Low self esteem

Low self-esteem

Self-esteem is the degree to which we feel confident, consider ourselves valuable, and respect ourselves, and this greatly affects our well-being. Self-esteem exists on a continuum, from high to low, and low self-esteem is associated with self-doubt, self-criticism, social isolation, suppressed anger, and shame. Low self-esteem is also a symptom of several mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression.

Signs and symptoms

One of the most common features of low self-esteem is negative self-talk. People with low self-esteem regard themselves critically and may feel a perpetual sense of failure or lack of accomplishment. Feelings of low self-esteem are perpetuated by constantly comparing themselves to others and criticising themselves. These negative messages are rarely true, but the thought patterns may be so ingrained in a person’s behaviour that he or she doesn't recognise the frequency with which they occur. Upon examination, people often admit that the negative messages are inaccurate and that they would never say such things to another person.

Low self-esteem is also closely associated with the following conditions and experiences:

  • Co-dependency
  • Social anxiety
  • General anxiety
  • Shame
  • Depression
  • Inadequacy
  • Powerlessness
  • Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse
  • Perfectionism