I've been struggling with low self-esteem for years. Usually by creating an image of being an extrovert, so nobody really believes me that I have serious problems... It's partly caused by childhood issues (on the conscious level I would like to think I've overcome those but apparently, I haven't), partly by life experience for which I'm very grateful and I've learned a lot from them, but they didn't exactly help me to higher self-confidence.

I need some help with Advice 1&2.

1. If I could make a list of my strengths, achievements and things I admire about myself, I wouldn't be surfing online searching for an advice. I have a friend who's helping me identify my strengths etc., but it's like deep down, I'm not really buying it. How can I hack my own brain to overcome this?

2. Think positively about myself? Once again, if I were able to do that, I wouldn't be here. I don't think of myself as a loser, I know I'm not. But maybe this is the place where I should explain my negative life experience.
Forget the bad marriage (I'm happily divorced now), the real thing is work. Whenever I work for someone, they are very satisfied with what I do because I don't care about money, I care about he pleasure I get from working on interesting stuff. And I like challenge and I really care about my growth. That often makes other colleagues insecure, so soon they start hating me. That creates unpleasant atmosphere at a workplace. If there is no hope for improvement no matter how hard I try (or no challenge in the job itself), I leave the company. In return, that makes my employers angry, so they don't want to give me references. And I know that I'm not making this stuff up just to feel better about myself. If I wasn't good, I wouldn't have been promoted several times. But if you get nothing but diss for doing your job well, there will be a day when you stop asking for references... I've come to the conclusion that I can't work for other people but I can work with other people. So I started my own company but this self-confidence thing is making it really hard and it's holding me back... What can I do to eliminate that stupid fear of rejection (common denominator between childhood issues and work issues)? I've tried to expose myself to situations with the high risk of rejection, but I don't seem to be able to get used to that...

I've sought a professional help but it was a disaster. The therapist (actually, she was a chief of psychiatry in my home town, she was recommended to me as the best person for the job) asked me what activities I liked and I listed fire poi as one of them (I had learned to swing fire pois shortly before that and I was proud of myself that I could do something not everybody can). You should have seen the look on her face! As if I was some kind of dirty homeless hippie, something really disgusting! Not a person, just IT... Then she told me to stick to my social class and sent me away. Having been rejected once again by a professional who was f-ing paid to help me, I developed trust issues.

I don't think I'm doing something unnatural, I'm just reacting to live events I've experienced, so what the heck is wrong with me?

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