We all have moments when we do not feel good about ourselves. Ups and downs in our personal and professional lives can sometimes shake our confidence. But it is okay to give ourselves a little pep talk, pick ourselves up, and get back on our feet. But this works well when our self-esteem is healthy.
With low self-esteem, people tend to question their abilities owing to their negative self-image. Often, they could be too quiet due to fear of ‘being wrong’. Such fears can fuel negative thoughts, contributing to low self-esteem.
According to psychologist and therapist S Usha Rani in Bengaluru, “The way people treat you and your experiences during childhood at home and school can shape your perspective towards yourself.” Having a healthy self-esteem is not just about feeling good about yourself; it influences your ability to have good, supportive relationships.
Low self-esteem could take root in childhood. “If you did not feel like you fit in at school, had a hard time meeting your parents’ expectations, or were treated badly or ignored, it can make you believe negative things about yourself,” says Rani.
Low self-esteem can be linked to issues like anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and social anxiety. A study in 2019 by Dr Dat Tan Nguyen from Can Tho University in Vietnam found that self-esteem is connected to feeling anxious and depressed. The study also found that low self-esteem stresses students out about their studies, which in turn affects how they feel about their life, even makes them think about hurting themselves.
Occasionally, we all have moments of self-criticism. However, if we frequently find ourselves thinking negatively about our worth or consistently passing harsh judgments on ourselves, it might be an indication of low self-esteem. The root cause of low self-esteem might not always be clear, but we can improve it and build self-confidence through reflection, compassion towards self, and practising positive self-talk.