Low self-esteem is when a person has a lack of self-respect or confidence in their abilities. And, it happens to be a factor that accompanies most common mental health disorders. These types of mental disorders may include depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder, and so on. When a person has low self-esteem, they can feel worthless, useless, or they may even feel as though they are a burden.
This image of self and self-worth can be a byproduct of abuse in early childhood, bullying, or any form of trauma that affected their confidence. Toxic relationships can also take this kind of toll on a person’s sense of self.
Many things can affect a person’s confidence. As stated, childhood traumas or even abuse in adulthood can create psychological issues such as low self-esteem. To boost confidence and when building self-esteem, one must first be conscientious of their low self-esteem. When we become aware of the signs of low self-esteem, we’re able to stop certain habits that further depreciate how we view ourselves. The following are a few signs that you may have low self-esteem.
Creating Unnecessary Competition
Individuals suffering from a lack of confidence are also likely to be quite self-conscious. This can result in over-analyzing one’s self. These harsh judgments can come from unrealistic expectations or self-limiting beliefs. If you find yourself creating competition and trying to compete with the progress of others, this may be a sign that you deal with a lack of confidence as well as low self-esteem.
Nothing is wrong with a little healthy competition. However, one shouldn’t measure their worth or success based on the progress of others. Each person is unique and progresses at their own rate. So, it’s important to only compete with yourself, ensuring you always do better than you did before.
Constantly Comparing Yourself
If someone feels incomplete, there is a likelihood they may compare themselves to others. Money, physical appearance, occupation, and relationships are all common things people compare with others. Many people often think that the ‘grass is greener on the other side’ when it comes to things they aren’t content with within their own lives. Thus, they long for the things other people have. One may compare themselves to another based on a standard.
For example, some equate having a lot of money to happiness because they may see a lot of people with money who look happy on the outside. When they don’t have as much money as they think they should, they feel incomplete. Thus, happiness becomes unattainable without acquiring a lot of money. If someone always looks at what they are missing, this may also contribute to even more insecurities.
Having Trouble Making Decisions
Uncertainty is the result of being unsure. One could be uncertain about what they want. A person can also be uncertain about their capabilities. When we look at someone who is confident, we often see these people are headstrong, certain, know what they want, and aren’t afraid to go after what they want. However, people with low self-esteem are usually not as expressive when it comes to their desires or they aren’t sure what they want.
There is even uncertainty about whether they are deserving or not. This negative self-image is what prevents many people from being outgoing, going after their dreams, and taking chances. As a result, people with low self-esteem may play it safe, being reluctant to deviate from their comfort zone.
Someone with low self-esteem may interpret things the wrong way, taking comments personally. An individual could just be asked their opinion about something and that they may become defensive immediately. This usually stems from a fear of being rejected, criticized, or disapproved of. If and when this happens, the individual may then internalize the rejection, criticism, or disapproval, taking it quite personally. This can exacerbate poor self-worth, negative self-image, and low self-esteem.
People with low self-esteem may even be triggered by objective statements. However, due to being self-conscious, those objective statements can become internalized as personal attacks even despite the personal attacks being unintentional.
If a person was told that they weren’t smart their entire lives, that verbal abuse is very likely to translate into low self-esteem. That person may grow up holding themselves back from opportunities. This is due to the fact that those with low self-esteem often have self-limiting beliefs. Self-limiting beliefs are perceptions or assumptions about yourself that prevent you from achieving your dreams and pushing yourself to new limits. So, you may feel like you aren’t good enough, capable enough, or deserving enough.
Let’s say that a person didn’t think they were smart enough. When offered the opportunity to go to a really good school, they may feel intimidated because they don’t think they are smart enough to get in. Because of this belief, they don’t apply. Thus, they retract the opportunity before they even take the chance. This can also be to protect themselves from rejection, criticism, and disapproval that they may internalize. Thus, the cycle continues. The mentality then becomes that one can’t fail if they don’t try, but there is always a chance they will fail if they try. This happens to be another sign of low self-esteem; Pessimism.
Everyone is responsible for their own lives. While people can’t control everything in their world that takes place, they can at least control the decisions that they make. Even the decisions we don’t make can have a negative bearing on our lives. As explained previously, those with low self-esteem have a habit of looking at things from a ‘glass half empty’ perspective. With the pessimistic approach, some of these individuals take on an external explanatory style for the negative events that occur in their life.
This can be blaming others for their position or finding some external reason as to why they are the way they are. One example of this is an individual with a fixed mindset. People with a fixed mindset believe that their talent and intelligence are fixed traits. Those with a fixed mindset believe that the abilities people have can not be changed and are predetermined. This mindset can cause or be the result of low self-esteem.
Low self-esteem and a lack of self-confidence are very common. Knowing the signs of low self-esteem and a negative self-image can allow people to become more conscientious. Thus, confidence-building becomes much easier as individuals learn to supplement these negative habits with more positive approaches.