When someone has low self-esteem, they are unsure of who they are and what they can accomplish. They frequently feel inept, neglected, or insufficient. People who have low self-esteem are always worried about making errors or disappointing others. We’ve all had moments when we’ve lacked confidence and felt bad about ourselves.
When low self-esteem becomes a long-term issue, though, it can have a negative impact on our mental health and daily lives.
What is the definition of self-esteem?
The opinion that we have of ourselves is referred to as self-esteem. We tend to feel good about ourselves and about life in general when we have resilient self-esteem. Self-esteem improves our ability to cope with life’s many ups and downs. We tend to see ourselves and our lives in a more negative and critical light when our self-esteem is low. Lack of self-esteem can also cause us to believe we are less capable of meeting life’s obstacles which in turn can have many negative outcomes in moods.
What causes a lack of self-confidence?
Low self-esteem is common in children. Positive and negative messages about ourselves are sent to us by our instructors, friends, siblings, parents, and even the media. The message that you are not good enough is the one that sticks with you for some reason and self-esteem is very often rooted in childhood.
Perhaps it was tough for you to live up to other people’s or your own expectations, knocks to your self-esteem can be brought about by stress and tough life events such as major sickness or loss. Some people are simply more prone to negative thinking, while others hold themselves to excessively high standards and are constantly be “proving” themselves to themselves or others in so many ways.
If you have poor self-esteem, you may avoid many kinds of social situations, stop trying new things, and avoid doing activities that are perhaps difficult for you.
Avoiding demanding and difficult events may make you feel protected in the short term but this can backfire in the long run since it also strengthens your underlying doubts and anxieties. The cycle instils an unhelpful belief that avoidance is the only way to deal with problems.
Low self-esteem can be harmful to your mental health and lead to issues like depression and anxiety. As a coping mechanism, you may develop detrimental behaviours such as smoking, drinking or using drugs as an escape or distraction from not feeling like you are good enough.
How to Develop a Positive Self-Esteem
Whether your self-esteem is temporarily low or you’ve had negative views about yourself for a long time, changing your negative thinking is the key to regaining your confidence. Starting to recognise and reverse your negative self-talk is where most people start. Self-talk as “the inner narrative that runs in an endless loop in your brain.” If all you say to yourself are negative things, it will over time have a direct effect on how you feel about yourself.
To improve your self-esteem, you must first identify and then discount your negative self-perceptions. For example, you can tell yourself that you’re “too foolish” to apply for a new job or that “nobody cares” about you. Once you start to believe these things about yourself the cycle begins.
Start writing down your negative ideas on a piece of paper or in a diary and recognising and invalidating them before they embed in your psyche. Consider when you initially began to have these thoughts or even thoughts like them, when did they start and is it fair that you are still painting yourself with the same brush.
Next, start writing evidence that contradicts these negative assumptions, such as “I’m exceptionally brilliant at cryptic crosswords” or “Every week, my sister calls for a conversation.”
Other good qualities to write down include “I’m thoughtful,” “I’m a fantastic cook,” and “I’m someone that others trust.”
Also, include some compliments that others have said about you. Make a list of at least 5 positive things and add to it on a regular basis. Then post your list somewhere visible. You’ll be able to keep reminding yourself that you’re OK this way.
And always remember that you are enough. Things might not work out, realistically life is fraught with setbacks but none of that is a reflection of who you are. You are enough and capable of dealing with far more than you believe, provided you believe you are capable of dealing with whatever is in your path.
You may lack confidence now as a result of events from your childhood or in your life, but we can all evolve and acquire new ways of perceiving ourselves at any age.
Other approaches to boosting poor self-esteem
Recognize your strengths.
We’re all talented in some way, whether it’s cooking, singing, putting puzzles together, or simply being a friend. We also enjoy doing what we’re good at, which can help lift your spirits. The old saying you can’t judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, just as much as you can’t judge a monkey by its ability to swim. Play in your lane, look at the things you enjoy and things you are good at because if you are constantly berating yourself over other stuff you are not being true to yourself. If you don’t know what your strengths are start small and work your way toward finding them.
Make positive connections.
If particular people tend to depress you, try to spend less time with them or express your feelings about their comments or actions.
Make an effort to form bonds with people who are positive and supportive of you.
Be kind to yourself.
This goes without saying. People that have good self-esteem don’t spend time finding faults with themselves and neither should you. While you’re being kind to yourself, it means that when you’re feeling self-critical, stop. Just stop. You are not fixing anything and in fact, you are making the situation worse. With grace, we accept the things we cannot change and make an effort to fix the things we can and in our own time.
Consider what you’d tell a friend who was in a similar circumstance. We frequently give others better counsel than we do to ourselves. Just as it is so easy to write this good advice but to live it is a far harder undertaking. Our entire worlds are wrapped up in our perspectives and some of the hardest personal questionings come in the format of asking.
“Is what I believe the truth, or is it a perception that I have created for myself due to some forgotten distortion or belief set in my history.”
Begin with saying “no.”
People with poor self-esteem frequently feel compelled to say yes to others, even if they do not want to. You run the distinct risk of becoming overworked, resentful, angry, and depressed by not being in congruence with what you want or need from life.
Saying no, for the most part, does not cause problems in relationships but it can be an important tool to establish a framework in how other people may meaningfully interact with you. It may be beneficial to repeat expressing no in different ways until they understand the framework and your values and beliefs.
Set a goal for yourself.
At times, we all feel apprehensive or afraid to accomplish something. People with healthy self-esteem, on the other hand, do not let their negative feelings keep them from attempting new things or taking on new tasks.
Make small achievable goals for yourself, such as taking an exercise class or attending a social event. Getting small goals accomplished will in turn boost your self-esteem as you begin to internally recognise that you are enough and you are capable and worthy. This inner coaching provides a platform for your self-esteem that enables you to be more resilient when the big stuff comes flying at you.
Where can I get treatment if I have poor self-esteem?
Counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) are examples of psychological therapies that can help.
Talk therapy helps you to train yourself to think conscious, optimistic thoughts that will assist you to combat negative thoughts about yourself. The more you practice, the more confident and successful you will be at creating self-awareness and building your self-esteem.