Low self-esteem is probably one of the main underlying causes of many other emotional and mental issues. When people do not accept themselves, they undervalue themselves and are overly critical, their whole lives get affected.
Self-esteem is the sum of self-confidence and self-respect and it’s considered to be one of the most important factors in achieving happiness.
What are the costs of not striving for self-esteem?
• Heavy self-criticism and dissatisfaction.
• Hypersensitivity to criticism with resentment against critics and feelings of being attacked.
• Chronic indecision and an exaggerated fear of mistakes.
• Excessive will to please and unwillingness to displease any petitioner.
• Perfectionism, which can lead to frustration when perfection is not achieved.
• Guilt, dwelling on or exaggerating the magnitude of past mistakes.
• Hostility and general defensiveness and irritability without any proximate cause.
• Pessimism and a general negative outlook.
• Envy or general resentment.
• Seeing temporary setbacks as permanent, intolerable conditions.
Individuals with low self-esteem tend to be critical of themselves. Some depend on the approval and praise of others when evaluating self-worth. Others may measure their likability in terms of successes: others will accept themselves if they succeed but will not if they fail.
There is also “pseudo-self-esteem”, which is an irrational pretence at self-value, and a self-protective device to diminish anxiety and to provide a false sense of security with an inflated sense of self.
What are the effects?
Insecurity can affect us in all areas of our lives or just in some areas of our lives; for example, you might feel very confident at work but insecure in your love life or when dating or vice versa. Some people can feel very insecure about their body image, but very secure being a parent or in their role in the family or vice versa.
Relationships in particular can bring up many issues or experiences from our childhood or from past relationships which is bringing our deep subconscious beliefs and emotions into a new relationship or a new experience.
Some people have this critical inner voice since they were children and view their adult reality as this hurt inner child. This can bring up feelings of insecurity, fear of rejection, jealousy, possessiveness and feelings of being unworthy.
Obviously, the reason of insecurity doesn’t always originate in childhood; sometimes other life experiences such as trauma, loss, divorce, economic uncertainty, abuse, violence, unemployment, etc can trigger feelings of unworthiness and insecurity.
I use a combination of techniques to achieve a sense of balance and self-acceptance, such as cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), hypnotherapy and healing the inner child.