Anyone of any age can have low self-esteem. People of any nationality and background can face feelings of not being good enough. It’s important is to honestly look at ourselves and think carefully about our self-worth if we are to get the best out of life.
With its negative impact on our mental and physical health, low self-esteem is commonly misunderstood. This article describes what is meant by self-esteem, and how we can recognize it.
What is healthy self-esteem?
A person with self-esteem appears to be friends with themselves. They treat themselves with self-respect and positive regard. When talking to themselves, they do not put themselves down.
They accept themselves for who they are and look out and after themselves. Someone with healthy self-esteem can appreciate that they make mistakes from time to time but this does not make them a bad or useless person.
Perhaps you know someone who doesn’t look after their own well-being, who may even proclaim to hate what they see in the mirror. These are the people who lack self-esteem.
Why is self-esteem important?
Self-esteem is important because it affects every area of our lives. It is a filter through which we experience and react to everything that happens to us.
Consider self-esteem to be like the roots of a tree. When life challenges us, a healthy sense of self allows us to stand firm and resilient.
What are the dangers of low self-esteem?
If our self-esteem is low, we may find ourselves flustered and shaken. People with low self-esteem have been shown to have an increased risk of mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety. In fact, there are a wide range of problems which can start when a person doesn’t value themselves.
These include: abuse, poor body image, disordered eating habits, unhealthy relationship patterns, impaired communication skills, negative thinking, and underachievement at work or school.
How can we recognize low self-esteem?
The person who constantly demeans and criticizes others may have just as low self-esteem as the person who talks badly about themselves. Low self-esteem is not always easy to recognize. For example, sometimes very successful people have low self-worth. Three types of people with low self-esteem are rebels, victims, and imposter.
- Rebels exhibit low self-esteem through defiance, and they attempt to assert themselves through flouting others. They are determined to show that they are somehow above or immune to the rules and punishments that everyone else lives by. Deep within they are indignant with a feeling of inadequacy.
- Victims don’t like to take responsibility for their actions or feelings. They find it easier to blame everything on an external cause and see no wrong in a pity-party. Victims are vulnerable in relationships because they tend to let someone dominate them.
- Imposters put a lot of energy into appearing self-confident. However, they are driven by an intense fear of failure and a constant need to prove themselves. Often imposters are very competitive and judging their achievement against others.
If you can identify yourself in any of these types, you may want to take action before your self-esteem sabotages your relationships and work.
How can I measure self-esteem?
A good starting point when we’re trying to make changes is have a baseline measurement. This online questionnaire to gauge your self-esteem is a good place to start. Once you have a clearer picture of your current self-esteem, you can make a plan to improve it. Here is an excellent self-help course to help you get started.