What is self-esteem?
Self-esteem is your overall view of yourself and, if it’s low, it can stand in the way of self-acceptance. Self-esteem consists of all the positive and negative ideas that you have about yourself that take time to develop and eventually become a state of mind.
Today with the pervasive and intrusive influence of social media and our sensitivity to the group around us, as well as the breakdown of family, cultural and neighbourhood communities, low self-esteem has become a common denominator in many mental health problems.
Characteristics of low self esteem
- Low self-esteem has many causes and results in different conditions.
- Low self-esteem is learnt, is self-maintaining and is resistant to change.
- Low self-esteem may be constant or it may fluctuate.
Symptoms of low self esteem
Low self-esteem is associated with depression and anxiety, with self-doubt, with psychosis, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, substance abuse and chronic pain, to name a few.
A person suffering from low self-esteem may suffer from, amongst others, the following symptoms:
- a perception that you are inferior, defective or unworthy;
- a tendency to be extremely self-critical with frequent thoughts that are blaming and negative towards the self;
- a mental habit of using global descriptors, e.g., “I am ugly… useless… fat… unlovable…”;
- downplaying any good qualities and ignoring compliments.
Low self-esteem affects the sufferer’s life in multiple ways, for example, it may manifest itself as being moody, or in relationship conflicts, perhaps in perfectionism as a reaction to feeling so ‘inferior’, as social withdrawal due to feelings of inferiority, in a lack of self-care due to the depression caused by feeling unworthy and in severe cases of low self-esteem, it may lead to reckless or dangerous behaviours.
It may have serious consequences contributing to academic failure, teenage pregnancy, self-harm, suicidal behaviour and be detrimental to one’s economic situation.
A way out
Fortunately, you can learn to understand the roots of low self-esteem as well as the triggers for it.
Call or email us now to make an appointment with one of our psychologists to free yourself by learning how to think and behave in new ways so that you begin to develop different patterns of thinking and living in order to improve self-acceptance and free the mind from the debilitating effects of self-judgment and self-preoccupation.
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Inner West Psychology, 20 Jarrett Street, Leichhardt