24 Nov Learning To Love Yourself – How To Overcome A Low Self-Esteem
Although not considered to be a mental health problem, having a low self-esteem can lead to daily struggles and life changing challenges that aren’t dissimilar to the feelings of someone who suffers with mental health problems.
If you have a low self-esteem you may often feel:
- Hate or dislike towards yourself
- Like you are worthless or not good enough
- That you are unable you make decisions
- That you are unable to assert yourself
- Like no one likes you
- That you have low confidence
- Guilty if you treat yourself
- That you are undeserving of happiness
- That you cannot recognise your own strength
Extreme symptoms such as feeling incredibly hopeless, blaming yourself unfairly, hating yourself or feeling unable to do everyday tasks may be symptoms of a deeper issue. If you feel regularly feel like this, it is advisable that you seek professional help.
Reasons for low self-esteem:
There are many reasons why you may have a low self-esteem. Are you being bullied at work or school? Do you have constant ongoing stress from work, school, university or family and friendship issues? Are you struggling to meet deadlines? Are you having relationship or friendship troubles? Do you have mental health issues?
However, sometimes the cause of a low self-esteem is rooted much much deeper. If you had an unhappy childhood with negligent or unloving parents you may regularly feel inadequate, rejected, unlovable or unwanted as an adult. Similarly, negative or negligible peer groups, both as a child and as an adult, can lead to a low self-esteem. If you have suffered some form of trauma in your life, such as abuse, your self-esteem may be affected as you will grow to feel like you don’t deserve respect.
If you performed poorly at school or felt like your career never took off, then you may have a lack of confidence in yourself and your abilities, which in return will lead to a low self-esteem. Or, alternatively, if you find yourself constantly aiming for unrealistic goals, then your self-esteem will be damaged when you can’t always meet them.
A poor body image can also drastically affect your self-esteem, especially if you’re a female. Unfortunately, our whole lives our bodies are compared to unrealistic ideals, and this can lead people to feel like that are imperfect and thus reducing their confidence.
How to overcome a low self-esteem
The best thing to do to overcome your low self-esteem is to learn new techniques to increase your confidence and love for yourself.
- Learn to be assertive. A really helpful way to overcome a low self-esteem is to take control of situations and set boundaries with people that you’re close to. Often we say ‘yes’ because of the fear of authority, hurting someones feelings or letting someone down. However, you should learn to say ‘no’ as this will prevent others from taking advantage of your kindness and stop you from taking on too much.
- Set yourself challenges/goals. Set yourself realistic goals to meet daily. Write them down and then tick them off at the end of each day so that you can reflect on your achievements. This will help you to realise how much you can achieve, and will increase your self-confidence.
- Try new things. Trying new things and achieving them is a fantastic way to improve your self confidence and overcome your fear of failure. Plus, taking up new hobbies will allow you to meet new people and try new experiences.
- Surround yourself with people who make you feel good about yourself. If you surround yourself with people who drag you down and don’t make you feel wanted, loved or worthy, then you will never feel adequate. Surrounding yourself will people who love you will be a big step to making yourself feel more loved.
- Focus on the positives. As hard as this can often be, focusing on the positive aspects of your life will increase your self-confidence, self-love and self-esteem. To focus on the positives, at the end of the day, you could write down everything good that happened that day and everything good you did, either for yourself or for others.
- Challenge your bad/negative thoughts. Nothing is ever as bad as it first seems and realising that will be a step towards a happier self. Although you will not be able to stop negative thoughts about your life and yourself occurring, you can learn to challenge them. When a thought, such as ‘you’re a rubbish friend’ pops into your head, take a second to think of all the reasons you are a good friend and all the things you’ve done to help your nearest and dearest.
- Get support. Ensure that you have family and friends who support you and your dreams. Although relying on people is not always easy, having people there that you can talk to in a time of need will make it easier for you to realise how wonderful you are. Also, your journey to self-love will be made easier if people are constantly rooting for you.
- Show some self-compassion. Being kind to yourself and taking care of yourself is one of the best ways to get to know yourself and your needs. Take time out of each week to focus on you – go for a walk, go shopping, read a book, do anything that makes you feel happy. It is really important that you do something you enjoy, and that you look after yourself.
- Practice meditation. Taking 10 minutes out of each day to focus on clearing your head and calming your mind will help you think about things in different a positive mindset. This article has some useful phone apps that can help you to meditate.
- Invest in therapy. Although, understandably, this is not feasible for everyone, if your self-esteem is drastically affecting your life then you should get access to therapy.