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You look into the mirror and your reflection is frowning back at you. No matter what pants you shimmy into, or what your hair decides to do today, or what color eyeshadow you paint on, you just don’t feel adequate. Actually, you feel like you’re way less than adequate. You don’t feel pretty enough, or capable enough, or worthy enough. You look into the mirror and don’t like the reflection that’s frowning back at you.

Signs of Low Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is how you view yourself and your worth. It has a serious impact on your life, such as your decision-making process, your sociality, and your overall wellbeing. If you value yourself then you are likely to lead a more meaningful, happy life. But quite contrarily, if you don’t find yourself worthy or capable, then you very likely won’t reach your greatest potential or live a fulfilling life.

  • You refuse to leave the house without wearing makeup or doing your hair. If you don’t have the proper amount of time to get ready then forget it, you’re not going.
  • You take what’s supposed to be constructive criticism too personally. You become very defensive when your boss tells you what you could improve on. Or you lash out at a friend who tells you their opinion on your crush.
  • You avoid contributing your opinion during conversation. Instead of lending your thoughts during a conversation, you simply listen to what the other person is saying and nod in agreement—even though you don’t agree.
  • You disregard compliments others give you. Someone tells you that your hair looks nice or that they like your outfit. Instead of thanking them and feeling good about yourself, you deny their claims.
  • You constantly compare yourself to others. You compare your style and your looks to others, as well as your goals and your achievements.
  • You give up easily. You maybe put in a little effort to reach your goal, but then you quit because you didn’t reach it. You aren’t confident in your ability to be successful.
  • You feel inferior. You don’t feel like you’re as good as the person sitting next to you. You feel much lesser than.

Causes of Low Self-Esteem

In order to combat your low self-esteem, you must admit that you have it and determine what may be causing it, such as:

  • Uninvolved or negligent parents. When we’re younger, our feelings can be directly influenced by how others treat us. Unfortunately, not everyone has a loving family or support system. If you grew up with critical or uninvolved parents, then you may more easily develop a low self-esteem.
  • Cruel peers. Just as our family members can have a direct effect on our feelings of self-worth, so can our friends and our peers. If you surround yourself with people that are continually tearing themselves and others down, then you may become this way yourself.
  • Abuse. Physical, emotional, mental, and sexual abuse, can all trigger feelings of shame and lead to a low level of self-confidence in the victim. He or she feels unworthy of love and respect, which transforms into low self-esteem.
  • Negative body Image. Many men and women feel negatively about their body. They feel they’re too fat or too skinny, their hips are too large, their legs not as toned as they should be. This negativity leads to an obsession over obtaining a “perfect” figure as well as low self-esteem.
  • Negative thought patterns. Some people simply get into the habit of thinking negatively about themselves. And once they get into this habit it’s hard to break and worsens, leading the individual to have a low self-esteem.

How to Combat Low Self-Esteem

You are worthy and capable and beautiful. To finally realize this and fight back against your low self-esteem follow these steps:

  1. Pay attention to your thoughts. Challenge the negative ones and make them positive.
  2. Forgive yourself. Don’t let mistakes you have made lead yourself to believe you’re a bad person.
  3. Compliment yourself. Instead of looking in the mirror and telling yourself you’re not good enough, tell your reflection what you love about yourself.
  4. Take control of upsetting thoughts. Instead of reacting negatively, use these as signals to reverse your unhealthy habits.
  5. Focus on your goals. An individual with low self-esteem typically discounts their ability to succeed. Face this issue and work directly toward accomplishing your goals—you can do it.

Low Self-Esteem in Teens

According to DoSomething.org, 70% of teenage girls believe they aren’t “good enough” in some way or another, whether it’s that they think they’re not cool enough, or they’re too big or too small, or that their grades just aren’t good enough. These feelings of low self-esteem can have severe effects on these teens; according to the National Association for Self-Esteem, low self-esteem in teens can lead to:

  • Poor academic performance
  • Dropping out of school
  • Criminal behavior
  • Alcohol and drug use
  • Eating disorders
  • Earlier engagement in sexual activity

This negative mindset and its harmful effects can carry into adulthood and hinder one’s ability to live a healthy life, so it should be dealt with as early as possible. Remember, you can change how you feel about yourself.

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett is a staff writer at Thriveworks. She devotes herself to distributing important information about mental health and wellbeing, writing mental health news and self-improvement tips daily. Taylor received her bachelor’s degree in multimedia journalism, with minors in professional writing and leadership from Virginia Tech. She has published content on Thought Catalog, Odyssey, and The Traveling Parent.

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