Self Esteem

Are You Suffering from Low Self-Esteem?

Do you lack the self-confidence and self-belief you need to make your own way in this world? Is this destroying your spirit and preventing you from moving forward in the way you had once imagined?

Many people suffer through periods of low self-esteem, and often for many different reasons. If you are one of these people, then you probably recognize the fact that you tend to judge and/or evaluate yourself negatively. Moreover, you probably have a low personal value and opinion of yourself, or maybe a low appraisal and evaluation of your self-worth. In fact, low self-esteem might be making you feel somewhat useless, inferior, inadequate, incomplete and worthless. This is certainly no way to live.

Symptoms and Habits of Low Self-Esteem

There are many symptoms and habits of low self-esteem. However, taken in isolation, these symptoms certainly do not indicate that you have self-esteem issues. Red flags should only be raised when several symptoms come bundled together and begin taking over your life.

Here is a list of the symptoms of low self-esteem you should look out for:

  • Constantly striving for perfection.

  • Having low or biased exceptions of yourself.

  • A tendency to exaggerate your problems.

  • The habit of accentuating the negatives.

  • Underestimating your personal ability.

  • Ignoring the positives and potential opportunities.

  • Being riddled with self-doubt.

  • Constantly blaming and criticizing yourself.

  • Lack of self-confidence in your ability to get things done.

  • Inability to accept compliments.

  • Unable to concentrate because of a lack of energy, which often results from poor sleep patterns.

  • Hesitant and tense physiological movements.

  • A tendency to avoid people and social situations in an attempt to steer clear of judgment, criticism, and the evaluations that other people might make about you.

  • Often experiencing the emotions of loneliness, guilt, frustration, dejection, hopelessness,anxiety, anger, shame,worry, sadness and depression.

Experiencing one or more of these emotions from time-to-time isn’t a clear indication that you have self-esteem issues. However, if you tend to cycle through many of these emotions throughout your week, then it’s a clear sign that something is not right and that low self-esteem could be the underlying problem.

How is Low Self-Esteem Maintained?

It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly how every individual maintains low levels of self-esteem. However, certain factors come into play that can often lead you down the self-esteem spiral.

For starters, indulging in any of the low self-esteem habits discussed above will tend to keep you within a very poor state-of-mind that naturally positions you on the low end of the emotional spectrum. In fact, the more of these symptoms you have, the more you will struggle with your emotions.

In addition to these symptoms and habits, low self-esteem is often maintained because you have very restrictive personal assumptions and rules. What this means is that you make certain assumptions about things in a very negative way that provides you limited options moving forward. You also tend to see the worst in every situation, which gives you very little hope for the future. On top of this, your rules and personal standards are very restrictive. You don’t expect much of yourself, and as a result, you tend to stay constricted within the confines of your comfort zone and never take the necessary risks to break out of emotional slumps.

Your restrictive rules for living your life are often built upon poor language choices that provide you with minimal options moving forward. For instance, you often use words such as:

  • If I don’t… then…

  • I should never…

  • I must… or else…

  • I can’t…

  • I should do this… but…

The words and phrases you use provide insight into the rules that tend to govern your life, decisions, and actions. And it’s these rules that continue to drain your self-esteem.

You also tend to aggravate your self-esteem by making negative self-evaluations. Your evaluations are so poor and limited that you are left with no hope for the future, and no hope of improving your current circumstances. You tend to do this because it helps “ground” you and gives you a sense of control.

The Evolution of Self-Esteem Over Time

Self-esteem encompasses your personal attitudes, beliefs, emotions, biased self-opinions and expectations, as-well-as your behaviors, decisions and actions. It also encapsulates the unhelpful assumptions you tend to make, the rules you live by, and the negative self-evaluations that tend to rob you of any hope for the future. All of these factors that go into building or destroying your self-esteem have manifested in your life over time and are built upon certain events that have influenced your emotional growth over the years.

Low self-esteem often stems from negative life influences and/or experiences you have had over the course of many years going right back to early childhood. Your family, friends, peers, teachers, role models and society, all played an important part in the development of your self-esteem as you were growing up. They showed and taught you — directly and indirectly — how to best handle your emotions during difficult times, how to overcome obstacles, how to interpret the events and circumstances in your life, etc. Some of these lessons were helpful, however, if you’re experiencing low self-esteem at the moment, then it’s likely that other lessons you learned over this period were quite unhelpful, and now you have a set of ineffective emotional coping skills that are restricting you in a variety of ways.

There might have been significant moments of your life that left profound emotional and psychological scars. For instance, prolonged illness, neglect, abuse, hardship, and punishment can leave a lasting impression on your mind. And it is these things that are currently influencing how you process and interpret the world around you. You might have for instance found it very difficult to fit-in socially at school and/or at home while growing up. This has left a very deep emotional scar that you tend to hold onto in the present moment — directly affecting your levels of self-esteem.

Other reasons why you might be suffering from low self-esteem today could be because of a lack of attention, encouragement, warmth, praise or affection you received as a child. Maybe you simply failed to live up to other people’s expectations of you. Maybe they had very high personal standards and limiting rules that you found very difficult to live up to. This entire experience while growing up has made you feel somewhat incapable, incompetent, worthless, inadequate, inferior and useless. You have no self-belief and meager expectations of yourself and your ability.

Your low self-esteem can also be attributed to the observations you made as a child. As a child, you would observe adults going about their daily lives. These adults experienced hardships, setbacks, and personal problems. How they dealt with these challenges was important, because the habits, behaviors, and emotions they displayed during these moments had left a lasting impression on your mind. These adult mentors taught you how to handle life’s difficulties and how to cope with your emotions indirectly. And today, you are doing what you know — what you’ve been taught — for better or worse.

All this goes to show that your low levels of self-esteem aren’t entirely of your own making. In fact, you learned and picked up certain ways of doing things and responding to situations from other people. Your current levels of self-esteem and the coping mechanisms you use to work through your personal challenges are a result of many years of conditioning that you went through while growing up. But even though you might not be responsible for this conditioning, you are however responsible for your own life today. And if something is not working for you, then you must take responsibility for changing things for the better and reconditioning your mind in a more positive and empowering way that will help you to live the life you desire to create for yourself.

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