Self-esteem is your opinion of yourself. People with healthy self-esteem like themselves and value their achievements. While everyone lacks confidence occasionally, people with low self-esteem feel unhappy or unsatisfied with themselves most of the time. This can be remedied but it takes attention and daily practise to boost self-esteem.

See your doctor for information, advice and referral if you’re having trouble improving your self-esteem or if low self-esteem is causing problems such as depression.

 

Characteristics of low self-esteem

Typically, a person with low self-esteem:

  • Is extremely critical of themselves
  • Downplays or ignores their positive qualities
  • Judges themselves to be inferior to their peers
  • Uses negative words to describe themselves such as stupid, fat, ugly or unlovable
  • Has discussions with themselves (this is called ‘self talk’) that are always negative, critical and self blaming
  • Assumes that luck plays a large role in all their achievements and doesn’t take the credit for them
  • Blames themselves when things go wrong instead of taking into account other things over which they have no, control such as the actions of other people or economic forces
  • Doesn’t believe a person who compliments them

 

Low self-esteem and quality of life

A low self-esteem can reduce the quality of a person’s life in many different ways, including:

  • Negative feelings: the constant self-criticism can lead to persistent feelings of sadness, depression, anxiety, anger, shame or guilt
  • Relationship problems: for example they may tolerate all sorts of unreasonable behaviour from partners because they believe they must earn love and friendship, cannot be loved or are not loveable. Alternatively, a person with low self-esteem may feel angry and bully other people
  • Fear of trying: the person may doubt their abilities or worth and avoid challenges
  • Perfectionism: a person may push themselves and become an over-achiever to ‘atone’ for what they see as their inferiority
  • Fear of judgement: they may avoid activities that involve other people, like sports or social events, because they are afraid they will be negatively judged. The person feels self-conscious and stressed around others and constantly looks for ‘signs’ that people don’t like them
  • Low resilience: a person with low self-esteem finds it hard to cope with a challenging life event because they already believe themselves to be ‘hopeless’
  • Lack of self-care: the person may care so little that they neglect or abuse themselves, for example, drink too much alcohol
  • Self-harming behaviours: low self-esteem puts the person at increased risk of self-harm, for example, eating disorder, drug abuse or suicide

*Ref Better Health


You have a treasure within you that is infinitely greater than anything the world can offer.

Eckhart Tolle

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