The Impact of Low Self-Esteem and How to Overcome it 

We all have times when we feel good about ourselves and other times when we doubt ourselves. Self-esteem is a measure of how confident, worthy, and valued we feel.

While one's level of self-esteem can ebb and flow throughout life, people generally fall somewhere on the spectrum. Whether one's self-esteem is high or low, it can significantly affect their well-being.

When one's self-esteem is high, that person is more likely to take risks and pursue their dreams. They're also more likely to bounce back from setbacks.

When a person's self-esteem is low, they may doubt their ability to achieve their goals or fear judgment from others. They also may have frequent negative thoughts, convincing themselves they are unworthy, undeserving, or not good enough. They may withdraw from social contact or refrain from trying new things. Their mental and physical health may suffer.

As behaviors like avoiding things or people and self-critical thoughts and beliefs persist, it only creates more challenges and becomes more damaging over time.

Apart from missing out on opportunities and enjoyable aspects of life, low self-esteem can contribute to:

  • Self-destructive behaviors such as substance abuse
  • Self-harming behaviors
  • Social isolation further perpetuates beliefs of inadequacy
  • Bullying behaviors toward others to compensate for their insecurities
  • Acceptance of negative treatment from others to "earn" their love
  • Eating and food issues
  • Codependency
  • Depression
  • Social anxiety

These things can further negatively impact self-esteem, making it difficult to break the cycle. But where does low self-esteem come from in the first place?

There's no single answer to that question, as the root cause can vary from person to person. That said, some general themes may contribute, such as:

  • Childhood experiences, including abuse or neglect
  • Beliefs about oneself learned from others (such as parents, teachers, or peers)
  • Experiences with rejection and failure later in life
  • Traumatic events or other negative life circumstances

So, how can we maintain a healthy level of self-esteem?

Improving self-esteem is rarely easy for anyone, and someone who falls on the lower end of the spectrum may need extra help taking steps toward a healthier, more satisfying life.

Therapy is a tremendous resource for anyone needing help understanding their emotions and building their self-confidence through reframing and restructuring their negative thoughts and self-beliefs.

Diane K. Schmidt Counseling Services | 8575 W. 110th Street, Suite 304 Overland Park, KS 66210 | Phone: 913.730.6778 | Email: diane@dkschmidtcounseling.com