Causes, Effects and Solutions to Low Self-esteem: So many people believe that a person can automatically, by simply willing it, control the amount of confidence they have in the face of others. While the power of will is a great place to start, more is involved in building self-confidence or self-esteem. Other crucial steps would be identifying the signs of, and investigating possible causes of low self-esteem. This is why this article not only points out markers for low self-esteem; it also offers you ten suggestions on what might be wrong.
The subject of ‘Self-worth’ refers to a person’s judgment of their worth. It has to do with how high or low they rate themselves, and a sum of multiple factors e.g. identity, level of performance, feelings of consanguinity. The subject holds such a central position in virtually all areas of our lives where the lack of, would be a serious issue.
A mistaken belief people have of self-esteem is that it is limited to ‘liking oneself’. Granted, it is important for us to ‘like’ ourselves, but there should also be an understanding that we deserve to be loved, and that our opinions and notions on different subjects are valid. The reason for this is that having self-esteem not only impacts self-judgment, it also the determining factor in what you can tolerate from others. It is capable of spilling into your determination to pursue different goals, and even relationships (in and out of the workplace) that would put you in better or healthier positions.
It is difficult to gauge how very widespread low self-esteem is, but several research projects have shown that the level is most likely to deepen as one attains his/her youth. This is why we have come up with different signs that could help you identify low self-esteem in both yourself and others.
Causes of low self-esteem
Low self-esteem is not limited to a group of people or a particular age or gender. It is a feeling that can be expressed by anyone at any stage of life. Before we identify the causes of low self-esteem, there are some examples of low self-esteem which will add more to this article.
Some of the signs of low self esteem include: Self doubt, being overly apologetic for things one should not be apologising for especially when you are not wrong; feeling unnecessarily ashamed or frightened when you are amongst your peers; always wanting to please others just to avoid conflict; downplaying your accomplishments by thinking that you do not deserve what you had or fear of how others will react when you showcase your achievements; having a bad image of yourself and feeling the need to be perfect before you can measure up to others’ expectations and so on.
There are other unlisted examples of low self esteem and they are all based on the flawed perception of what people think of you. It should be noted that low self esteem can be caused by environmental and psychological factors. So, what are the causes of low self esteem?
1. Poor/Critical Parental Upbringing: I believe it was Stewart Stafford that said that caregivers play a huge role in shaping our view of the world and with that, our self esteem. This is true because our collective beginnings are traced to the families we belong to. If a child is brought up in a home where he or she is verbally abused on a frequent basis, such a child will not be confident in public.
There are some overly critical parents that expect perfection from their wards in their chores, academics or extra curricular activities. Even though on a general notion it is motivating, it can be emotionally disturbing for children who need more support and encouragement. When they grow up to be adults, they do not feel the need to be content with what they have.
They become engrossed with succeeding to the highest level in order to be accepted by society and if they don’t measure up, they are filled with self regret. Also when the parents do not give quality attention to the child it can lead the child to feel unloved and disregarded. The child will translate the feeling of loneliness and dejection to his/her perception of what the society is all about.
2. Cultural factors: When it comes to a family, the values and interests are largely the same and if not, there is still that bond. The society is a constellation of different people from different families. If a part of society has a bond with one another, it is because there is a tribal or racial connection which they all have.
Imagine being the only different one in the midst of a group of persons who speak the same language or are from the same ethnicity. In more cases than one, there is the instilled feeling of rejection even when the circumstances are not dictating such.
It is worse when a set of people treat a person discriminatively because of the religion or race he or she belongs to or because of an orientation such person has. This can lead to lack of self confidence or trying to always appease the multitude.
3. Negative Experiences: Not everyone is wired the same way. There are some persons who recover quickly from adverse past events that happened to them and move on. There are others who have to live with that burden of what they passed through. For the latter category, the outcome of situations like this is usually low self esteem.
Take for instance, a child that has been sexually or repeatedly physically abused. It is not very easy to forget the traumatic experience and have a boost in confidence. Amongst other things, what you will find in that child is a feeling of insecurity, inability to socialize and feeling intimidated by others who have not gone through such experience.
If a child has been bullied while in school or in the neighborhood, the child will be very timid even when he or she grows up to be an adult. It is often said that the past shapes how we see the present and that is why those with bad experiences hardly view themselves in high esteem.
4. Unnecessary comparisons: When there is always an internal strife that someone has questioning if he or she is good enough, this is one fact that should be checked. There is a lot of competition going on in all walks of life whether in business, politics, entertainment and so on. People easily measure their worth based on the successes or failures of others.
Once a person becomes engrossed with whether he is as good as or better than the next person, his esteem begins to lower because he is examining his achievements by others’ standards. This makes them vulnerable in situations where if they fall short, they feel as though as they have completely failed. This is the beginning of self doubt and ill confidence in themselves.
5. Body Image: The way we see ourselves in our bodies can be a huge contributor to self-esteem. In our world today, there are so many projections of what the perfect body should look like. A person who is uncomfortable in their own skin, in light of these projections may start losing their confidence.
6. Unrealistic Goals: It is important that we set high goals for ourselves in order to be successful. However, it is counter-productive if we unrealistically set these goals; whether academic or professional. You must know your own abilities and tailor your goals to those abilities. It is okay to want to push boundaries, but we must be aware of the dangers of mounting undue pressure on ourselves, and feeling inadequate when we fall short.