You have a certain opinion of the people around you. You find someone nice, helpful, friendly, smart, but you also can dislike someone at all, or find someone clumsy or dishonest. In addition to an opinion of other people, you also have an opinion of yourself as a person, this is also called your self-esteem.
What is a low self-esteem?
Everyone sometimes feels insecure: do I look good, did I pass that difficult exam, was my presentation interesting enough, etc. This is quite normal and nothing to worry about. But if the insecurity starts to rule your life and behavior, and the negative thoughts affect your self-esteem and confidence, you may have low self-esteem.
When you have low self-esteem, you tend to see yourself, the world, and your future more negatively and critically than it really is. When faced with challenges, you doubt whether you will succeed, and you may avoid them. People with low self-esteem find it difficult to identify a good quality and emphasize their negative qualities, such as “I am uninteresting”, “I can’t do anything” or “I am a failure”. This can make you feel anxious, sad or depressed.
The low self-esteem can relate to your inner self (stupid, boring, uninteresting), your appearance (too fat, too thin, not beautiful enough), your qualities (nothing works, never do it right) or yourself as a whole (worthless, loser).
What is a healthy self-esteem?
People with a low self-esteem think they cannot do anything, do not believe in themselves and keep putting themselves down. People with a (too) positive self-esteem always find themselves very attractive and the smartest and best of everyone. A healthy self-esteem is a realistic opinion of who you are and is located between these two extremes. With a healthy self-esteem you have sufficient self-confidence and you accept yourself as you are (with your positive and your less positive qualities).
When you have sufficient self-esteem, it is easier to form good relationships, you tend to think positively about yourself and optimistic about life in general. When faced with challenges, you are confident that you can handle the task. People with healthy self-esteem know that they are valuable and can at least mention some of their positive qualities, such as “I am a loyal friend,” “I am honest,” or “I am a good mother.”
Causes low self-esteem
Low self-esteem can have been developed early in childhood. Within the family there may have been too little appreciation from the parents or there may have been a lot of criticism, disapproval or punishment. But negative experiences at primary or secondary school can also negatively influence your self-esteem, such as being bullied, hurt or ignored. The image in the (social) media can also play a role. Everyone seems to be beautiful, slim, successful and perfectly happy. This can give you the impression that you are less beautiful, nice or successful than others. However, there is not always a clear cause of low self-esteem.
Symptoms low self-esteem
You can recognize low self-esteem by the following signs:
- You always criticize yourself.
- You have little confidence in yourself and that things will work out for you.
- You are not proud of yourself, you keep putting yourself down. If something did go well, you tend to reduce this success (it is not because of your actions, but because of others).
- You are very sensitive to criticism, you also regard non-critical comments as negative criticism. While you are hoping for appreciation.
- You constantly compare yourself to others. Social media is full of success stories, there is no realistic picture, but an ideal picture. It seems like others are living happy, perfect and successful lives without worries or problems. This makes you feel that others are or have it better than you.
Consequences of low self-esteem
Low self-esteem often affects your behavior. Some are very modest and withdraw, do not dare to stand up for themselves and do not dare to undertake new things. While others overcompensate for low self-esteem and insecurity by pretending to be more confident than they really are.
Low self-esteem can influence the choices you make, such as for study or profession. If you (wrongly) think that the chance of failure is high because you are less smart than others, you can choose a study or profession below your level.
Due to the constant comparison with others, it can happen that you set the bar very high or even too high for yourself. This makes it almost impossible to achieve your own goals, which can lead to performance anxiety. You will avoid challenges or new situations for fear of failure. And if this is unavoidable, your performance will be negatively affected by uncertainty and tension.
Low self-esteem hinders your daily life, but can also be harmful to your health and can lead to other psychological problems such as gloom, anxiety, eating problems, worrying and physical problems (stomach ache, headache, muscle pain, etc.).
Treatment insecurity and low-selfesteem
During the treatment we will discuss how your low self-esteem affects your daily life and what you would like to change. The goal is to break the vicious circle and ensure that you have less negative thoughts about yourself. In addition, we analyse your positive qualities, how you can obtain a better insight of which things are going well, so that your sense of self-confidence and self-esteem can grow.
Contact Psychologen Amsterdam
Do you recognize your symptoms and do you need help or do you just have a question about the treatment of your insecurity and low self-esteem? Then call for an appointment or send message to practice Psychologen Amsterdam.