Low Self-Esteem

What is Self-Esteem?

Self-esteem refers to an individual’s overall evaluation or sense of their own worth or value. In other words, it is a measure of how much someone appreciates, values, approves of, or likes themselves. It is defined by and encompasses many factors such as identity, self-confidence, self-beliefs, sense of belonging, and feelings of competence. Self-esteem is not fixed; it generally changes over time and is malleable. Self-esteem affects motivation, decision-making, emotional health, relationships, and overall well-being. There are several factors that can influence and individuals’ self-esteem such as age, genetics, socioeconomic status, health, and personality. It is thought that life experiences and relationships, such as with parents, siblings, and peers, are the most important factors.

Effects of Low Self-Esteem

Individuals with low self-esteem usually doubt their abilities leading them to feel less motivated to engage in new activities or even to continue with hobbies. Low self-esteem can lead to decreased productivity in school or work and increased issues with relationships and one’s social life. Low self-esteem can also contribute to issues with mental health such as depression, anxiety, eating and food issues, imposter syndrome, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts.

Common Symptoms

The most common signs and symptoms of low self-esteem can include psychological, psychosocial, behavioural, and physical indicators:

  • Focusing on your weaknesses.
  • Frequent and intense self-doubt, worry, shame, and fear of failure.
  • Frequent negative thinking, outlook on life and feeling a lack of control.
  • Regular self-criticism (e.g. “I’ll never do well enough to succeed.”)
  • Comparing yourself to others and believing they are better than yourself.
  • Difficulties setting and maintaining boundaries and putting others needs before your own.
  • Difficulties accepting compliments and positive feedback.
  • Social withdrawal and lashing out at others.
  • Stomach issues in the absence of outward causes.
  • Headaches and back pains.
  • Insomnia and exhaustion.

Self Management Tips and Strategies

There are some actions and techniques that can be used to improve and increase self-esteem. These include:

  • Learning to identify and be aware of negative thoughts that are affecting your self-worth.
  • When engaging in negative thinking patterns, try challenging these thoughts with more realistic versions.
  • Use positive self-talk such as positive affirmations, gratitude lists, and taking self-appreciation breaks.
  • Reframe negative self-talk using distancing pronouns and language (e.g. instead of saying “I am dumb” try saying “That wasn’t the smartest decision in that situation.”)
  • Stop comparing yourself to other people especially what you see on social media.
  • Practice self-compassion by acknowledging, accepting, and forgiving past mistakes and moving forward without striving to be ‘perfect’.
  • Remind yourself of your accomplishments and personal successes.
  • Build and maintain connections with supportive people.
  • Learn mindfulness meditation.

When can a psychologist help?

When you feel like you are struggling and your life is being negatively affected by low self-esteem, especially if your mental health is being impacted. Psychologists can help you develop a greater sense of self-worth, self-acceptance, and self-love to improve your self-esteem. They can help you identify and understand the underlying causes of low self-esteem and process negative experiences in a safe, non-judgmental space. They can also help you to recognise, monitor, and challenge negative and unhelpful beliefs, doubts, and thinking patterns. Our team is here to help when you need support in finding ways to improve your self-esteem and be the best version of yourself. You can book online using our Book an Appointment button, give us a call on (02) 4625 3339, or email us at admin@innerspacepsych.com.au.

Make An Appointment Today

Book an appointment online now using our easy and intuitive online booking system