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Signs Of Low Self-Esteem And The Root Causes You Might Not Know

Signs Of Low Self-Esteem And The Root Causes You Might Not Know

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.

    Some common symptoms are:

    • 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

    Some 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

    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.

    What are the causes of low self-esteem?[1]

    Most of the time it stems from our childhood.

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    Negative early experience that leads to low self-esteem:

    • 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.

    What is “Bottom Line” and how does it affect 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 does “Bottom Line” determine your “Rules for Living

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    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”.

    How low self-esteem affects every aspect of your life

    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.

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    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”.

    So 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.

    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.

    To improve self-esteem, you need to focus elsewhere

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    “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 first:

    5 levels of human basic needs

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

      • 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.

      To start with, 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 Busines
      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

      Reference

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      Last Updated on April 23, 2019

      13 Ways Happy People Think and Feel Differently

      13 Ways Happy People Think and Feel Differently

      Let me begin by being 100% frank with you – everyone is capable of happiness.

      Happiness is first a choice but it also takes persistence to maintain. Happiness is our birth right and my mission is to help as many people as I can live their happiest life.

      My mission is to spread the message that everyone deserves happiness.

      To live a happy life; however, you must do the work, gain the necessary knowledge, and increase your awareness.

      You must fully embody this state and begin to think and feel happiness on every level of your being.

      Often times, excuses present themselves and our mind gives us the reasons why we can’t be happy:

      “I am too busy right now to focus on happiness”

      “I will be happy when I finish school, when I have the money, when I am in the right relationship, when I have kids, when my children are older….”

      “I would have had a happy life if this traumatic event had never happened”

      “I don’t deserve happiness”

      EVERYONE deserves happiness. The reason that you are here right now is because you have a purpose and you are on the earth to enjoy your journey.

      Think BIGGER than your excuses. Push FARTHER than your complaints.

      Don’t be pulled away from greatness. Get uncomfortable. At least these are what happy and successful people do on a daily basis.

      This article highlights the top 13 tips and tricks of how happy people think and feel.

      If you would like to begin embodying this life-changing state, then… Here are the 13 ways Happy People Think and Feel Differently:

      1. Happy People Put Happiness First

      Happy people have made the decision that their end goal is happiness.

      Every situation, event, bad day ultimately ends with happiness.

      To them, happiness is equivalent to sleep and water – it is a necessity to their life. To live an unhappy life is to have never lived at all.

      The happy person asks,

      “What would be the point of living if every day and moment were filled with negativity?”

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      “Why would I deplete my energy on negativity when I expend less to be positive?”

      They make happy-based decisions which means in EVERY MOMENT they choose happiness.

      If their circumstances can’t change then they instead change their perspective, they look for the silver lining in the negative.

      Happy people don’t let negativity steal their moments away – a positive mindset always prevails.

      If you ask a happy person how their day was, they will always answer your question with a highlight or a lesson learned.

      2. Happy People Embrace Pain

      I know what you are thinking –

      “No one is ALWAYS happy”

      or …

      “Even happy people get in bad moods”

      and …

      These statements are absolutely accurate.

      Happy people aren’t always happy and they DO get into bad moods. They get overwhelmed, they feel defeated, and their feelings get hurt.

      Happy people aren’t invincible and they feel pain just like everyone else. The only difference between happy people and people who let negativity run their lives is that…

      Happy people quickly acknowledge their pain and they make a decision to find a way to transform their pain into something greater. They also use these 13 simple ways to shake off the sadness.

      Happy people admit the negativity they feel and they do what it takes to get back into their natural state: happiness.

      When your end goal is happiness, then you will find a way to achieve it no matter how much strength you have to muster.

      3. Happy People Have a Happy Self-Image

      We all have an image in our minds that we subconsciously live up to.

      The reason that change is so hard is because our subconscious mind is programmed to live by how we define ourselves.

      How are you currently defining yourself?

      For happy people, they see themselves with a smile, positive outlook, and/or a bounce in their step. When an event or situation arises that brings in a negative emotion, they quickly change their state to resemble their natural self-image.

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      When happy people are in a bad mood, it feels unusual to them because feeling negative isn’t aligned with how they see themselves.

      When they feel upset, they acknowledge the negativity and look for a solution to bring their emotions to the level of how they perceive themselves.

      Look at how you define yourself today – your mind and body are always trying to live up to the definition it is taught to believe.

      Your body’s job is to keep you in a “normal” state because this is where it feels most comfortable.

      If your self-image is happy, then your mind and body will naturally be brought back to where it feels at home. Your actions will be a clue to how you define yourself.

      4. Happy People Have a Strong Support System

      The happiest people know that it takes a village and they lean on others for support.

      Happy people feel comfortable reaching out for help when they feel that their resistances are overpowering them. They quickly sense their negativity and they tell somebody.

      Happy people ask for assistance when they can’t figure out a problem. Seeking help takes strength and it never gets in the way of their self-worth. Happy people appreciate the wisdom that their support system provides.

      They have strong connections with the people who are close to them. They never trudge through tough times alone because jeopardizing their happiness for too long would be detrimental to their well-being.

      5. Happy People Safeguard Their Minds from Negative Triggers

      Warding off negativity is almost impossible when we live in a society that lives by what went wrong and feeds off of what could go wrong. News travels instantaneously so it would be unrealistic to shut this out of your life completely.

      However, one strategy that happy people use to safeguard their minds is regulating their environment.

      We have a lot of control on how we allow our environments to affect us. We can control our social media feed, the television shows and movies we watch, the books that we read, the people that we spend our time with, and the places that we hang out.

      If happiness is your end goal, then take a good look at what is bringing you down. What triggers your unhappiness? See if there is anything in your environment that can be changed……

      What we listen to, read, and who we hang out with influence our mind, what we think about, what we worry about, our reactions, and behaviors.

      Happy people know what triggers a feeling of negativity and it feels out of alignment for them so they do what it takes to avoid it.

      They might regulate their social media news feed to reflect the information that brings them positive energy. They might regulate the people that they spend their time with. It is important to hang out with like-minded people.

      What are you triggers? How can you avoid the negativity in your environment?

      These are ways that happy people regulate their environment and safeguard their minds.

      6. Happy People Know When to Say “No”

      Happy people know when to sit one out and say “no.” They do this to protect their happiness and well-being.

      Life gets overwhelming – a lot of people need our attention and the to do list can seem never ending.

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      Happy people give themselves permission to take the day off and they feel comfortable with saying “no” when their stress levels begin to climb. They understand that those around them aren’t benefiting from someone who is frazzled, overwhelmed, and tired.

      A happy person identifies their negative emotion and then they quickly treat it to bring themselves back to their “normal” state, so that they can be at their best for not only themselves but for those around them, too.

      A simple “no” can ultimately mean many more “yes’s” in the future because happiness has a long battery life. You can take a look at Leo Babauta’s article The Gentle Art of Saying No and learn to say no.

      7. Happy People Are Good Evaluators

      Happy people can quickly sense when something is off with themselves or others. They are very intuitive to happiness levels. When someone isn’t quite right, they are the first ones to notice.

      Being able to evaluate happiness means that you can identify when negativity is lingering around for too long.

      We all have bad days; however, the happy person evaluates often and quickly intervenes.

      In other words, happy people frequently evaluate their state and immediately change when their pessimism is overshadowing their joy.

      8. Happy People Bring Other People Up

      What goes on inside of us is mirrored into our physical world.

      What we think about literally consumes our life and is displayed in our work, relationships, and attitude.

      Happy people naturally feel good inside and about themselves so they treat others the way that they treat themselves. It never feels forced to give a compliment or to help out a stranger.

      When we are truly happy with ourselves, everyone around us has a better experience. Happy people are kind to themselves and because of this, it feels natural to them to want to make others’ happy, too.

      9. Happy People Go After Their Dreams

      Happy people are always following the joyful path. They make happy-based decisions and because of this, they always end up where they want to be.

      It’s absolutely impossible to be happy by following an undesirable path, which is quite opposite for unhappy people.

      Most people journey through life on a path they think they are “supposed” to be own. Warning signs (negativity) are often ignored because they truly believe that these feelings are a normal part of life.

      Negativity is NOT normal.

      The happiest people investigate the negativity in their life and quickly analyze the results. This process allows them to get back on the joyful path which ends in a desirable outcome.

      Follow your happiness and your dreams will come true (If that isn’t motivation then I don’t know what is!)

      In addition to happiness, here are 14 amazing things that happen when you live your passion.

      10. Happy People Never Sweat the Small Stuff

      The only expectation that the happy person has is that they remain in a joyful state.

      They rarely have expectations for the events and people in their lives because they know that this is a sure way to get let down.

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      The happiest people take life as it comes – you could say that they roll with the punches. When you don’t have expectations, thenyoue can just sit back and watch how beautifully life unfolds.

      Happy people understand that bad things are inevitable, they are a part of life – The car will break, the kids will make mistakes, people will be late, and dinner will burn.

      If it’s not anything seriously affecting their lives, then they don’t give their energy to it.

      11. Happy People Rarely Have to Prove That They Are Right

      Happy people remember that it’s more important to live up to what they believe. When you live your life aligned with your belief system, then there is no need to explain or prove yourself to others.

      Differences in opinions are inevitable, but the happiest of people know it’s wasted energy to defend their position.

      It is more effective to simply show people, through actions, how you think, feel, and what you believe.

      Energy is saved, arguments are diminished, and credibility/respect are gained when we live by what we believe.

      12. Happy People Smile (Even When They Don’t Want To)

      Smiling is one of the healthiest things we can do; and happy people use this simple trick quite often.

      It has been proven that smiling has the ability to boost your immune system, decrease stress levels, and can even make you look younger. The benefits of smiling have even been backed up by science.[1]

      Better yet, smiling is contagious. When you engage in a quick smile, you are likely to brighten someone else’s day along with your own. It is no wonder why happy people smile often!

      13. Happy People Live Life in the Present Moment.

      When we are genuinely happy, we are living for the moment.

      Happy people let go of the past, enjoy the present, and look forward to the future. They take the moments for what they are worth – they only invest their energy in what feels right to them.

      Everyone is capable of living a happy-centered life. You deserve a life that you desire – your dream life. All you have to start doing is make happy-based decisions TODAY.

      In every moment, decide on what makes you happy – decide on what gets you excited. Stop doing what you don’t love, don’t listen to the people that you dislike.

      If you are engaging in something that isn’t bringing you joy, then quit doing it. Listen to your heart, stop ignoring the warning signs (negativity) because they are there for a reason.

      I have observed, studied, and interviewed some of the happiest and most successful people along with some of the most miserable and self-loathing.

      It starts with one decision – happiness.

      The happiest, most successful people choose happiness with EACH and EVERY decision. And you can start doing this today.

      Featured photo credit: Autumn Goodman via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Harvard Business Review: The Science Behind the Smile

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