Everyone has moments of little confidence. People naturally have good days and bad days. There are days when one thinks primarily negative of themselves and nothing seems to go right. Most people snap out of this attitude within a day or two, maybe a week at most.
People with low self esteem do not snap out of it. It is their life, day in and day out. Every day brings a feeling of not being good enough. “I can’t do that.” “I’m never good enough for anyone.” “Everyone is so much better than me.”
These are just a few things that people with low self-esteem will say to themselves. Maybe they will hide these feelings from people, but eventually it will show. Low self esteem can cripple a person and should be treated immediately.
According to the Mayo Clinic Website (www.mayoclini.com), the following are characteristics of someone with low self esteem; little value is put on one’s opinions or ideas, the main focus is placed weaknesses or faults, very little focus is placed on skills or assets, it is believed that everyone is better or more capable in everything, one is unable to accept compliments or positive feedback, and fear is failed.
Someone who shows symptoms of low self-regard often fail to thrive because they are unable to take chances or move outside their comfort zone. They feel as though trying anything new or different will result in failure.
Better jobs are not applied for, better colleges are out of the question, better relationships aren’t strived for, etc. The list goes on and on. People with low self-esteem are crippled due to their thoughts that they are not good. They continue to listen to their own negative thoughts and ignore others’ positive thoughts.
2 – Causes
What causes low self esteem is not a simple conclusion. There are many factors that come into play.
- A person who does not think highly of themselves could feel this way due to the way their parents talked to or about them.
- They could be like that because of a hormonal imbalance.
- It could be due to a string of failures that led one to think things would always be that way.
- It could also be because of one major disappointment that deeply affected them. For example, a high school student makes every effort for years to get into a certain college. They study extremely hard, participate in extra-curricular activities, and do everything that looks good on college applications. Their dream is to get into their college and they spend all their energy working towards that dream. Then the letter comes in the mail. Their application was declined. They will not be going to their college of dreams. All years of hard work was for nothing. They were still not good enough and will never be good enough for anything.
While sometimes low self esteem can be a combination of things over years that caused it, sometimes it is one event.
Take a look at how to boost self esteem. But one major factor is your childhood.
3 – Age
Teenagers seem to be the most likely to succumb to negative thoughts which evolve into a more serious problem of low self-esteem. This is because they are at an age where acceptance is everything. Teens develop low self esteem as a result mainly of peers’ criticism. It is a very fragile time of life as appearance and material things are very important.
They aren’t as easy to forget a negative comment or lacks of having what their friends do. Children seem to be the next likely to succumb to the problem. They too are very sensitive to criticism. When constantly criticized and never pleasing loved ones (especially parents), negative thoughts will take over any positive ones. In childhood, parents play the most important role.
This is why it is especially important to receive positive feedback from one’s parents. This isn’t to say that parents should constantly give false compliments, but to focus on the positive more than the negative. If negative (or realistic) feedback is necessary, it should be followed up with a positive one as well.
4 – The Endless Downward Spiral
One with low self-esteem can often find things getting worse and worse. It can become the endless downward spiral. A girl who never applied for a good college because she didn’t think she would be good enough to get into will have a smaller pool of well-paying or meaningful jobs.
The girl will not only accept less than good enough, she will settle for less than good enough because she doesn’t feel she is good enough for a better paying job. Since she has a little paying or meaningless job, she will never feel like she does better so she will never give her top performance. Since she doesn’t give her best, she will not be promoted or given raises.
When she doesn’t get promoted or raised pay, she will assume it is because she is not good enough. The spiral goes on and on and each new disappointment adds to the already worrisome problem. Things can get very bad without treatment.
5 – Treatment
Treating low self esteem requires little more than counseling unless something like depression accompanies it. However, just going to talk to a counselor or therapist will not be enough.
One has to work on it with themselves as well. Negative thoughts must be replaced with positive ones. It will require a lot of work on the part of the person with low self esteem. They will have to want to get better.
If someone with low self esteem does not apply their knowledge and work hard at changing their behavior, they will never get better. Once one does start to change their thoughts, their outlook will drastically change. This is the only way to boost self-esteem.
6 – Too Much of a Good Thing
Just as too low of self-esteem is a bad thing, so is too high of self-esteem. There really is too much of a good thing when it comes to one’s self-worth. People with extremely high self-regard are no better than their counterparts. They too are unhealthy. They feel entitled to everything whether or not they actually deserve it. They will rarely work hard for things because they think everything should just come to them because they are so great. They have very elevated egos and think they are above the law many times.
They might be disrespectful and uncaring about other’s feelings. These people often help create low self-esteem in other people. People with elevated self-esteem border on narcissism, which is a very serious and sometimes dangerous psychological disorder. This issue needs addressed and corrected just as much as low self-esteem.
Low self-esteem can easily occur and become routine if not recognized and treated early on. If one’s psychological state is already frail, low self-worth will kick in with just a simple negative comment. This comment will be remembered and repeated in their head over and over again along with the other negative thoughts.
If addressed soon enough, low self esteem should not cause a serious problem in one’s life and should be fairly easy to treat. Without addressing this problem early on, it can cause extreme issues that are hard to fix immediately. The longer self esteem goes on, the longer treatment will be necessary.