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Here is part 1 of the series on low self-esteem.
In order to get a good grasp of this article let’s look at the meaning of self-esteem.
Self-esteem can be defined as a person’s total sense of perception on self-worth or personal value. It’s how much you appreciate and like yourself be it low, moderate or high. Several thoughts or beliefs about yourself, such as the appraisal of your own appearance, skills, emotions, financial status, background, nationality, experiences and behaviors are part of what forms self-esteem. Self-esteem seems to be stable and consistent in one’s life because it’s often seen as a personality trait.
Simply put, self-esteem can sometimes be referred to as self-worth or self-respect which can be an important part of success. Too little self-esteem can leave people feeling defeated, unqualified, resentful, bitter, sorrowful or depressed. It can also be the reason why some people make bad choices, fall into destructive relationships, refuse to attempt great ideas or fail to maximize their potential.
Self-esteem can also be seen as how someone, group of individuals or nation feels about itself and how it judges its own worth most especially when been compared to others. This evaluation has a profound impact on the choices you make since it determines, to a great extent, what you consider yourself capable and worthy of doing. Without a proper sense of self-valuing, we won’t pursue meaningful activities. Instead, we get stuck in a cycle of de-valuing ourselves and not doing anything meaningful to boost our sense of self-worth. Self-esteem is really different from the feeling of been important or indispensable.
That been said, let’s look at low self-esteem and draw a closing line.
Sometimes it’s quite not difficult for an individual with low self-esteem to mistake it for humility or a normal way of life. But low self-esteem has long-term harmful effects, ranging from minor occurrences — not speaking up in class or work meetings, for example — to longer-term threats, like relationship problems or self-damaging behavior.
Individuals with low self-esteem often underrate external applauds as criticism, feel poorly about themselves, evaluate themselves to be inferior to others and might even affect the way they view others ability or competence. A low self-esteem would want to see more in another person to believe they’re up to the task. Individuals with low self-esteem might live their lives based on other people’s opinions or might not even fulfill their personal tasks or purpose to its fullest. They may not make a move on doing something new or trying to do something better based on poor treatment from their backgrounds (family or society or classroom) , partner’s accusations, past failures, economic status etc.
For example a statement like “the last time you handled this job you didn’t perform well” might be interpreted wrongly by an individual with low self-esteem to mean they are not worthy of trying anything of such in life because of the fear of failure, fear of criticism or the statement been made.
It’s basically a negative perspective strongly held to be true by an individual. It’s characterized by lack of boldness and feeling negative about oneself. There is this inner feeling of not been qualified, awkward, unlovable or wanting to know more to become valuable and acceptable based on the standards and opinions of others around them.
Individuals with low self-esteem tend to be extremely sensitive to their environment, actions from others, other people’s opinions, ideas and commendation. They have a sense of self that can be easily deterred or distorted by external actions, opinions or evaluations.
They are quite extra careful and alert to signs of rejection, negative actions, inadequacy. They are always quick to conclude that something negative or bad criticism might come out of something even when they’ve not given it a try. There is this perception, of not wanting to be ridiculed by people in public or private gatherings.
Generally, there are different occurrences in life that tends to challenge our self-esteem. Most likely, individuals with self-esteem are vulnerable to other people, who may openly criticize them, ridicule them, or point out their flaws. But the greater part of low self-esteem comes from within.
As custodians of our personal thoughts, behavior, actions, feelings, our judgment and evaluation tends to play a major effect on self-esteem which maybe a severe criticism, berating ourselves mercilessly when we find ourselves making an error in judgment, forgetting what we should remember, expressing ourselves awkwardly, breaking our most sacred promises to ourselves, losing our self-control, acting childishly — in short, behaving in ways that we regret and may deplore.
Having a low self-esteem can result to harmful or dangerous consequences. For example, there is this readiness for someone with low self-esteem to want to quickly create a defensive approach when someone whom they perceive to be a critic reacts to their actions or performance. The rate at which we handle this inner critic or the feelings of not been qualified largely affects the way we communicate with others and our environment at large. This does not just happen to individuals alone but can also happen to a group or an entire nation. For example there is a perceived notion about Group A to be the greatest in several tasks. Group B may have a low self-esteem as a result of inner feeling of not able to withstand group A, based on external opinions, their past experiences etc. It becomes difficult for Group B to see the possibilities of doing great in such tasks as a result of low self-esteem.
It’s best to strike a balance on the issue of self-esteem because it can be harmful at the extreme high or low ends of the channel. A general idea that’s often realistic is to have a balanced positive perception about self-worth.
“In summary, an individual, group of individuals or nation with low self-esteem is living a life of bondage and misery”
In part 2 we will be looking at causes of low self-esteem.
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