Low Self Esteem: Signs, Causes, and Fixes

Low self esteem, is a phrase that we hear too often in our surroundings. But to fully understand its principle, we need to first comprehend, what is self esteem?

Self esteem, by definition, means “a person’s overall subjective emotional evaluation of his or her own worth. It is a judgment of oneself as well as an attitude.”

New job, new people, new environment and all of a sudden it hits you that you’re maybe not good enough? Sounds familiar?

More often than not, everyone goes through this feeling, but how you deal with it, is what sets you apart from the rest.

How you deal with it, is when you realize whether or not you have low self esteem. One person goes in, all guns blazing and becomes the life of the party but then another person would be quiet, introverted, more to themselves, thinking they are not good enough and simply second guessing their every thought and every move. The latter person is what we call a classic case of low self-esteem.

A person’s self esteem is built throughout their life. From the first social interaction with parents to the on-going individuals that enter in every one’s life.

Every single person or moment has an impact in shaping how one’s self esteem turns out to be. This is the reason why it’s significant to foster a child’s self esteem very early on embodying confidence and positivity.

 

How Do You Identify Low Self Esteem?

Now the question is, how do you identify low self esteem?

Self esteem is the state of self awareness of one’s strengths and weaknesses. Accepting them for what they are and being content and satisfied with what you can achieve, is positive/high self esteem.

If an individual decides to take on a project but focuses all their energies on being stressed and concerned about how they might not have the perfect skills to complete the task; that is low self esteem.

The idea is what are you putting the focus on. Is it on how you are not good enough or how you decide to achieve the end goal to the best of your abilities.

There’s a fine line between accepting and obsessing over your weaknesses and that is what differentiates high self esteem from low.

Maybe the outcome was actually perfect but the focus remains on how in one’s own head it still could’ve been better.

 

Signs of Low Self Esteem

Below are some signs of low self esteem based on Morris Rosenberg’s research:

  1. Social withdrawal
  2. Excessive focus on problems or negativity
  3. Sensitive towards criticism
  4. Negative thoughts
  5. Absence of assertiveness
  6. Indecisive behavior
  7. Inability to accept compliments
  8. Self neglect
  9. Exaggerated thoughts of others’ perceptions in one’s own head
  10. Physical symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia and headaches
  11. What happened that caused this low self esteem?

 

The one underlying factor in all causes of low self esteem is the exposure to negativity. The varying intensities of pessimism is what ultimately leads to one second guessing themselves in life.

 

 

This also depends on which phase of one’s life were they exposed to that negativity as well as how long. Were they a child, teenager or adult and how long was it an ongoing distress?

Depending on the duration and phase, one absorbs and reacts accordingly and consequently impacts on the intensity of low self esteem.

 

Causes of Self Esteem

Below are some of the situations where low self esteem can be caused:

  • Condemning and harsh guardians
  • Uninvolved caregivers
  • Constant hostility in surroundings (home / school / work)
  • Beliefs stemming from religious or moral values reinforcing your guilt / shame
  • Bullying
  • Educational challenges without positive support
  • Trauma – Physical, sexual or emotional
  • Judgmental and stereotypical notions encouraged by society and media

 

Self Esteem Building Activities

So, if I do have low self esteem, what can I do to alleviate it?

 

There are a number of self esteem activities you can do to regain your self esteem and build your confidence

 

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