Exploring Low Self Esteem

In a previous post, The Three Factors of Self Esteem, we talked about what self esteem is and how it is built/destroyed. Here’s a quick recap:Self esteem can be defined as one’s confidence in his or her abilities and worth. Because of this, a lot of  our actions and emotions stem from the state of our self esteem. The state of a person’s self esteem relies heavily on his or her environment. Personal experiences combined with what we see and hear from others shape our self esteem. A person’s locus of control, sense of belonging and acceptance and sense of  competence work together to help shape high or low levels of self esteem. (For the complete post go here https://lossforwords360.wordpress.com/2011/05/11/the-importance-of-self-esteem/.) 

If you or someone else suffers from low self esteem this post will help explain the potential causes and manifestations of low self esteem.

What Causes Low Self Esteem?

Distorted Locus of Control: As mentioned in a previous post, The Three Factors of Self Esteem, environmental factors help form and shape self esteem. If a person’s locus of control is exterior, he or she believes that they have no control over life. Because of this, he or she may not care about what happens to them in the future. If a person has an internal locus of control, he or she believes that they control their destiny. However, if the person’s actions result in negatives or failures, his or her self esteem will be low.

Abuse: It is often reported that people with low self esteem have been the victim of abuse. For many, the abuse occurred during childhood when the person is beginning to develop his or her self-image and self-worth.

Family and Friends: A person’s family and friends have a profound influence on a person’s self esteem. If a person’s family and friends are constantly being disrespectful, mean and degrading, then his or self esteem will be low.

Negligence: If a person is constantly put in situations where he or she is ignored or shown a lack of affection, he or she will find it difficult to trust and interact with others. This is especially true for those who were neglected as children.

Excessive Criticism: When someone is constantly labeled as a “failure”, “loser” or simply told they aren’t good enough, he or she loses their self-confidence. This causes the person to feel worthless and depressed. They will become pessimistic and hesitate to take action.

Bad Experiences: Have you ever felt happy, but then had a conversation with someone who was in a bad mood? Did you feel crappy afterwards? This is because people tend to take in the negativity around them. If a person is constantly experiencing failures or let downs, he or she will feel worthless.

Physical Appearance: People who think they are ugly and hate their bodies have lower self esteem than those who think they are attractive.

Unemployment: Those who are unemployed feel like failures because they are unable to provide for themselves and their families.

Lack of Achievement:  Have you ever tried your best at something but still failed at it? It doesn’t feel good. If someone is constantly trying their best and failing, his or self esteem will definitely plummet.

Symptoms of Low Self Esteem

It may be difficult to tell if someone is suffering from low self esteem at first glance. However, if you spend time with them and know the signs, it may be easier to pick up.

In general, most people with low self esteem are pessimistic and prefer solitary lifestyles. They tend to dwell on the negatives. Most people with low self esteem avoid social situations because they lack confidence and social skills. They tend to not be able to take a compliment and are constantly afraid of being criticized. Because of this, people with low self esteem usually tend to not take up too much responsibility or quit things that they find challenging. People with low self esteem also tend to be self negligent, controlling, defensive, perfectionists and suffer from consistent anxiety and emotional turmoil.

Low self esteem can also be the cause or a major component in a variety of health conditions. Depression, eating disorders, hoarding, domestic violence, cutting, and borderline personality disorder are just a few examples of where low self esteem can be seen.

Wonder where your self esteem rates? Take this self esteem at http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/interactive/interactivetests/selfesteem.php. I got a 65 which is pretty good. What did you get? More posts on self esteem will be coming in the next few weeks! Thanks for reading.

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