If you suffer from low self-esteem, know that you’re not alone. Many people today struggle to genuinely trust and value themselves due to negative societal influences and the extreme competitiveness of life. Other factors that can cause a lack of confidence include ruminating over the past, negative self-talk, and being around abusive, unkind people.
Essentially, people who have poor self-awareness believe what others say about them rather than creating a positive image for themselves. They rely too much on external influences. Thus, they fail to see the beautiful traits in themselves, thus perpetuating the cycle.
However, it’s possible to improve one’s outlook on life and relationship with themselves by simply creating a different story. We often believe every thought that comes into our minds, not realizing we can shift that energy and raise our consciousness. We don’t have to give into these harmful thoughts about ourselves that only serve to make life miserable and have no basis in reality.
Identifying and addressing the root causes of low self-esteem can significantly improve self-worth and overall well-being.
What Causes Low Self-Esteem?
There are a few main reasons people have low self-esteem, such as the following:
1 – Negative Self-Image
A negative self-image can cause low self-esteem because it distorts one’s perception of themselves. Mental illnesses and even physical diseases may develop when people don’t value themselves. A poor body image can also negatively influence a person’s identity and result in depression, eating disorders, and other mental diseases.
Our thoughts become a reality, so if we want peace and harmony with ourselves and others, we must first change these damaging beliefs. It’s essential to watch your thoughts like clouds in the sky, knowing they will soon dissipate. In other words, become the watcher of your thoughts instead of identifying so heavily with them.
Remember, you’re not your body, thoughts, or even your mind, but a soul traveling through this life in a temporary human form. By getting to know the eternal soul through self-reflection and meditation, you can discover immense energy within yourself that will quickly dispel all negative thinking and cognitive distortions. Other strategies to develop a more positive identity include the following:
- Eating a balanced diet.
- Spending time in nature.
- Practicing plenty of self-care.
2 – Past Experiences and Trauma Lead to Low Self-Esteem
Childhood trauma and negative past experiences can also trigger low self-esteem and cognitive distortions. For example, if your parents often criticized you and didn’t offer much positive reinforcement as a child, it can harm your self-image and emotional regulation in adulthood. In this case, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or other forms of counseling can help you reframe and process past experiences. By doing these therapies, you can learn to forgive those who abused you and shift your perspective.
3 – Social and Cultural Factors
Today’s culture and social media influences, especially teenagers, can harm people’s self-esteem. Many children and young teens have social media accounts and can often fall into the comparison trap, increasing their risk of anxiety and depression. They’re particularly vulnerable to developing a poor self-image because they are still trying to understand their identity. Therefore, comparing themselves with others online can cause immense psychological damage.
However, in this case, it’s helpful to challenge these social factors by reducing media usage and instead going within for answers. Practicing self-acceptance can help you overcome low self-esteem and negative thinking patterns. If you stop seeking approval from others, you’ll notice an extraordinary shift in your self-esteem.
4 – Unhealthy Relationships May Cause Low-Self-Esteem
Another common reason for low self-esteem includes negative relationships and failure to establish boundaries. People who grew up with narcissistic or abusive parents may have developed people-pleasing behaviors and placed their self-worth in making others happy.
However, this habit can contribute to toxic relationships. That’s because people often go above and beyond to satisfy their partner while neglecting themselves. But by developing a healthy relationship with yourself, you can have more successful, fulfilling relationships with others.
5 – Fear of Failure and Perfectionism
Unfortunately, we live in the age of perfectionism, where nothing seems good enough. We always strive for lofty goals and achievements, not realizing we already have everything we need. This external striving and constant focus on self-improvement often leads to self-criticism and unhappiness. Fear of failure can make life miserable because it creates unrealistic expectations and causes people to seek self-worth in the outer world.
The only way to overcome this detrimental attitude involves looking within for self-worth and focusing more on finding peace rather than never-ending achievements.
6 – Lack of Self-Compassion
You may have a negative relationship with yourself if you lack self-compassion and self-kindness. Feeling like you don’t deserve self-care or love means you’ll look elsewhere for validation instead of within. But always remember that you’re worthy of all the love in the universe and already have it in your heart. You can regain your lost tranquility by creating a peaceful inner environment using positive affirmations, meditation, and other mindfulness practices.
7 – Comparison to Others
Finally, comparison to others triggers envy and can cause low self-esteem. As we said above, excessive social media usage can make you lose your inner peace and believe others are better or more capable than you. Instead of spending so much time online comparing yourself to others, focus on your inner world. Feeling peaceful and complete in yourself matters immensely more than anything you’ve learned in the past.
Three Tips for Overcoming Low Self-Esteem and Grow in Confidence
- Engage in regular self-reflection. If you have low self-esteem, you must remember your thoughts and notice your reactions. By watching your thoughts, you can learn to distance yourself from them rather than believing they’re a part of your essence. It takes incredible persistence and patience to improve your self-image, so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t notice results immediately. Keep improving yourself and purifying your internal environment of harmful negative thoughts and influences, and you’ll reap the benefits soon.
- Focus on personal growth and confidence-building strategies. To counter a poor self-image, focus on self-improvement, such as exercising daily, eating a healthy diet, and practicing mindfulness. Also, remember that your worth isn’t in how much money you make or your achievements. Instead, absolute confidence comes from establishing inner peace and bliss, regardless of outer circumstances.
- Seek professional help if necessary. Overcoming low self-esteem isn’t always possible alone. Of course, there’s no shame in seeking outside support. A therapist can help you reframe negative thoughts. Besides that, they teach you strategies to develop a healthier self-image.
Shifting Your Mindset to Reap the Benefits of High Self-Esteem
Changing from low to high self-esteem can benefit your overall well-being and quality of life. Here are some key advantages:
- Improved Mental Health: When you have high self-esteem, you are more likely to experience lower levels of anxiety, depression, and stress. It means you can enjoy better mental health and be more resilient in life’s challenges.
- Increased Confidence: High self-esteem fosters strong confidence and self-assurance in your abilities. When you believe in yourself, you are more likely to take on new challenges, pursue your goals, and embrace opportunities for personal growth.
- Better Relationships: Healthy self-esteem positively impacts your relationships with others. A positive self-image makes you more likely to form and maintain healthy, fulfilling relationships. You can set boundaries, communicate effectively, and engage in mutually supportive interactions.
- Achievement and Success: Self-esteem plays a crucial role in achieving personal and professional goals. With high self-esteem, you believe in your capabilities, which leads to greater motivation, persistence, and resilience in the face of setbacks. Thus, it enhances your performance and increases your chances of success.
- Enhanced Emotional Well-being: High self-esteem enables you to manage your emotions better, leading to a more positive outlook. It means you can experience greater happiness and cultivate inner peace. High self-esteem also reduces the risk of developing self-destructive behaviors or engaging in substance abuse.
- Healthy Self-Care: When you have high self-esteem, you prioritize self-care and maintain healthy habits. You value yourself and your well-being, making choices that promote physical and emotional health. These include regular exercise, eating nutritious foods, practicing good hygiene, and seeking support when needed.
- Increased Resilience: High self-esteem acts as a protective factor against adversity. When faced with challenges, setbacks, or criticism, your high self-esteem allows you to bounce back and maintain a positive outlook. You are more likely to view setbacks as temporary and learn from them rather than letting them define your self-worth.
- Improved Decision-making: High self-esteem empowers you to decide based on your values, needs, and aspirations. You feel fewer external pressures. Moreover, you’ll be more confident in your choices. It leads to a greater sense of autonomy and fulfillment in your life.
The shift from low to high self-esteem can positively impact various aspects of your life. Thus, it allows you to embrace your strengths, value yourself, and live authentically.
Final Thoughts on Building Confidence and Beating Low Self-Esteem
Low self-esteem has many causes, including negative external influences, childhood trauma, social media, and cognitive distortions. It may seem hopeless at times, but you can overcome feelings of inadequacy by practicing self-compassion, mindfulness, and other self-care strategies.
Improving self-worth takes time and effort. But you have all the power within yourself to change your outlook and grow in confidence. Remember that we see the world how we view ourselves. So if you want a more beautiful picture, you need only look within and remove all barriers keeping you from love.