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Self-esteem is your opinion of yourself. People with high or healthy self-esteem value their achievements and themselves. On the other hand, people with low self-esteem feel chronically unsatisfied or unhappy. In this article, we will cover what causes low self-esteem. However, before let’s characterise what low self-esteem means.
A person with low self-esteem is likely to
- Ignore or downplay their good qualities
- Have quite critical thoughts of themselves
- Blame themselves when something wrong happens. However, if something good happens, they take little or no credit.
- To be someone who struggles to accept compliments.
Low self-esteem can reduce a person’s happiness, ability to enjoy life and lead to perfectionism, relationship breakdowns and lower life satisfaction. You are probably starting to appreciate just how hurtful having low self-esteem can be. So what causes low self-esteem?
What Causes Low Self-Esteem?
Mental IllnessesOne of the definite answers to what causes low self-esteem is having a mental illness such as anxiety or depression. With both of these illnesses, people get repetitive and quite negative thoughts. They worry, have a negative outlook and think quite poorly of themselves. These illnesses, by themselves, can cause or worsen low self-esteem.
Stressful Life EventsFinancial troubles, relationship breakdowns, losing one’s job can contribute to low self-esteem. We find meaning in our relationships and work. Money can provide a sense of security. Understandably when we are stressed, we think negatively about ourselves. We can get quite critical self-thoughts. Thoughts such as “I’m not worthy, no one will love me. I’m a failure”. These stressful life events can worsen negativity and intern lead to worse self-esteem.
Having Critical Parents or TeachersSelf-esteem is about self-worth. If we were constantly criticised, made to feel small repeatedly, over time, we will internalise those views. It can be highly damaging to a child’s self-esteem if they are constantly put down. They will eventually lack self-belief and overtime not value themselves.
Abusive RelationshipsA relationship does not need to be abusive to contribute towards low self-esteem. Poor ongoing treatment from a parent, manager at work or friend can slowly over time erode self-esteem.
Past MistakesSometimes people get locked into a pattern of behaving and end up thinking there are “the kind of person” that act or behaves in that way. Once stuck in a rut they repeatedly make those poor choices. All the time, these poor choices then reinforce their negative view of themselves.
PerfectionismThere is quite a bit of overlap between perfectionism and low self-esteem. Some psychologists argue that perfectionism is driven by low self-esteem. When a person has unrealistic expectations of themselves, tries very hard to achieve them but doesn’t succeed, this can lead to low self-esteem. Why? Repeated self-perceived failures, reduce a persons self-confidence and belief in themselves.
Antidotes to What Causes Low Self-Esteem
Here at Epsychonline, we have a six-week course on low self-esteem. We hope you have found this article insightful, helped in your understanding of what causes self-esteem. Visit our courses page if you would like to see all our courses.