Low self-esteem is a behavioral and thought pattern in which an individual lacks self-confidence and a healthy sense of self-regard.
While low self-esteem itself is not a medical diagnosis, it is often serious enough that it negatively impacts the life and well-being of the person with low self-esteem. It is likewise often accompanied by mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety, and can occur as a result of these conditions or on its own.
People with low self-esteem often report feeling awkward, incompetent, or worthless.
Their sense of self is typically fragile, and they are often hypervigilant to any signs of rejection or dislike from others. People with low self-esteem often seek the approval of others in order to feel good, and may, in some cases, form unhealthy, codependent relationships.
Low self-esteem can have a number of serious health consequences.
People with low self-esteem may not take proper care of themselves, forgoing adequate grooming and personal hygiene, and they may indulge in unhealthy habits such as binge eating and substance abuse in order to cope with their negative thoughts and feelings. Because they often lack confidence or feel guilt when asserting themselves, people with low self-esteem may greatly underestimate their capabilities and fail to live up to their fullest potential in their professional, social, and romantic lives.
Signs of Low Self-Esteem
Low self-esteem is often associated with mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, and indeed may be a result of these conditions. As such, many of the symptoms of low self-esteem are similar to those of these conditions. If you display any of these symptoms and believe you may be struggling with low self-esteem, it is vital that you see a qualified professional for a full evaluation to determine the root cause of your low self-esteem.
Common symptoms and signs of low self-esteem include:
Symptoms of low self-esteem vary from person to person, and no two cases of low self-esteem are entirely alike. If you recognize any of these symptoms, it may be worthwhile to seek an evaluation to gain a better understanding of your situation and the causes of these symptoms.
When you're in the grips of low self-esteem, life can seem hopeless. Feelings of incompetence, worthlessness, and failure seem to be a part of you, and it can often feel like you have no hope of ever changing.
Fortunately, however, these thoughts are just that: thoughts. Feelings of low self-esteem are caused by a variety of factors, and have little bearing on what you are actually capable of in life. In fact, the truth is you are likely far more competent and capable than your low self-esteem makes you believe-- it is simply these thoughts that distort your understanding of reality and make you feel less capable than you truly are.
The primary treatment for low self-esteem is cognitive behavioral therapy, a form of talk therapy that trains you to recognize these automatic, negative thoughts when they occur and to question them and put them in their proper context. For example, a person with low self-esteem may see rejection everywhere they look. If an acquaintance fails to text them back, they may think to themselves, "See? They hate you. That's why they didn't text you back."
Cognitive behavioral therapy teaches you to recognize these cognitive distortions, and to more accurately assess the reasons behind these events. The person in this example may reassess their initial negative thoughts, and come to more likely conclusions, such as "I'm sure they're just busy; they'll text me back later."
Depending on the root cause of your low self-esteem, medication may be necessary, although talk therapy is still considered the primary form of treatment. Many patients have had success recovering from low self-esteem without the use of medication. Only a qualified medical professional can recommend a proper course of treatment, however, so it is important that you reach out and set up an appointment if you believe you may be suffering from low self-esteem.
No one should go through life feeling like they don't belong, or that they aren't worthy of being human. But for countless people who struggle with low self-esteem, these thoughts become the norm. At Overcomers Counseling, we're dedicated to helping you break through the barriers of low self-esteem. Our compassionate, empathetic staff are prepared to give you the support you need to build a healthy sense of self-esteem, and become the best version of yourself you can possibly be. Call 719-345-2424.