Do You Have Low Self-Esteem?

How confident are you in your worth and abilities? Do you frequently doubt yourself, put yourself down or feel inadequate?

Our self-esteem is defined by how content we are with ourselves and how much faith we have in our abilities and potential. If our self-esteem is low, we are likely to feel depressed, anxious, miserable or all three. If it’s high, we feel more purposeful, peaceful and generally happier.

Low self-esteem is becoming increasingly common in young people across both genders. It can affect our relationships, the way we treat ourselves, and our emotional, mental and physical health. It’s important to be able to identify whether or not you have low-self esteem so you can take steps to overcome it and live a life free of self-condemnation.

What does low self-esteem look like?

Someone with low self-esteem might show one or more of the following:

Negative self-talk: always criticising themselves or second-guessing their judgment.

Inability to see strengths: only able to focus on what they ‘can’t’ do rather than what they ‘can’ do.

Lacking confidence: unable to feel safe being themselves in front of others for no other reason than an inability to see what they have to offer.

Feeling depressed: constantly feeling weighed down by negative thoughts and circumstances to the point where life is not enjoyable.

Feeling needy: requiring others to fulfill their needs and keep them ‘fixed’, rather than taking responsibility for their own feelings and happiness.

Overly self-sufficient: refusing help from others even when practical.

Overly emotional: easily upset by an action or word that was not intended to cause pain; unable to take constructive criticism; emotional for no real reason.

Dwelling in self-pity: feeling as if the whole world is against them and that nothing ever goes right.

Unable to give: being so focused on their own needs they are unable to reach out and support others.

Unable to face faults: blaming others when things go wrong instead of taking responsibility for their own mistakes or faults.

Where does low self-esteem come from?

Low self-esteem is usually incurred over time, while stemming back to a past experience. If any of the above rings true for you, perhaps you were treated badly or were never shown any love. Perhaps an important decision you made went horribly wrong.  Perhaps you never had someone you could rely on for support and encouragement. Or, maybe you were verbally, emotionally, mentally, physically and/or sexually abused. Whatever the reason, it’s important for you to be able to indentify the cause, and, with appropriate support, find a way to truly heal from it. By not dealing with the root of the problem, the symptoms of low self-esteem are likely to keep reoccurring, which in turn will stop you from having healthy relationships and enjoying life to the full.

Next week we will look at ways to help you develop high self-esteem. In the meantime, if you have low self-esteem, be honest with yourself about it. There’s no shame in admitting you struggle to have faith in yourself, but be prepared to ask yourself why. Wherever that then takes you, always remember that while the healing may take time, it is possible to be happy and confident on a day-to-day basis, no matter what your past has been!