Low self-esteem can be a very disabling condition. Self-esteem can be described as a person’s overall opinion about self, or whether the person feels good about the self and whether it deserves others' respect. Healthy self-esteem is very important for overall mental well-being, while low self-esteem generally focuses on the worries that a person is not good enough. Self-esteem builds up on one’s relationships, experiences and thoughts. It starts forming early in life but one can improve the self-esteem even later in life. No matter how hard it may seem, healthy self-esteem is something that can be improved with a lot of patience.
Symptoms of low self-esteem
People with low self-esteem are typically dissatisfied with themselves. On the other hand, they respond very sensitively to criticism, and they lack the ability to cope even with the constructive critics. These people are usually very indecisive, as they fear they might make a mistake when choosing upon something. They are usually kind towards the others, having an excessive will to please. They have troubles saying “no” to others and they usually end up doing things out of fear from displeasing somebody. When they engage in something, they tend to do it perfectly, paying a lot of attention to avoid any possible mistake. They are basically preoccupied with perfection, which is rooted in the heavy self-criticism. People with low self-esteem usually exaggerate their mistakes and complain about them never actually reaching full forgiveness. On the other hand, if they do something good, they believe it has a lot to do with luck, chance, or someone else's responsibility. People with low self-esteem are generally disappointed and unsatisfied with everything in life. They are very irritable and may often be hostile. One of the biggest problems with low self-esteem is that it diminishes the will to enjoy the life. The general negativity is actually a defense system where one tends to be pessimistic about everything, as it makes it easier to justify the failures.
Factors that influence the self-esteem
To improve the self-esteem, one will have to work on different factors. One of the most important things to work on are the others' reactions and own thoughts and perceptions. Culture, religion, role and status in society are also very important as well as the school and work experiences. The most important thing to work on is the relationships to close people. Negative feedback from close people is one of the most common causes of poor self esteem. Cognitive behavior training can be very helpful to reframe the negative thinking patterns and correct the misperceptions that lead to one’s weaknesses or flaws.