What is Self-Esteem?
Self-esteem is how we value and perceive ourselves. It’s based on our opinions and beliefs about ourselves, which can sometimes feel really difficult to change.
Your self-esteem can affect whether you:
- like and value yourself as a person
- are able to make decisions and assert yourself
- recognise your strengths and weaknesses
- Are able to try new or difficult things
- show kindness towards yourself
- move past mistakes without blaming yourself unfairly
- take the time you need for yourself
- believe you matter and are good enough
- believe you deserve happiness.
What is Low Self-Esteem?
Low self-esteem is characterized by a lack of confidence and feeling bad about oneself. People with low self-esteem often feel unlovable, awkward, or incompetent.
Causes of Low Self-Esteem
The things that affect our self-esteem differ for everyone. Your self-esteem might change suddenly, or you might have had low self-esteem for a while – which might make it hard to recognise how you feel and make changes.
Difficult or stressful life experiences can often be a factor, such as:
- being bullied or abused
- experiencing prejudice and discrimination
- losing your job or difficulty finding employment
- problems at work or while studying
- ongoing stress
- physical health problems
- relationship problems, separation or divorce
- worries about your appearance and body image
- problems with money or housing.
You might have had some of these experiences, and you might also have had difficulties that aren’t listed here.
Is Low Self-Esteem a Mental Health Problem?
Having low self-esteem isn’t a mental health problem in itself, but they are closely linked. If lots of things affect your self-esteem for a long time, this might lead to mental health problems (for example depression or anxiety).
Some of the experiences of low self-esteem can be signs of a mental health problem, particularly if they last for a long time or affect your day-to-day life. For example:
- feeling hopeless or worthless
- blaming yourself unfairly
- hating yourself
- worrying about being unable to do things.
Having a mental health problem can also cause you to have low self-esteem, and it might feel harder to cope or take steps to improve your self-esteem.
How to Overcome Low Self-Esteem
- Surround Yourself with the Right People
- Get to Know Yourself/Become Your Own Best Friend
- Acknowledge Where You Need Change
- Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
- Repeat positive activities
- Take care of yourself, e.t.c