What Is Low Self-Esteem
Self-esteem issues are characterized by an absence of confidence and feeling depressed about self-esteem. People who have low self-esteem frequently feel awkward, unlovable or unworthy. According to research by Morris Rosenberg and Timothy J. Owens who co-authored the book Low Self-Esteem People A Portrait of a Collective People with low self-esteem tend be extremely sensitive. They are afflicted with a fragile sense of self-worth that can easily be hurt by other people.
In addition, those who have poor self-esteem tend to be “hypervigilant and hyperalert to signs of rejection, inadequacy, and rebuff,” write Rosenberg and Owens. People who lack self-esteem often perceive rejection and disapproval even when they don’t have any. “The risk is always that they’ll fail, make a mistake or use bad judgment, do something embarrassing, expose themselves to ridicule or behave in a way that is immoral or behave in a manner that is disrespectful. The world in all its forms presents a continuous danger to self-esteem.”
The self-esteem of everyone is at risk to the opinions of others who can openly criticize or mock them or expose their weaknesses I’d suggest that a greater threat to self-esteem lies within. Rosenberg and Owens discuss:
“As the observers of our own thoughts, actions and emotions We do not just observe these things in our minds but also make judgments about these phenomena. We can also be our harshest critic, constantly berating ourselves when we make mistakes or forgetting something we ought to recall, or expressing ourselves unnaturally, breaking our most sacred commitments towards ourselves. We may also lose self-control or acting in a reckless manner–essentially doing things that we regret and might even be able to disapprove of.”
The harsh inner critic, that the psychiatrist Dr. Robert Firestone refers to as the Critical Inner Voice is a contributor to a negative self-image. A negative view of self can have serious consequences. For instance, if you believe that people dislike their appearance, they’re inclined to steer clear interaction with other people.
They are also more likely to respond defensively, cynically or even to lash out. Rosenberg and Owen claim that “the extent and nature of that we interact with other people is heavily influenced by our perceptions of ourselves regardless of their truthfulness. Indeed, our perceptions of ourselves are among the primary foundations upon which our behavior in social interactions rests.” Additionally that when we judge our own self as negative and self-define ourselves as uncomfortable, unlovable, insensitive or shy, etc. It becomes ever more challenging to imagine that other people may view us in a positive way.
“In a nutshell, to have low self-esteem is to live a life of misery,” end Rosenberg Owen and Owen.
Overcoming Low Self-Esteem
The positive aspect is that it’s possible to overcome self-doubt! Two key elements are essential to overcome the negative self-image. First, not listen to your negative inner voice. Second, begin working on self-compassion.
Stop Listening To Your Inner Critic
The critic in us is the internal observer who is a cruel judge of our actions and thoughts. This nagging inner critic continuously is a constant source of negative self-talk about ourselves and those who surround us. It destroys confidence in ourselves regularly with negative thoughts such as…
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“Nobody likes you.”
“You need to remain at a distance. If you talk, you’re making you look like a fool.”
“Why can’t you be like other people?”
To overcome low self-esteem, it’s important to confront those negative thoughts and face those who criticize you. On PsychAlive we offer an entire category of articles and a variety of webinars as well as an electronic course dedicated to this topic. It is the first thing to realize when you begin thinking about self-defeating thoughts. After that, you are able to decide not to follow the character attacks of your critic and bad advice. It’s useful to imagine how you’d be feeling if you heard someone else telling you these things and you’d likely be angry and demand them to stop or explain why they’re incorrect regarding you. Try this approach when responding with your own inner critic.
One method to accomplish this is to note down all the critiques from your inner critic on one side of paper. You can then write an honest and compassionate assessment about yourself, on the opposite side. For instance, if, for example, you write self-criticisms such as “You’re stupid,” you might then write “I may struggle at times, but I am smart and competent in many ways.”
The challenge to your inner critic can help end the cycle of shame that leads to low self-esteem. If you can recognize your critical inner voice that feeds the self-deflections you experience and self-criticism, you will be able to fight the inner critic and accept yourself for who you are.
Start Practicing Self-Compassion
The solution for self-criticism is self compassion. Self-compassion is a method of treating yourself as you would treat a friend! It’s a fantastic way to boost faith in your self. Studies have proven that self-compassion can be more beneficial for your well-being than self-esteem.
The Dr. Kristen Neff, who is a researcher in self-compassion, states that self-compassion does not rest on self-evaluation or judgment It is built on a consistent attitude of compassion and acceptance towards yourself. Although this might sound easy and easy, practicing self-care with kindness and compassion can be difficult at first. But you’ll learn greater self-compassion when you practice in the course of time.
Here Are Three Steps To Practice Self-compassion:
1.) Accept and note your discomfort.
2.) Be compassionate and kind when you encounter pain.
3.) Be aware that imperfections are an aspect of human nature and is something we all share.
Self-compassion exercises are available at the Dr. Kristen Neff’s website.
How To Develop Self-Confidence
Studies on self-esteem have shown that both high and low self-esteem may cause social and emotional problems for people. High self-esteem may be linked with Narcissism (read here for more about it here). Self-esteem levels that are low could be related to social anxiety, a lack of confidence and depression. The best kind of self-esteem can be described as moderate self-esteem that’s built on the belief in the intrinsic value of an individual, and less on the comparisons one makes with other people. If you are looking to build confidence in your self, it’s more beneficial to focus on the highest levels in self-worth rather than having high self-esteem levels.
I’ve previously written about improving self-esteem and building confidence. Alongside facing your self-criticism and practicing self-compassion, here’s several other methods for having confidence in yourself.
Stop Comparing Yourself To Other People
Intentionally boosting confidence by comparing your self-worth against other people is a huge mistake. According to Dr. Kristen Neff explains, “Our competitive culture tells us we need to be special and above average to feel good about ourselves, but we can’t all be above average at the same time…There is always someone richer, more attractive, or successful than we are.” If we judge our self-worth based on external accomplishments as well as the perceptions of other people and the competitions we face, “our sense of self-worth bounces around like a ping-pong ball, rising and falling in lock-step with our latest success or failure.” Social media is a great way to exacerbate this issue, when people share their perfect photos and dazzling achievements that we then compare with our flawed, soiled daily lives.
To build confidence, it is important to not compare ourselves to others. Instead of being concerned about how you compare against the people around you, consider the kind of person you would like to be. Set goals and make decisions that align with your values.
Live Up To Your Own Moral Code
Self-confidence and self-esteem are based by self-respect. If you live your life that’s in accordance with your own values however they might be they are, you’re more likely to value yourself and feel more confident and perform better in your daily life. For instance the study by the University of Michigan found that students “who based their self-esteem on internal sources-such as being a virtuous person or adhering to moral standards-were found to receive higher grades and less likely to use alcohol and drugs or to develop eating disorders.”
If you want to feel confident in yourself, it’s vital to maintain your integrity and make sure your actions are in line with your words. For instance, if eating well and looking and feeling your best are significant for you, you’ll be happier if you keep your lifestyle in a healthy way. If your actions aren’t in line with your words, you’re much more vulnerable to self-criticism. The inner critic will love to highlight these flaws. It is important to consider your primary values and to act with them in order to build confidence.
Do Something Meaningful
Human beings generally feel better about ourselves when we accomplish something worthwhile, or participate in things that are more important than us and/or beneficial to other people. This is a wonderful method to build confidence and building healthier self-esteem.
Studies have shown that volunteering has a an effect positive on the way people are viewed by themselves. Researchers Jennifer Crocker recommends that you seek “a goal that is bigger than the self.” When you’re pursuing meaningful endeavors it is essential to determine what is most important to you. For some it could be helping out at a homeless shelter or tutoring youngsters, taking part of local government, or gardening with their friends, etc. Look for the breadcrumbs to where you will find meaning, and you could improve your self-esteem rising along the route.