Self-doubt is more insidious than you think. It can severely hamper your ability to make independent decisions as you may not feel like you know enough to choose your own route. Those with high self-esteem often make decisions that are independent of others approval or criticism. They have a strong intrinsic belief that allows them to value their opinion and judgment over others.
Here are four questions to help you assess whether you have high or low self-esteem.
Do you respect yourself?
Do you show your self-love through pride in yourself?
Do you believe in your abilities and intrinsic worth?
Do you take good care of your mind, body, and emotional health?
Your self-esteem is a mirror to what you believe you can do and how you feel about yourself. This doesn’t only affect how you perceive yourself, but also, how others perceive you. Your internal monologue may have the idea that if you “are good enough” then others will like and respect you. In truth, the constant question of whether you are good enough may make you think others are being critical of you. This belief may lead to you making safe decisions in order to lower the risk of making mistakes.
The first thing to beginning to solve a problem is to acknowledge it and learn more about it. As self-esteem can cause far-reaching negative effects on your current life and future, building your self-esteem is crucial.
Here are some symptoms of low self-esteem.
ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION
When you feel poorly about yourself, anxiety and depression may be constant companions. Disliking yourself can lead to immense anxiety as you compare yourself to others and find yourself lacking. This constant comparing or negative self-talk can also lead to depression. When your thoughts are always putting you down, you may fall into a deep depression. You may feel there is no use in trying to improve or connect with others as you do not believe you are worthy of good things.
More ways that anxiety and depression can affect your life may be that you begin to avoid situations that cause your anxiety and feel apathetic towards activities. Both anxiety and depression can lead to difficulties in your employment, which can lower your productivity and satisfaction. Self-esteem is a great area to improve.
Self-criticism is particularly devastating because you are both very hard on yourself and unforgiving. Every mistake feels like a huge failure and forgiveness is not something you deserve. This can lead to a lot of avoidance behavior as your fear of making mistakes blooms into paralysis. The criticism can be so intense that you may never forgive yourself no matter how many years have passed. While you may forgive others, it becomes very hard to let yourself off the hook. This can be very difficult in your life as you berate and hold grudges against yourself.
GREAT SENSITIVITY TO CRITICISM
When your self-esteem is low, you may be like a glass house in a brick world. Even the smallest pebble rolling against a window can shatter it. This immense hypersensitivity to any criticism may block you from taking constructive criticism. Without the ability to healthily take in criticism that is helpful, you can stagnate.
DIFFICULTY ACCEPTING COMPLIMENTS
Self-esteem is so pervasive that it plays opposite games at once. You may be unable to handle criticism and you may be unable to handle compliments. When someone compliments you on anything, you may not believe them or think they are trying to manipulate you. The only words or actions you believe are the negative ones. They are the only ones your self-esteem will allow you to believe.
Those with low self-esteem have great difficulty making a decision. The fear of getting something wrong may paralyze you. As you sit, going over every possible scenario, those around you are moving forward. Your inaction can leave all of the burdens, responsibilities, and successes to others. Though you may be more accomplished, intelligent, and knowledgeable than others, low self-esteem may lead to a lifetime of procrastination and missed opportunities.
LACK OF SELF-TRUST
When you do not think highly of yourself, you may not value your own opinion. This reduces your ability to look out for your own best interests or follow your dreams. You may find it easier to follow others opinions and be very uncomfortable asserting your own opinions. Reaching your dreams may be hard because you do not believe they are important enough.
While many may have perfectionistic traits that can lead to a great attention-to-detail, for those who actually are perfectionists, it can be detrimental. Perfectionism may lead to underachievement as you attempt to reach an unattainable perfection. This behavior is rooted in the need to be accepted. It can lead to lowered productivity as you obsess over every detail. This may frustrate your employer, self, family, and friends. Linked to indecision, perfectionism greatly lowers your potential.
NEGLECT OF YOUR OWN NEEDS
Your self-care needs are a great barometer of your level of self-esteem. If you consistently display poor self-care habits, such as a lack of healthy eating, sleeping, drinking, hanging out with bad influences, and not exercising, this shows a lack of self-esteem. Your present self determines who your future self will become. When you care about yourself, you take care of all the needs that will help you do more of what you love.
Addictions are the ultimate enemy of a person with low self-esteem. They are easy to fall into and grow quickly into a huge problem. Often beginning because of a desire to get rid of pain, addictions can take over your life before you even realize it.
DIFFICULTY PERSEVERING WHEN THINGS ARE GOING WRONG
Even small challenges may look insurmountable when you struggle with low self-esteem. When you already feel poorly about yourself and your abilities, challenges can easily override your greatest desires.
Possibly the greatest consequence of low self-esteem is the inability to maintain hope. With a constant negative outlook on life, you may have a hard time enjoying life and building the life you would like.
If you recognize yourself in any of these descriptions, you have taken the first step to improve your life. A higher self-esteem is within your reach. Truly.