Your Life Can Become a Mirror
of How You See Yourself
Unfortunately, life is not always easy, and we face grievous past events.
Most people who suffer from low self-esteem or a lack of confidence are hypervigilant to signs of rejection.
People with low self-esteem will look for rejection when there are no obvious signs of it.
Low self-esteem can cause; negative thinking, low or few expectations, little self-confidence, inability to accept compliments, ignoring and neglecting self-care needs, and a lack of social skills.
What is Low Self-Esteem?
Low self-esteem affects many different types of people and it is characterized by feelings of inadequacy, lack of emotional and physical confidence, and incompetency. As humans we have emotions, we cannot feel happy all of the time.
It is something that can take control of your life if it’s not corrected and worked on.
Many people feel that they are not able to do “right”. They think that they are incapable of using good judgment and they may make themselves vulnerable to the people who surround them.
Where does Low Self-Esteem come from?
Low self-esteem comes from an infinite number of places but there are studies that link it to specific situations in life, especially during childhood. During childhood authority figures are the most important people in our lives.
When authority figures are disapproving or uninvolved it can cause negative feelings. A parent that says things such as, “you are not good enough” can harm your self-image. A parent or an authority figure that is constantly criticizing you can make it hard to develop confidence.
It is difficult to motivate yourself and achieve your goals if you do not feel like your achievements were ever noticed. Children who feel neglected and unacknowledged often grow up to have problems with their self-esteem and self-image.
Can You Overcome Low Self-esteem?
The good news about low self-esteem is that you are not alone, it is possible to overcome and cope with these feelings. The biggest hurdle when trying to overcome feelings of inadequacy is learning to start practicing self- love and self-compassion and to stop listening to the critical voice inside of your head.
Our inner circle or our inner voice is the voice that observes and judges our actions and our thoughts. This voice can critique us and create a barrage of negativity if we allow it too.
In essence, these authority figures are creating an atmosphere where it is acceptable to feel inferior to other people. Studies point to the teenage years being the most important time for developing self-esteem. Trauma, body image, bullying, and unrealistic goals all lead to a negative self-image and self-esteem. Someone who has suffered from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse can feel shame and guilt all the way into adult hood.
Even adults start to feel some of these same feelings, especially if they have dealt with significant trauma in their adult life. Low self-esteem does not discriminate on race, gender, or age.
Examples of over critical thoughts:
“You shouldn’t speak, you make a fool out of yourself when you open your mouth”
“You are crazy, who is going to listen to someone who doesn’t know anything”
“You are fat and ugly”
“You are worthless”
These are all thoughts that your inner voice is creating and it essential that you learn the tools to challenge these thoughts and stand up to your inner consciousness. In order to challenge these thoughts, you will need to recognize when you are thinking these in a negative manner. As you begin to understand and recognize these thoughts you can start to combat them by:
Writing Down your Negative Thoughts:
As you write down your inner most thoughts write your biggest criticisms on one side of the paper. On the reverse side you are going to re-write your inner criticisms, but you are going to write them in as realistic and compassionate way.
This is a direct challenge to your negative voice, it helps stop feelings of shame. On one side you may write “You are crazy, who is going to listen to someone who doesn’t know anything” and on the other side you may write “You may struggle with some thoughts, but you are intelligent and contribute to conversations.”
Stop Comparing yourself to Others:
Our culture often makes us feel as though we need to fit in by fitting a stereotypical prototype. Comparing ourselves to try to boost your confidence can actually be detrimental to our self-esteem. When we compare ourselves to others our competitive self-starts to bounce up and down, we get a high and a low based on success and failure. Rather than comparing yourself to the people around you, start to set reasonable goals about the type of person you want to be.
Define your own Moral Code: As you are trying to build your self-esteem you will need to start with the most basic foundation, respect. Self-confidence and self-love are built on self-respect, and you will need to identify what morals line up and define your moral code. The more respect you have for yourself the more confident you will feel.
Write down your values and basic principles that are important to you and are easy to follow. Creating a moral code while aid as a reminder to hold yourself to a higher standard and bring a sense of value into your life.
Do something Meaningful to you:
Sometimes, it can be difficult to step outside of our comfort zone when you are insecure in your own skin. Taking the steps to enter a club or join in on an activity can help you find meaning in your life. When you are able to find meaning in an activity it can make you feel like you are taking part in something bigger then yourself.
There are many studies that prove that volunteering and taking part of different organizations around you make you feel better about yourself. As you think about what to participate in, remind yourself of the goals you have set and think about what is most important to you.
Develop a Beginners Mindset:
This is a way of retraining your brain to look at situations as if you were seeing them for the first time. Rather than going into a situation thinking you are not adequate enough think about the positive possibility a new situation can bring to the table.
This opens your eyes with eagerness, and it is a way to let go of pre-set expectations. Work on entering a situation from a new light rather than falling into patters of old behavior. When you are able to let go old behaviors and thought patterns you can create a new and positive outlook when you enter into a new situation or experience.
Know that you are Never Alone
Low self-esteem is something that is easily overlooked but it is present in many different people’s lives. It is important to remind yourself that you are not alone in your journey of self-love and happiness. As you learn to live in the moment and chose you actions you will start to take back control of your life.
Mindfulness and awareness are some of the best ways to recognize your thoughts and fears. It allows us to create a deeper more rooted connection between our emotions and our actions. As you continue to develop this skill you will be able to control and respond to your emotions appropriately.
Call Dr. Clare Albright, Psy. D., Psychologist, CA License PSY11660 at (949) 454-0996 at