Many of us throughout our lives will suffer with low self-esteem or a poor sense of self-image. It is a common enough occurrence and some are lucky enough to pull through it and regain that sense of self-worth.
But for others, low self-esteem can become a life dominating issue that colours everything they do. So what exactly is it and what can be done to deal with it?
What is self-esteem?
Self-esteem is a term used to describe how we see ourselves. We might see ourselves as attractive or ugly, clever or smart as well as many more subtle views. Low self-esteem can develop at any stage in our lives, though many people who suffer badly find that it has a root in early years.
People with low self-esteem dislike or even hate themselves, see themselves as worthless and think that nobody likes or cares for them. They often take the blame for things that are totally out of their control. A lack of decision-making ability can surface along with constantly second-guessing themselves when they do make a decision. They think they donâ€™t deserve happiness, have no strengths or good points and little confidence in any aspect of themselves.
Coping with low self-esteem
For some people with low self-esteem, these feelings can lead to negative behaviour. For example, they might think they are unattractive, overweight and look terrible so they constantly diet, to the point that they can make themselves unwell or even lead to an eating disorder. Or because they think no one values them, they will do things they hate or may even be wrong, to fill the void and gain love or appreciation.
The first step in coping with low self-esteem is recognising that you have it. Weâ€™ve all gone through periods where we hate something about ourselves or we feel like no one thinks we are worth anything. It can help to talk to a professional who can guide you to see where you are with your self-esteem and where the root of the problem lies.
Low self-esteem can manifest due to a wide range of situations. It may be down to a single or short series of events such as being bullied or abused. It could be due to a physical or mental illness or even ongoing stress. Loss of a relationship, such as a separation or divorce, as well as the loss of a job can all have this effect.
Solving the problem
Once you have identified the cause of your low self-esteem, then you can begin to combat it. How this works is different for each of us and is a lot to do with understanding the good things about yourself and in your life. Learning to focus on the positives rather than being dominated by the negative can help get rid of low self-esteem.
You may also find that in working on your self worth and confidence, other benefits come along with it. You find a new job, a new relationship or even make the change in your life you have always wanted to. This can all be done with the right help and attitude as well as some simple hard work!