Self-esteem is how you think and feel about yourself; this may be positive, negative or move between the two points. This usually dictates how you live your life and the decisions you make – and how you view others too.
The more positive feelings you have about yourself, the higher your self-esteem is; the more negative feelings you have the lower your self-esteem is.
A world where people continually compare themselves with those around them, highlights our insecurities and often leads us to feel negative about ourselves and the way we live. We lose sight of the value of our own individuality and then feel inadequate and unsatisfied. It can become an enduring personality trait.
Working to improve your self-esteem takes time and effort. It requires courage and honesty to confront the things in yourself you don’t like but long-term it is a worthwhile task which should help you to feel better about yourself and your life.
Working Minds will be with you each step of the way.
Symptoms of low self-esteem
- feeling worthless
- feeling incompetent and unrealistic about our abilities
- feeling unloved
- being overwhelmed with fear and negative thoughts
- being unrealistic about goals
- being drawn into destructive relationships
- fear of change
- distorted views of self and others.
What causes low self-esteem?
Our esteem develops from our experiences and relationships from birth. Negative experiences and troubled relationships lower it, and good experiences and strong bonds raise it. No single event or person determines your level of self-esteem, it develops over time and can change with time and events.
Healthy self-esteem allows people to be realistic about goals, accept criticism, learn from mistakes and be adventurous but not reckless. Low self-esteem makes people fearful and unrealistic about goals and risks, which further dents their self-image. They also compare themselves unfavourably with others and have little natural ability to protect themselves.
Negative experiences and troubled relationships can lower self-esteem but it is constantly changing. Some people may be less resilient to recover from set-backs and may need to find an external source of strength to help them change.