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Symptoms Of Low Self-Esteem And The Root Causes of It

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Symptoms Of Low Self-Esteem And The Root Causes of It

People who have low self esteem are always hard on themselves. Sometimes they even cannot truly accept compliments because they would second guess people’s intentions.

    In this article, we’ll look into the symptoms of a low esteem person and what you can do if you find yourself having self-esteem issues.

    Symptoms of a Low Self-Esteem Person

    Some symptoms of having low-self esteem are obvious, while others are hidden. Here’re the common and lesser-known symptoms of a low self-esteem person.

    Common Symptoms

    • Unable to trust your own opinion
    • Always overthinking
    • Afraid to take challenges, being worried you wouldn’t overcome them
    • Hard on yourself but lenient with others
    • Frequent anxiety and emotional turmoil

    Lesser-Known Symptoms

    Being a workaholic

    At work expectations are set clearly. Even if there’s pressure in the workplace, compared to relationships or the social world where so much is unknown and uncontrollable, work is more straightforward.

    It’s easier to meet the expectations and perform well at work. Therefore, some people with low self-esteem would shift their focus to work and put all their energies there.

    Overachieving or underachieving

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    Many of us have already heard that people with low self-esteem tend to be under-achievers as they’re too afraid to take new challenges and not confident enough to fully utilize their talents.

    However, there’s another extreme. Some of them are too anxious of failure and being rejected, so they will try their very best to be outstanding to prove their worth.

    Causes of Low Self-Esteem

    Most of the time it stems from our childhood. Here’re some negative early experiences that lead to low self-esteem:[1]

    • Frequent punishment
    • Frequent neglect
    • Chronic abuse
    • Harsh parental standards
    • Being bullied/boycotted
    • Being on the receiving end of someone else’s stress or despair
    • Lack of praise, warmth and affection
    • Staying in a family or group where other members are prejudiced towards

    Childhood is when we form our “Bottom Line” and “Rules for Living” which affects the way we think, that’s why all the negative early experiences can have a very long-lasting effect on our adulthood.

    How “Bottom Line” Affects Your Self-Esteem

    “Bottom Line” is how you usually feel about something, based on your early experience. For example, “how you felt when you first left home becomes the emotional bottom line for when you leave other things in your life.”, according to therapist Robert Taibbi [2].

    When we talk about self-esteem, the bottom line is about how people around you treat you, as we grow up taking the voices of people who are significant to us. Did they say you’re adorable, or you’re always not good enough? Did they neglect you that made you feel worthless?

    That largely affects the way you view yourself and hence affect your self-esteem.

    How “Bottom Line” Determines Your “Rules for Living

    Based on the “Bottom Line”, we would form our “Rules for Living”, which are the strategies for dealing with life. For example, if you have the belief that you are always inferior to others, your Rules for Living would be “better not to speak up and to keep a low profile”.

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    How Low Self-Esteem Affects Every Aspect of Your Life

    So what are the consequences of having low self-esteem?

    It Makes You Confuse Love with Low Self-Esteem

    Having a low self-esteem, you expect people to treat you badly.

    When people are being just quite nice to you, you feel overjoyed and have unrealistically good feelings for them. This can be easily mistaken as love and also scare people away who might be just interested in being friends with you (at first).

    It Makes You Have a Lower Hand in the Relationship

    As you think your partner is too good for you, you bear things that you shouldn’t stand for.

    Sometimes you even confuse love with self-esteem. Are you giving in really because you love him/her so much or you just dare not to speak up and bargain?

    It Makes Your Employers Feel That You’re Not Talented

    People with low esteem sometimes are actually gifted. But they don’t know how to show it and “sell” themselves.

    During meeting, they keep quiet, during presentation they speak weakly, during daily conversation they say “sorry” and “maybe” too often…As a result, employers and other colleagues perceive people with low esteem as people without much talents.

    It Can Lead to Depression

    Over time, low self-esteem can lead to depression according to a study done by University of Basel researchers.[3] Psychologist Dr. Lars Madsen added that low self-esteem is “a key factor in both the development and maintenance of depression”.

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    How to Improve Self-Esteem

    As we can see, low self-esteem is a deeply rooted issue and leads to lots of consequences. To solve it, it’s not an easy task, but it’s possible. The key is, to use the right ways.

    1. Ignore All Those “Positivity” Advice

    Very often, we hear people say “Stay positive”, “Hey cheer up!”. People with depression know all these do not help. It just makes them feel worse.

    Same for low self-esteem, simply telling people “To me you’re wonderful!”, “You’re actually awesome”, “Why don’t you appreciate yourself more?”, or even worse “Hey you should be more confident” does not improve their self-esteem. Instead, they would feel inadequate or even guilty of their behavior.

    2. Focus Elsewhere

    “Healthy self esteem needs to emerge subtly.”[4]

    Same as happiness, you don’t immediately feel happier when you tell yourself to be happier. You need some concrete ways to do so like pursuing a goal that truly matters to you, like spending quality time with your loved ones.

    When you want to improve your self-esteem, don’t try too hard on thinking of ways to do so. There’s no direct way to improve it. It should be a by-product of our overall life’s satisfaction.

    According to psychologist Abraham Maslow,[5] to live a fulfilling life, you should take care the 5 levels of human basic needs. To help you understand more about this psychological model we made a video to explain it:

    Or you can refer to the graph below:

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    5 Levels of Human Basic Needs

      To focus elsewhere, we’ve summarized the above items and put them into this list for you:

      • Deep connection with loved ones
      • A healthy body
      • Sense of control
      • A meaningful life purpose
      • Recognition and respect from others
      • Sense of security
      • Creativity

      As you gradually equip yourself with the skills to fulfil the above needs, you’ll forget about self-esteem and suddenly you’ll find that you just feel proud of yourself when you know so much that others don’t.

      Bonus Tools to Help Increase Your Self-Esteem

      To help you gradually build your self-esteem, here’s a list of the best self-help books that can help you fulfil the goals:

      1. How to Win Friends & Influence People
      2. Outliers: The Story of Success By Malcolm Gladwell
      3. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
      4. Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time
      5. The Paleo Manifesto: Ancient Wisdom for Lifelong Health
      6. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
      7. The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts
      8. Thinking, Fast and Slow
      9. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
      10. Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

      Articles related to self-esteem:

      The Bottom Line

      If you find yourself having low self-esteem, don’t be hopeless. Have faith in yourself that you can regain self-esteem and become a confident and successful person.

      How?

      Understand the root causes of your low self-esteem and overcome these causes with the advice in this article.

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      Featured photo credit: Joe Gardner via unsplash.com

      Reference

      More by this author

      Chloe Chong

      Chloe is a social media expert and shares lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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      Last Updated on December 6, 2021

      Feeling Lost? 40 Quotes to Help You Find Meaning in Life

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      Feeling Lost? 40 Quotes to Help You Find Meaning in Life

      Sometimes, we carry with us ancient wisdom that has been whispered through generations where we find strength for what we need. Other times, we sense our happiness and sanity have been swept away, and we float rudderless in our space. We wonder if we’re heading in the right direction and feel doom rather than the transformation. In these moments, we may need some feeling lost quotes to help us find inspiration again.

      During the times when we feel lost, it’s too easy to forget the comfort of good times and wade through the fluff that separates us from the pack.

      I often work in leadership and have to test my limits and inspire those I’m leading. One of the quotes I keep in mind by T.S. Elliot is:

      “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

      Knowing how you will perform in a crisis, personally or professionally, can help you get through tough times. The people who tend to work best in a crisis or stay calm in stressful times are those who are honest and forthright.

      We often try to find sense in our lives with logic, reducing perceived risks by increasing control. The problem with control is you can hold on too tight, narrowing your options and missing the big picture.

      Trying to squeeze action out of undefined goals only increases the pressure. Being happy comes from a sense of self and freedom, not a narrow list you’ve locked yourself into.

      Sometimes, we need to observe our life in new ways and examine it with wisdom we doubt we have. Those big successes are done with small incremental actions done every day. Who will you choose to be in times of doubt?

      Whether you bookmark this page for future inspiration or show off powerful, inspiring quotes on your T-shirt, coffee mug, key chain, and screen saver, these 40 feelings lost quotes will help remind you of your true essence.

      We can reconnect with our priorities and take inspiration from both the ancients and modern visionaries with some of my favorite words below that inspire simplicity and truth.

      Feeling Lost Quotes

      1. “If you are working on something you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you” –Steve Jobs

      2. “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.” –Gordon Eadie

      3. “One of the truest tests of integrity is a blunt refusal to be compromised.” –Chinua Achebe

      4. “The fears we don’t face become our limits.” –Amy Elizabeth

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      5. “Be who you needed when you were younger.” –Anonymous

      6. “We generate fears when we sit. We overcome them by action.” –Dr. Henry Link

      7. “The intangible represents the real power of the universe. It is the seed of the tangible.” –Bruce Lee

      8. “Storms make trees take deeper roots.” –Dolly Parton

      9. “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” –Henry Ford

      10. “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” –Vincent Van Gogh

      11. “Stop acting so small, you are the universe in ecstatic motion.” –Rumi

      12. “A tree that is unbending is usually broken.” –Loa Tzu

      13. “What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.” –Plutarch

      14. “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” –Plato

      15. “Your teacher can open the door, but you must enter by yourself.” –Chinese proverb

      16. “To get lost is to learn the way.” –African Proverb

      17. “Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you.” –Zig Ziglar

      18. “Do you know who you are? Don’t ask. Act. Action will delineate and define you.” –Thomas Jefferson

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      19. “Give thanks for what you are today and go on fighting for what part of you will be gone tomorrow.” –William Shakespeare

      20. “Sorrow looks back. Worry looks around. Faith looks up.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

      21. “One day you will ask me which is more important, my life or yours? I will say mine and you will walk away not knowing that you are my life.” –Kahlil Gibran

      22. “You were born to be real, not to be perfect.” –Anonymous

      23. “After climbing a great hill, one only finds there are many more hills to climb.” –Nelson Mandela

      24. “We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated.” –Maya Angelou

      25. “I wash my hands of those who imagine chattering to be knowledge, silence to be ignorance and affection to be art.” –Kahlil Gibran

      26. “Fear is only as deep as the mind allows.” –Japenese Proverb

      27. “We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” — Joseph Campbell

      28. “Go within every day and find the inner strength so that the world will not blow your candle out.” — Katherine Dunham

      29. “One swallow does not make a summer, neither does one fine day. Similarly, one day or brief time of happiness does not make a person entirely happy.” — Aristotle

      30. “There are two ways to live your life. One is as if nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is a miracle.” — Albert Einstein

      31. “You got to go down a lot of wrong roads to find the right one.” — Bob Parson

      32. “Anger, resentment, and jealousy doesn’t change the heart of others. It only changes yours.” — Shannon L. Alder

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      33. “To be lost is as legitimate a part of your process as being found.” — Alex Ebert

      34. “Scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue. Realize the strength, move on.” — Henry Rollins

      35. “The greatest mistake you can make in life is to continually be afraid you will make one.” — Elbert Hubbard

      36. “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” — Vivian Greene

      37. “Nothing is more beautiful than the smile that has struggled through the tears.” — Demi Lovato

      38. “Leave your front door and your back door open. Allow your thoughts to come and go. Just don’t serve them tea.” — Shunryu Suzuki

      39. “Tough times never last, but tough people do.” — Robert H. Schuller

      40. “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” — C.S. Lewis

      Sometimes It’s Ok to Feel Lost

      After looking at these feeling lost quotes, it is easy for someone to be confused. But these inspirational quotes will guide you to hear a voice every time when the risk is high, and you have nowhere to run. It is always easy to choose the shortcut and ignore the voice of the subconscious to do the right thing!

      No matter how dire the circumstances might be, you need to make efforts and find ways to uplift your morale. Not making an effort is more painful than the risk of immersing your thoughts in negativity.

      When you are feeling lost, it is natural to be confused about the next step. However, you have to determine when the risk of staying in a sad state for a longer period is causing more harm than good.

      And don’t you worry, it’s okay sometimes to feel lost and not know where you are heading in your life. We go through various phases in life, and none of them stay permanent. Remember that “Life is a work-in-progress” and this too shall pass. Keeping hope is very important if you want to sail through the tides of life.

      Don’t Be too Hard on Yourself

      Everyone is fighting their fight in their ways, but none can say – “I know it all.” Life is a constant struggle, and everyone has to push through personally to overcome obstacles.

      Whether it is your professional life that’s making you feel lost or your personal life brought about this state of mind, remember that you alone can find the solution. Happiness is a state of mind, and you alone can control the emotions that can bring a change in your attitude when you are feeling lost.

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      No one can tell you what your purpose is in the world, and only you have to decide that on your own. The universe has given us life and one that teaches us various things through unique experiences. Some might be good, and some might be bad.

      So, don’t beat yourself up or be hard on yourself even if you have not yet figured it out. It’s okay! You don’t owe anyone an explanation about why it is taking so long or why haven’t you been able to figure it out yet. Go at your own pace, and you shall reach where you intend to. Nothing is permanent, and you will find your way out. It’s just a matter of time.

      Rather than complaining and belittling yourself, you can try brainstorming ideas to help you move on. Procrastinating and beating yourself up will only drown the motivation and bring nothing of value but just self-pity.

      Don’t forget if you set your heart to something, you can achieve it. Feeling lost is not a permanent state, and to uplift your emotions, you need to have faith.

      Final Thoughts

      Many of these feeling lost quotes have a common core. That is, to take a step back and view yourself in a new way.

      Take action and make inspiration a routine. To act creates learning, and that builds confidence, provides direction, and eliminates doubt.

      Imagine what you want it to be so that your vibration matches your desire. We can’t snap our fingers to instantly change feeling lost, but we can increase our situational awareness with our emotions and places where our lives have or may take an abrupt turn.

      We take inspiration from our daily lives in as many individually unique forms as we are different. Inspiration can strike instantly and sporadically or feel like a trickle that slowly grows into a majestic waterfall crashing through with creative energy. That trickle is what will keep you going in dark times.

      When you’re in a place where you feel lost and don’t recognize yourself, allow some inner compassion for the person you are right in that moment[1].

      You have the power to create your world, one step at a time, and these feeling lost quotes can help. You choose how you think. Tune in to how you feel and why.

      Remember you have the power to be, have, and do anything you desire. Tough times never last, but tough people do.

      See what I did there? Another quote to inspire original thought as it applies to you. It’s been said that if you want to test a man’s character, give him power and you will see his true colors. So keep your inspiration on tap for when you need a reminder of your purpose.

      More to Inspire You When You’re Feeling Lost

      Featured photo credit: Daniel Jensen via unsplash.com

      Reference

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