lowselfesteemsymptomsLow self-esteem leads a person to believe they’re worthless.  Self-esteem is important because it defines the confidence and respect you have in and about yourself. Good news: you can improve your self-esteem with a course. Low self-esteem can develop from several factors, with most centered around social pressure and some sort of bullying.  The following are symptoms of low self-esteem.  Please remember that not every person with low self-esteem will exhibit all of these symptoms.

Can’t make a decision – This applies to both simple or complex decisions.

Needing to be perfect – Can’t bare the idea of not being the best.

Shame – From past and/or current situations, even in ones where they had little or no control.

Criticism – Cannot handle any type of criticism, even constructive criticism, and they take everything personally.

Negative thoughts – Can have negative thoughts about anything especially happy occurrences.

Feels hopeless – Even in positive situations.  Learn how to reshape your thinking with this course on how to think about your life.

Demeans other people – Puts-down others especially those who may be viewed as weaker.

Exaggerates – Constantly lying about small and big things and blowing everything out of proportion.

Blame game – Always blaming others for what is going on and how they are feeling.

Making excuses – Nothing is their fault and they have an excuse for everything.

Worrying – Always worrying about everything and anything.

Letting themselves go – Doesn’t care about their physical appearance.

Talks negatively about self – They actively diminish their self worth.

Dependence on others – Cannot function without the other people in their life currently.

No boundaries – Doesn’t have the appropriate understanding of personal boundaries.

Pessimistic – Naturally thinks about the negatives before the positives.

Isolates self – Actively seeks to be alone and shut-off from the world.

Inability to express emotions – Cannot express the proper emotion for the situation.

Irrationally afraid of new situations – This fear prevents them from trying new things.

Suggestions on how to strengthen self-esteem

Sadly, having low self-esteem is not a sickness.  It’s not something that you can take medicine for, or wait for it to pass. Having low self-esteem is an issue that needs to be addressed directly. Everyone deserves to feel good about themselves and it’s not too late for you.  While working with a therapist is good option to help build up your self-esteem, there are also several techniques you can work on at home.

Start the day right.  Finding a way to start your day on a positive note can help you carry happy thoughts with you throughout the day.  Look for things that inspire and motivate you.  These things can be pictures, quotes, plants, books, or mementos.  Try creating an “inspiration board” and keeping it by your bed for when you wake up in the morning.  It can be as small as a piece of printer paper and contain pictures and words of motivation.  If you spend time getting ready in front of a mirror in the morning, try writing positive phrases and quotes on your mirror with an erasable marker.  This way you can change what you have written.  If you are a technology person, find a website that you find inspiring and can read each morning before you start your day.

Learn from failure.  Many believe that failure is simply the lack of success when in fact it’s so much more.  Failure is the first step to success because it teaches you a lesson.  Everyone, regardless who you are, will face failure and rejection at some point in their life.  The important thing is to learn from it.  One thing I like to do when I have failed at something is to write down a list of everything I’ve learned.  I often find that I could have handled a situation differently or I can identify areas where I need to improve my skills.  Failure is a matter of opinion.  When reframed, it can be seen as a learning opportunity.  You can equip yourself with specific techniques that help you transform past failures and self-doubt into confidence.

Build a support network.  Going through life alone can be… lonely.  I had a friend once who believed that living alone meant indepence.  Do not make her mistake of thinking that a support system means that you are dependent on others because this is not true.  Surrounding yourself with people who believe in you and are willing to help you when you need a hand will teach you what it means to be part of a something larger than yourself.  A support network will celebrate your strengths and help you overcome your weaknesses.  They will also help you frame situations that you are going through in a constructive light.  Look for support networks at work, church, special interest hobbies, and at the gym.

Write about it.  Keep a journal, whether it be old school with a pen and paper, or on your computer.  Writing about your feelings can help you process them in a constructive manner.  Do not pressure yourself to write about every detail.  Instead, focus on writing about things that you need to better understand or that you’ve had a strong emotional response to.  As a visual person, I find that doodling or drawing helps me too.  If this is the case for you, try using a journal without lines so you can sketch or write about what you are going through.

Find your passion.  Living with a low self-esteem can be draining and may take you away from things you love to do.  Rediscover your passions and find new things that inspire you.  Start by thinking of things that you stopped doing but used to love and make a list.  Add a couple more things that you have always wanted to try but have never gotten around to.  Make it your mission to try one thing from your list each month.  Rediscovering and finding new things to do will give you a purpose and something to look forward to. For example, if you decide to take on something you used to love like painting, go all in.  Work on your pieces several times a week.  Try new techniques, styles, and mediums.

Learn to meditate.  The benefits of meditation are not only spiritual but also emotional and physical.  You do not have to be a religious person to practice meditation.  If you are a beginner, practice sitting in silence for ten minutes twice a day when you first wake-up and again before you go to bed.  Learn how to clear your mind of negative thoughts by focusing on your breath.  As you learn how to embrace a peaceful mind, you may find that a few minutes of quiet time allows you to reframe your day toward the positive.  Learn more about the art of reframing your perspective with this class.

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