Each of us has felt that we do not measure up at one time or another. We make mistakes at work, get ignored by our friends or family, and become obsessed with something stupid that we said during lunch. But feeling insecure or like you don’t measure up is a normal part of being human. On the other hand, feelings of inadequacy that last or keep coming back may be a sign of low self-esteem.
How we perceive ourselves defines our level of self-esteem, which could also mean self-regard, self-worth, and self-respect. It is a subjective evaluation, which depends on opinion rather than fact, and the reason is that opinion is more personal than fact.
This article will delve deeper into the causes of low self-esteem, including how and when it develops and what you can do to build self esteem and confidence.
What is low self-esteem?
When a person lacks confidence in who they are and what they are capable of, they suffer from low self-esteem. They often feel like they can’t do anything right, aren’t loved, or aren’t good enough. People who suffer from low self-esteem suffer from an ongoing fear of embarrassing themselves or letting down the expectations of others. There are many reasons one might tend to have low self-esteem.
On the other hand, your state of mind is one of the most important contributors to low self-esteem. Even if you may not really believe it, your inner voice or thoughts going through your head may be telling you consistently that you are not good enough or worth anything at all.
In general, thinking negatively is linked to low levels of both self-worth and self-esteem.
What causes low self-esteem?
Environmental and biological factors can cause low self-esteem, and it typically manifests itself in our younger years. Even though the causes are, for the most part, beyond our control, we can still make an effort as adults to form new perceptions of ourselves that are more favorable.
A lack of self-esteem may have its roots in experiences during early childhood. A person may develop negative core beliefs about themselves due to circumstances such as not fitting in socially at school, having trouble living up to the standards set by their parents, or being neglected or abused as a child. These are the deeply held convictions that a person has regarding themselves.
Signs of low self-esteem
Inability to express oneself
When a person doesn’t like themselves, it can be hard to ask for what they want. Because they don’t think much of themselves, they may think they don’t deserve help. They might also feel embarrassed or like they aren’t good enough because they need help and support. Because people with low self-esteem don’t put themselves first, they find it hard to stand up for themselves when they need to.
People with low self-esteem think and feel that they lack control over their lives and the things that take place in their lives. The reason could be because they believe they have very little power to bring about changes in either themselves or the world around them.
Because the person has an external locus of control, they may feel like they can’t do anything to change their situation.
A person’s sense of who they are as an individual can often be enhanced by engaging in healthy competition with their peers. On the other hand, comparing oneself to others can hurt one’s sense of self-worth.
People who have low self-esteem may be more likely to engage in what is known as “upward social comparison,” which is when a person compares themselves to others whom they believe to be in a higher social standing than they are.
A healthy dose of healthy competition can be beneficial. Sometimes, these comparisons can be used to learn more and get ideas for further development. However, when individuals possess feelings of inadequacy or hopelessness, it can harm their self-esteem.
Social media might also influence comparisons of this nature. Suppose you frequently make unfavorable comparisons between yourself and other people on social media websites such as Facebook and Instagram. In that case, your self-esteem may start to suffer.
People who don’t like themselves tend to think more about their shortcomings than their virtues. They never seem to be able to find anything positive to say about themselves, preferring, instead, to find something negative to say about themselves constantly.
They are always able to find something wrong with some aspect of themselves, whether it be their appearance, personality, or abilities, and when things go wrong, they are the first ones to blame themselves.
Lack of boundaries
During the formative years of childhood, people often learn how to set limits. Children whose caregivers show that they are respected and valued have a greater chance of setting healthy boundaries in adult relationships. Caregivers who do this are more likely to respect and value the children in their care.
It can be hard to set healthy limits with some other people for those who do not place a high value on themselves. They are also more likely to have a more positive view of themselves in general. When people do not respect a person’s space and time, this can lead to several complications. The lack of respect not only contributes to a person’s already stressful situation, but it also makes that person feel less valued.
Constantly trying to please others
Another common sign of low self-esteem is the tendency to try to win approval from other people. People who aren’t confident in themselves may go out of their way to ensure the contentment and comfort of others to garner the approval and praise of others and boost their sense of self-worth.
It is common for people to put the needs of others before their own, to agree to do things they might not want to do, and to feel guilty if they refuse to do something.
People who don’t think much of themselves frequently worry that they have made the incorrect choice, even after they have already made a decision. They have low self-confidence, and as a result, they frequently give more weight to the viewpoints of others rather than stick to the decisions they have made.
People who have low self-esteem may find it challenging to make decisions concerning their lives because of this, as it frequently results in a great deal of second-guessing and self-doubt.
How to build self-esteem and confidence
It is essential to take action to confront your sense of self and to get the help that you require because having low self-esteem can harm your emotional health and well-being.
Building your self-esteem is a process that takes time, but there are things that you could do to help protect your mental health while you are working on improving your self-regard and your self-esteem.
Among the things that you can do that might be of assistance are the following:
Stop negative self-talk
We tend to dwell on our shortcomings for such a long time that we ignore our virtues. This mindset can have a harmful effect on our sense of self-worth.
Therefore, the next time you find yourself having negative thoughts, pause for a moment and acknowledge what you are doing. Find evidence that contradicts these beliefs and use it to challenge them. Your way of thinking will change due to this, and you will begin to view yourself in a more favorable light.
Understand that no one is perfect
Nobody is without flaws, and there are aspects of ourselves that each of us wishes we could improve on. You should divide your weaknesses into two categories to stop these flaws from hurting your self-esteem.
The first category should be flaws that people can work on, and the second should be flaws that people can’t fix. Once you’ve learned to welcome who you are, you’ll find harmony within yourself and spend more time focusing on your strong points rather than your weaknesses. Once you’ve learned to accept yourself for who you are, you’ll start to find peace within yourself.
Developing healthy habits for oneself should be a top priority. Even if you have a full schedule, you should try to carve out some time each day to participate in activities that contribute to inner calm and overall health and happiness.
These habits could involve:
- Going for a walk.
- Reading a good book.
- Preparing a nutritious meal.
In addition, you must take care of your physical health by getting the recommended amount of sleep, eating the appropriate foods, and practicing good hygiene daily. Taking good care of yourself on a regular basis will make you feel better about yourself.
Get some help
Confide with someone who can help you no matter what. This person could be a friend or family member, but it could also be a doctor, therapist, teacher, or member of the clergy. Having a group of people who care about you and want you to care about yourself can help you improve your self-esteem.
Have some time out of your day to reflect on the things you have achieved and the accomplishments you are most proud of. Give yourself permission to value yourself and see your strengths without comparing yourself to others or focusing on the things you want to change about yourself.
You don’t have to be better than anyone else to value yourself, but it can be helpful to learn to appreciate yourself to work toward achieving your goals. Consider yourself as you would a close friend; doing so may prove beneficial. How would you behave toward a person you cared about if they were in the same predicament as you?
In many situations, you may find that you would show them understanding, patience, empathy, and kindness; therefore, it is critical to give yourself the unconditional support that you would give to others rather than beating yourself up.
Mind your thoughts
It helps if you start paying attention to the negative thoughts that automatically pop into your head. When negative thoughts start to take over, it is important to actively look for cognitive distortions and replace them with helpful thoughts.
Your mind and body could use some exercise. When you work out, your body makes endorphins, which make you feel good. It’s not compulsory to work out for an hour to feel better.
You can improve your health by going for a walk around the block or getting up and dancing. It takes time to build self-esteem, so be patient with yourself. All that matters is that you try your hardest.
Self-esteem is an integral part of reaching your goals, making good friends, and being happy with who you are. Even though everyone has confidence issues from time to time, low self-esteem can make it hard for you to feel satisfied and make you more likely to get anxiety or depression.
There are ways to get help if you feel like you don’t like yourself. Think about talking to a doctor or someone who works in mental health. A therapist can help you change how you think, which leads to low self-esteem, and improve how you feel about yourself and what you can do.
It might take some time and work to change how you see yourself, but you can learn to see and appreciate yourself for who you are.