Low Self-Esteem A Common Pitfall: Tips On How You Can Challenge It
“I’m not good enough.”
“What if I screw up?”
“He will never like me, I’m not pretty enough.”
Words like these have definitely crossed our minds at least a couple of times in our lives. They act as walls, preventing us from experiencing life and all its adventures and uncertainties. It is normal to have a bit of self-doubt and feel low on your confidence from time to time. But what happens when low self-esteem becomes a daily battle; something you wake up with and fall asleep next to?
What is self-esteem?
A simple way to explain self-esteem is that your perception of yourself. Whether you deem yourself beautiful or unattractive, smart or stupid or anything else really, this depends on your self-esteem. Having healthy self-esteem means viewing yourself in a positive light while having low self-esteem often comes with self-deprecating talk and the feeling of unworthiness.
Why is low self-esteem such a common pitfall?
1. It causes self-hatred.
Low self-esteem is often associated with negative thought patterns, which stem from negative body image, trauma, abuse and many other reasons. The horrible self-talk you have when you look at yourself in the mirror or when you make a minor mistake eventually becomes a routine. Soon, it becomes something you think you deserve. This vicious cycle of self-hatred can lead to self-sabotaging actions, which then create even more self-loathing, forming an endless loop. This can cause feelings of shame, guilt, anxiety and depression which can affect daily life.
2. It encourages toxic perfectionism.
While having perfect looks, the perfect body, or the perfect career might be what’s expected of you to fit in today’s society, constantly expecting perfectionism in every aspect of our lives just isn’t realistic. It is okay to make mistakes. That is what makes us human. Unfortunately, for someone with low self-esteem, that’s just not how it works. They set exceptionally high standards for themselves and beat themselves up when they fail to achieve them. This then leads them to think that they are failures, and the cycle continues.
3. It creates people-pleasers.
Individuals with low self-esteem tend to think that by pleasing people and making them happy, they gain the love, respect and attention of others. This causes them to prioritize other people’s approval over their own happiness, creating a lack of boundaries and self-respect.
4. Fear and anxiety seem to be everyday companions.
Low self-esteem induces a lot of worrying and overthinking, since deep down they feel powerless and incapable to control situations and carry out their days like their seemingly confident counterparts. This causes a lot of fear and anxiety within themselves, negatively impacting their daily tasks and work or school performance. Having low self-esteem also makes it hard for these individuals to socialize out of the fear of scrutiny and feeling like nobody will like them, increasing levels of loneliness.
How do you overcome low self-esteem?
1. Repeat positive affirmations every morning.
It may not make sense as to how repeating a couple of phrases every day can help you be more confident, but I’ve been incorporating this into my morning routine for the past couple of months, and honestly, it works wonders. Telling yourself positive things every day helps you to break the cycle of self-degrading talk. Eventually, you’ll be led to believe that you are all the nice things you tell yourself! Every morning, look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself a couple of affirmations like “I am beautiful,” or “I am worthy,” before carrying on with your day. Being kind to yourself is extremely vital to loving yourself more. However, there is always a balance to be struck. Positive affirmations are not the cure-all.
2. Set realistic, achievable goals for yourself every day.
Eradicating toxic perfectionism doesn’t mean getting rid of high standards and challenges as a whole. It means being more forgiving and accepting of yourself during the process. Setting realistic goals that you know you can achieve is a great step towards that. Once you set these goals, achieving them will become much more enjoyable, making you feel much better about yourself.
3. Set aside time for self-care.
Our self-esteem is largely dependent on how we look and feel about ourselves. The better we feel about ourselves, the more confident we will be. Set aside about 15 to 30 minutes of your day dedicated just for taking yourself. This includes skincare, taking a hot bath, meditating, or reading that book you haven’t had time for. Take some extra time to pick out a nice outfit when you go out and maybe put on some makeup too! You’ll soon begin to realize how much happier you’ll feel about yourself.
4. Learn to say no.
If you are a people pleaser, the thought of saying no to someone might be a nightmare. Well, it’s time to start doing so. Saying no or disagreeing with things that you’re not comfortable with prevents you from getting overburdened and allows you to start treating yourself with the respect that you deserve. You are a priority and nobody else’s happiness is more important than yours.
5. Be brave and face your fears.
The best way to overcome fear and anxiety is by facing them head-on. This helps you to learn whether they are truly as scary as you think and to discover ways to improve and be more confident. If you are afraid of speaking in public, join a debate club or put yourself in situations where you have to speak! However, always remember to be kind to yourself and forgive yourself for any mistakes you make as this is all part of the learning process.
Overcoming low self-esteem may seem like a daunting journey, but it’s one that’s incredibly liberating. So chin up, smile, and start loving and believing in yourself. Remember that you are worth wonders and nobody can say otherwise.