Low self-esteem can be a lifelong problem that can affect pretty much every aspect of your life.
People with low self-esteem tend to have a negative self-image, feel inadequate, and are more susceptible to depression.
Some signs of low self-esteem include feeling anxious, feeling unloved, and ashamed of who you are.
You may have trouble making friends, keeping a job, or reaching your full potential because you don’t feel like you’re good enough.
You’re also likely to be overly sensitive to criticism and compliments alike.
But listen, if you’re struggling with self-esteem, you’re not alone. I myself spent my teens and early twenties feeling inadequate and invisible. I didn’t think anybody liked me or that I was good enough to do anything.
There are many reasons why your self-esteem may be low, but the good news is that there are ways to boost it – I certainly did!
In this article, I’ll look at 10 reasons why your self-esteem may be low and provide tips on how you can give it a boost.
Let’s get started:
1) Disapproval from authority figures
Disapproval from authority figures is one of the most common reasons why your self-esteem may be low.
If you’ve ever felt like your parents or other authority figures didn’t approve of who you are, it’s very likely that it has affected your self-esteem. I mean, how could it not?
It can be difficult to form a positive view of yourself when the people closest to you are critical of you.
If you’ve tried to share your interests with your parents or teachers but have been shut down, it may have made you feel like you cannot pursue those things. This can affect your self-esteem because you may believe that you are not worthy of following your passions.
2) Bullying during childhood
I was bullied for years.
The other girls constantly made fun of me (I was a minority at my school) and any time I made a friend, I would lose them to someone better. I’d usually be told, “I can’t be your friend because Samantha said that if I want to be her friend, I can’t be yours.”
It’s no wonder I developed low self-esteem.
Bullying can leave you feeling helpless and unworthy. You may be feeling defeated because of teasing or name-calling that happened during your childhood.
You may have drawn the conclusion that there’s something wrong with you because you’ve been bullied. If you’ve been teased for many years, it can have a lasting effect.
You may have decided that you can’t do anything right, you’re not good at anything, or you’re not worthy of being liked.
3) Unloving and cold parents
Luckily, I have very loving parents, but it’s not the case with everyone.
Some people are just not meant to have children.
If you’ve had unemotional and cold parents, it can have a negative impact on your self-esteem.
Being emotionally neglected as a child can have very serious consequences.
You may believe that you’re not worthy of love or affection. If your parents never showed you affection and were indifferent to you, it’s possible that you came to the conclusion (as a child) that there’s something wrong with you.
4) Childhood abuse
If you’ve ever experienced childhood abuse, it can have a negative impact on your self-esteem.
The thing with abuse is that it almost always leaves the victim feeling like it’s their fault – like there’s something inherently flawed about them.
Whether the abuse was verbal, emotional, sexual, or physical, it probably made you feel small, insignificant, and powerless.
What’s more, it probably made you feel like you’re not worthy of love or that you’re so bad that you deserved what you got.
5) Impossibly high standards
As a result of some of the points above, it’s possible that you have set impossibly high standards for yourself – something that can damage your fragile self-esteem even more.
And guess what – impossibly high standards come from a need to prove yourself.
But if you constantly put pressure on yourself to be perfect, you can end up feeling like you’ll never be good enough. And you wanna know something? It’s impossible to be perfect!
What’s more, you’ll probably end up losing sight of all the good qualities you do have because you’re fixated on the things you fail at.
6) Lack of body positivity
One of the biggest causes of low self-esteem is a lack of body positivity.
Too often, people focus on their flaws and physical imperfections, rather than celebrating their unique features. This can take a serious toll on a person’s confidence
When I hit puberty I put on some weight and became extremely depressed about it. All the other girls in my class were skinny. The girls on the covers of magazines were twigs. And don’t let me get started on movie stars. So how was anyone ever going to love me?
The key to improving self-esteem is to start cultivating body positivity. This means accepting our bodies for what they are and learning to love them.
It means embracing our unique shapes and sizes and learning to appreciate our flaws. It also means practicing self-care and taking time to do things that make us feel good. When we start to focus on body positivity, we can start to break through the cycle of low self-esteem.
We can start to feel more confident and empowered, and start to feel like we can achieve anything we set our minds to. So if you want to start feeling better about yourself, start by being kind to your body.
7) Comparing yourself to others
Comparing yourself to others can be a surefire way to lower your self-esteem.
Constantly measuring yourself against the successes of others can foster feelings of inadequacy and insecurity, making it difficult to feel good about yourself.
Comparing yourself to others can also lead to feelings of jealousy and resentment. You may be too hard on yourself and not give yourself enough credit for your accomplishments, or you may focus too much on what you don’t have instead of on what you do.
This can lead to a downward spiral of low self-esteem and dissatisfaction with your life.
Fortunately, it is possible to break the cycle of comparison and replace it with more positive thoughts and behaviors.
Be mindful of the messages you tell yourself and recognize when you’re engaging in unhelpful self-talk. Celebrate your own successes and be kind to yourself, even when you don’t measure up to others.
8) Parents who constantly fight
It’s no secret that parental fighting can have a negative impact on children. But what is less known is the effect it can have on their self-esteem.
When children are constantly exposed to arguing, it can lead to feelings of embarrassment, anxiety, and even guilt.
This can cause them to believe that their parents’ arguments are somehow their fault — even though they’re not. This can lead to low self-esteem and a feeling of worthlessness. It can also keep children from speaking up and having a voice in the family.
Parents need to be aware of the effects their arguments can have on their children. It’s important to try and be respectful when conflicts arise, and to make sure children know that they are safe and loved.
It’s also important to remind them that parental disagreements are not their fault and that they are loved and valued.
Trauma can leave us feeling invalidated, alone, and unworthy. It can also lead to feelings of guilt and shame, creating a negative self-image. This can have a profound impact on our mental health, leading to self-doubt, fear of failure, and a lack of confidence in our abilities.
Fortunately, there are ways to treat trauma and improve self-esteem. Counseling, therapy, and support groups can help a person process the trauma and learn to cope with the emotions it brings.
With the right help and support, a person can rebuild their self-esteem and find the strength to move past the trauma.
10) Belief systems
Finally, I blame belief systems.
Belief systems, whether they be religious, cultural, or moral can have a profound impact on an individual’s self-esteem.
In many societies, certain beliefs are instilled in people from a young age, and these beliefs often lead to low self-esteem.
For example, in some religions, it is believed that women are inferior to men. This can lead to women having negative self-images and feeling ashamed or embarrassed about their own capabilities.
In addition, some belief systems impose rigid rules and expectations on their followers, creating feelings of guilt and shame if those expectations are not met. This can be particularly damaging.
It is important to recognize the power of belief systems and how they can affect an individual’s feeling of self-worth.
How to boost your self-esteem
By understanding the root causes of low self-esteem, it is possible to take positive steps to address the issue and build a healthier, more positive self-image.
Let’s take a closer look:
1) Changing your perspective
The first thing that you need to do to boost your self-esteem is to change your perspective.
When you’re feeling down on yourself, it’s easy to get stuck in a negative cycle of thoughts.
But focusing on the positive aspects of life can help you to see things in a more optimistic light, and can even lead to feelings of joy and gratitude.
Looking at things from a different angle helps to broaden your horizons and open your mind to new possibilities. It can also help you to take an honest look at yourself and your situation, and to recognize the things that you have to be proud of.
Changing your perspective can also help to boost your self-esteem by allowing you to appreciate yourself more.
Remember that everyone has flaws and that having flaws doesn’t make you any less worthy.
2) Practicing self-care
The next thing you need to do is to practice self-care.
Self-care can look different for everyone, but it involves taking time for yourself to do things that make you feel good. This could be anything from taking a bath to reading a book to going for a walk.
Taking the time to focus on your own well-being can help you to start to feel more positive about yourself and your abilities.
It’s also important to remember to take care of your mental health. Spend time with friends and family, practice gratitude, and take steps to reduce stress.
All of these activities can help to lift your spirits and make you feel more confident in yourself.
Self-care is an essential part of looking after yourself and your well-being, and it’s a great way to start to boost your self-esteem.
So make sure to take time for yourself and do things that make you feel good. Your mental health will thank you for it.
3) Focusing on your strengths
We all have our weak points, but if we focus on our strengths, we can boost our self-esteem and build more confidence in ourselves.
When we focus on our weaknesses, it can often leave us feeling overwhelmed and undervalued. But if we focus on our strengths instead, we can start to see ourselves in a different light and recognize our potential.
It can be difficult to break out of the mindset that our weaknesses define us, but when we focus on our strengths, it can provide us with a sense of empowerment. We can use our talents and abilities to our advantage and build a more positive outlook.
It takes practice, but the results can be life-changing.
So instead of dwelling on what you can’t do, focus on what you can do. Whether it’s writing, cooking, or sports, focus on the things that make you unique and special. We all have our gifts and talents — the key is to recognize them, nurture them, and use them to increase our self-esteem.
4) Practice self-compassion
Have you ever considered that instead of beating yourself up all the time you should try to be kinder to yourself?
Self-compassion involves accepting your weaknesses and shortcomings and viewing them with kindness and understanding. It also means recognizing that everyone has these challenges and that it’s natural to feel sad, angry, or stressed sometimes.
When you practice self-compassion, it’s easier to get back on your feet and move forward. You’ll be better at accepting failure and criticism, and you’ll be more likely to reach out for help when you need it.
So if you’re feeling down or have low self-esteem, make it a priority to practice self-compassion.
5) Develop healthy habits
It’s time to develop some healthy habits!
In my experience, healthy habits are the key to boosting your self-esteem and improving your overall physical and mental health.
From getting regular exercise to eating healthy, the benefits are numerous.
- Exercise helps to release endorphins, which can improve your mood and make you feel more confident.
- Eating healthy provides the fuel your body needs to function at its best.
- And getting enough sleep, practicing mindfulness, and taking time for yourself are all incredibly important for your mental health.
All of these habits also help to build resilience, which can help you to bounce back from difficult times and stay positive. And lastly, these habits can help to give you a sense of control and mastery – two of the key ingredients to feeling good about yourself.
So if you want to boost your self-esteem, start by taking small steps and building healthy habits.
6) Building confidence
Let me guess, your confidence isn’t looking so good, is it?
Well, self-esteem and confidence are connected. Building confidence is one of the most important things you can do to boost your self-esteem.
I know it can be hard to do, especially if you have low self-esteem to start with. But with the right tips and tricks, you can start to feel more confident and enjoy life more.
- One way to build confidence is to start with small goals. Achieving even the smallest of goals can have a positive effect on your self-esteem.
- Another way to boost your confidence is by focusing on the positives. Positive self-talk can help you to focus on the things that you do well and boost your overall self-esteem.
- You can also practice mindfulness or relaxation techniques to help reduce stress and anxiety, which can often lead to low self-esteem.
- Finally, it’s important to surround yourself with people who lift you up and make you feel good about yourself.
By taking the time to focus on building your confidence, you will be able to enjoy life more and have a much higher self-esteem
7) Making positive changes
If you want to boost your self-esteem, one of the best things you can do is to make positive changes in your life. This could mean setting goals, developing new skills, or even just taking small steps toward achieving something that’s important to you.
When you start to reach your goals, no matter how small, you’ll start to build your self-esteem.
One of the most important things to remember is that you don’t have to do it all at once. Even small changes can have a big impact over time.
You can start by complimenting yourself every day. This may sound silly, but it can make a huge difference. Even if you don’t feel it right away, eventually you’ll start to believe it.
Another great way to boost your self-esteem is to challenge yourself. Take on a new challenge, whether it’s a personal goal or something related to your job or school.
You’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish when you push yourself a little.
8) Seeking professional help
A therapist or counselor can help you identify the root causes of your low self-esteem and work with you to develop strategies to make positive changes.
They can also help you to reframe your thoughts so that instead of focusing on your weaknesses, you start to focus on your strengths. Plus, they can provide support and encouragement, so that you can start to feel better about yourself.
Whether your self-esteem issues stem from childhood experiences, or you’re just feeling low at the moment, speaking to a professional can help you to build your confidence and become the best version of yourself.
9) Stop comparing yourself to others
Comparing yourself to others is an easy trap to fall into and it can have a devastating effect on our self-esteem.
When we compare ourselves to someone else, we often focus on the gap between us and them, rather than celebrating our own unique strengths and talents. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and even depression.
But here’s the good news: there is a way to boost your self-esteem and it starts with being kind to yourself and focusing on your own individual success. Instead of comparing yourself to others, start to focus on what you have achieved.
Celebrate the progress you have made, no matter how small it might seem. Remind yourself that you are capable of great things and focus on your own goals and dreams. And most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
With the right support, you can create a healthier and more positive relationship with yourself — and that’s something to be excited about!
10) Change the relationship you have with yourself
Finally, did you know that one way to overcome low self-esteem is to work on the relationship you have with yourself?
Whatever the reason for your low self-esteem, it’s obviously changed the way you see yourself and the way you approach relationships with other people.
But what if I told you that you could change all that?
Renowned shaman Rudá Iandê has created a mind-blowing video on Love and Intimacy which will not only help you come to the root of your problem, but will also help you fix the relationship you have with yourself and help you become truly empowered.
The best part about it is that Rudá actually offers practical solutions that you can apply in your everyday life.
Low self-esteem can be a real struggle, but the good news is that it can be improved.
One of the best ways to start is by learning to accept yourself. This means accepting both your strengths and weaknesses and not trying to be perfect.
It means not comparing yourself to others, but instead embracing your unique qualities.
It means being kind to yourself and learning to forgive yourself for mistakes.
When you start to accept yourself, you’ll start to view yourself in a more positive light.
You’ll be more confident and feel more secure in who you are.
You’ll become more open to trying new things and taking risks.
And you’ll be better able to handle criticism and accept compliments.
All of these things will help to boost your self-esteem and improve your overall well-being. So take the time to learn to accept yourself, and you’ll be well on your way to a better sense of self-worth.