What Causes Low Self-esteem?

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14 Causes of Low Self-Esteem

What Causes Low Self-esteem?

Are you feeling like you’re not as good as other people, judge yourself harshly and don’t take compliments well?

Do you question if other people like you or can’t understand what, if anything, they would like about you? If so, then you’re likely suffering from low self-esteem.

Low self-esteem impacts on all areas of your life and its formation is based on encounters you have experienced throughout your life span to date.

Here are 14 driving forces that are know contributors to low self-esteem:

1. How you were parented as a child – critical, overly demanding, dismissive, harsh or absent parenting leaves the child feeling uncared for and unworthy of love and respect. 

Unless these feelings are corrected in childhood, they last into adulthood leaving the adult with overall poor self-esteem.

2. Parental fighting – if your parents had a turbulent relationship, you will have absorbed their negative emotions. Parental fighting leaves children feeling negative and fearful of their living environment. Children develop an understanding that the world is unsafe, unpleasant and that they have little control over their world. The result is poor self-esteem in adulthood.

3. Abuse – Past emotional, psychological, physical, sexual abuse or neglect are all known to be linked to adult poor self-esteem. Abuse interrupts normal healthy development and creates feelings of shame, guilt and fear in the child. When children come to know that they are not worthy of protection, love, kindness and respect they develop an unhealthy sense of self.

4. Negative interactions – Past bullying or other negative experiences with peers, undermines a person’s positive idea of self-control and self-worth.

5. Comparisons – If you’re a social media fanatic, you will have spent years comparing yourself to other more attractive, richer, happier and successful people. Comparing yourself to others can leave you feeling inferior and lacking, resulting in low self-esteem and a growing ‘I’m not good enough’ story.

6. Unhealthy thinking – for whatever reason, you may have developed unhealthy thinking patterns about your world or yourself. These patterns need to be analysed and changed to more healthy ways of thinking and assessing as unhealthy thinking patterns usually result in low self-esteem.

7. Poverty – Poorer circumstances and living conditions as a child can create feelings of inferiority and inadequacy which stay into adulthood.

8. Childhood illness – if your childhood has been difficult because of a significant illness or disability you would have developed the view that you are not like others and/or not as good as other people.

9. Bad luck – bad luck through no fault of your own can result in an ideology that the world is an unhappy and unfair place. When bad things happen, we come to learn that we are not worthy of a better life ergo, low self-esteem.

10. Beliefs – If you believe that your self-worth is tied to your performance, and the expected performance isn’t achieved, you have no place else to go other than reduced self-esteem.

11. Body image issues – like illness, the view you have of your body, if negative, can create low self-esteem. Body image issues can also be created by comparing your body with others.

12. Lack of control in life – if you have lived a life largely controlled by others, the lack of personal control is a likely contributor to your low self-esteem.

13. Divorce or separation – If you have been left by a partner, the resulting feelings of sadness and inadequacy can cause low self-esteem as you question what’s worthy about you and you assume you have not enough to offer another person.

14. Difficult life circumstances – unresolved challenges such as struggles with academic performance, friendships, living conditions or employment can leave you feeling that you are not good enough, have no mastery over life, and that you are not worthy enough of an easier, fulfilling life.

Your low self-esteem if left alone, won’t fix itself as you’ll continually look for evidence that your thinking is justified. Family and friends will tell you that you are worthy of better self-esteem but it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to integrate this advice into your thinking.

What you need is professional help to rectify old faulty thinking patterns and replace them with new ways of thinking. A Therapy Lounge therapist will walk beside you while you learn how to see evidence that you are worthy and deserving of a rich, full and meaningful life. Call 1300 555 118 to speak to a university trained therapist when and where it suits you.