan added: “Men often want to feel a part of something, they want to feel part of something bigger than them, which means they do put a lot of their personality into certain things.”

The group also discussed factors of personal grooming, the evolution of your self-esteem and some less talked about groups that could be affected by body dysmorphia.

If you feel affect by anything discussed on this week’s podcast, call the Solent Mind Support Line on 023 8017 9049, or access the webchat on our website.

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