Awareness Life Style

How To Overcome Low Self-Esteem?


Imagine, you are in a group of people at a cafe for an important group discussion. You ask them to get you a black coffee as you are lactose intolerant, but they somehow by mistake bring a cappuccino with milk. Now here are some of the responses given, choose the most appropriate for yourself; (a) you will ask them to change it and bring a cup of black coffee to you. (b) you will get angry at them for not getting a black coffee. (c) you will drink that cup of coffee as everyone there suggests to you.

Read More: How to Improve Self-Esteem: 8 Tips to Give You a Boost

As the situation continues, (irrespective of the choices you have made with the coffee) your other group members are planning to conduct an event for which they need fundraising, management and other stuff done. You have a different opinion about the event and management, and everyone in the group is suggesting some or the other thing for the event to become exceptionally successful. Again we have given some of the probable responses, choose the most appropriate for yourself; (a) you will let them know about your thoughts and feelings, and share your ideas about the event. (b) as you don’t agree with them on the event management you will leave the place. (c) you will stay quiet and nod to each of their ideas as you believe your ideas are not as good as theirs.

And now the third situation, after the discussion, all of the group members are given a particular role in the team to abide by and help the event run smoothly. Some are having hospitality, some are working on social media and digital marketing, some are on the creative side of it and you got the job of acquiring sponsorship. You do not like the role and don’t have the set of skills to acquire sponsorships for the event. What will you do? Choose the most appropriate response for yourself; (a) you will make them understand that you are not able to do the role properly as you don’t possess such a skill set. (b) you will decide to leave the group. (c) you accept the role and do the needful even if you do not possess such a skill set.

The above questions are on several domains of self-esteem and the answers reflect your belief and thoughts. If in all three questions or most of the questions you chose option c then chances are you have low self-esteem.

Read More: Ideal self vs Real self

To understand what low self-esteem is, we first need to know about self-esteem. Self-esteem is our evaluation of ourselves. In other words, self-esteem is how and what we perceive about ourselves. It is our opinions and thoughts about ourselves that make us who we are and are often difficult to change. A person with good self-esteem, will accept who he/she is and have a positive outlook of themselves. On the other hand, the person who will have low self-esteem, he/she will be highly critical of themselves, and not actually how they are. Your self-esteem is an image you have of yourself but it doesn’t end here. If you have low or high self-esteem, this will affect all that you have in your life, whether it is about having a fulfilling career, relationship, or general health and well-being.

Read More: 10 Ways to Build Self-Confidence

Signs of low Self-esteem

  • Lack of confidence in yourself
  • Highly critical of oneself
  • Having trouble asking for help
  • Worry, self-doubt and anxiety
  • Indecisiveness
  • Lack of boundaries
  • Difficulty in accepting the good things in oneself
  • Negative outlook
  • Easily affected by criticism
  • Fear of failure
  • Hopelessness
  • Engaging in people-pleasing activities

The Impact of Low Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is directly connected to a person’s mental health. According to Gertsen, “Some people internalize negative events, see negative events as permanent and all-encompassing (global), while others see (one) as temporary and don’t internalize the negative event.” This pretty much explains the impact it has on an individual’s mental health and the overall idea of self. If someone encounters such an event that scars them for the rest of their lives, it is very difficult to change their mind and make them feel good about themselves. Lower self-esteem can cause distress in an individual and trigger depressive thoughts. Anxiety, trauma, and phobias are also some of the major challenges a person faces if they have low self-esteem. It is also a risk factor for suicidal ideation.

Causes of low Self-esteem

  • Highly criticized as a child
  • Distorted self-image
  • Bullied by peers
  • Lack of coping skills or maladaptive behaviour
  • Obsessive thinking patterns
  • Negative conditioning

How To Overcome Low Self-Esteem

If you are here till now it means you want to overcome low self-esteem in your life. To boost your self-esteem there are several ways but the first thing, which is the most important part in this entire process is to try to look for ways to help you overcome self-doubt. Trying itself is a positive word so if you are trying you are already one step ahead in the game.

Read More: The Psychology of Self-Perception

  • Identifying oneself: by now you know that lower self-esteem is a distorted image of oneself and to overcome that, one must identify oneself correctly. And to identify yourself you need to first take note of the negative thoughts you have about yourself. Now that you have a list of complaints you have about yourself, try challenging them with real-life experiences. This way you will either understand that you were wrong or you will become better in general. Doing this regularly will help you clear your mind from all the negative ideas that you had before.
  • Engage in small tasks: the joy of completing a task successfully is what you need to experience if you believe that you are good for nothing. Trying out small tasks every day will challenge your idea of yourself and will help you establish yourself as a capable individual.
  • Be less judgmental: “Judge less and love more” is the key to establishing healthy self-esteem. Try to think about what makes you do so, rather than judging yourself which might cause distress.
  • True perfection doesn’t exist: no two individuals are the same, and no individual can be perfect. Characters in movies and fiction books can only be perfect, as we only get to see a part of their personality. If fictional characters were real humans, dealing with life every day, they wouldn’t be as perfect as they are. Don’t seek perfection, instead seek development and growth.

If you want to be loved by others, love yourself first: love is an eternal part of our life. It is the only thing from which we get a sense of belongingness. Many of us often believe in the fact that we are not loveable creatures and to be loved one needs to always please others. Well, this might make you believe that by pleasing others you get to have a great bond with them, only till the time when you realize nobody cares about how you feel. So loving and respecting yourself and the things that you have in life will surely make you understand you need to look inside first and then ask others to love you.

Read More: 10 Best Books to Read For Self-Development in 2024

Seek therapy

while all of this might work for the general population to cater to your own needs you need to think of a personalized solution to your problems. Therapy’s goal is to empower an individual with self-acceptance and love for themselves to enable true abundance in life. Your therapist will help you deal with your problems and help you look into the causes of your problems.

Build a positive support system

humanistic psychologist Carl Rogers quoted while explaining unconditional positive regard, said “When the other person is hurting, confused, troubled, anxious, alienated, terrified; or when he or she is doubtful of self-worth, uncertain as to identity, then understanding is called for. The gentle and sensitive companionship of an empathic stance… provides illumination and healing. In such situations, deep understanding is, I believe, the most precious gift one can give to another.” it is important to have a support system where one can be with all their guard down. Having such is a blessing and building a group of people who support you will help you become even more confident about yourself.

Read More: Why Self-Acceptance Important for Mental Well-Being

To conclude, your self esteem is important and there are several ways to help yourself overcome low self esteem. Low self-esteem is not a curse nor it is an abnormality, and your self-esteem might affect you but it doesn’t define you. You are more than what you think. Just by the right people and method you can overcome any such self-doubt.

Read more related Articles from Psychologs

The Psychology of Discipline

The psychology behind self-motivation

The Psychology Behind Focus

The Psychology Behind Hard Work

Psychology Behind Aha! Moment

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