Kick your bad self-image to the curb. For good.
Low self-esteem can very from person to person, but generally results in the same emotional experience — feelings of worthlessness and generally having a bleak outlook on your life and future. Low self-esteem zaps your happiness, sucks out your joy and leads you to make poor or unhealthy decisions that are rooted in a basic negative belief about yourself. Maybe you recognize something feels wrong but you're not quite sure what it is. Read on for three major signs you might be suffering from low self-esteem.
1. You view yourself more negatively than you do positively
Do you constantly downplay or negate any positive qualities you have with negative ones? When someone pays you a complement, do you respond with "yes but..." rather than "thank you"? If someone asks you to list five things you like about yourself you can't name even one thing. These are all signs you have a negative self-view. Your view of yourself says a lot about your where your self-esteem is.
Healthy self-esteem means you're able to recognize your strengths and skills and access them when necessary, and you use your strengths and positive energy to promote, uplift and elevate yourself and others. It also means you don't discount your qualities or skills with negativity, and you believe you're a capable, able person who can achieve personal goals and is worthy of love, affection and respect.
2. You repeatedly make poor choices around friends and dating partners
Do you find yourself constantly attracting new friends or around people who are full of constant drama? Do you find yourself picking partners or staying in toxic dating relationships where you know you're not being treated right but are too afraid to make any demands for fear you'll get dumped? Having low self-esteem can lead us to make poor or unhealthy choices about who we allow in our life or who we attract because we view ourselves in a negative manner.
When we believe we don't offer anything of value to a relationship or a partner, or to the world, we tend to accept and attract people who are less than worthy. They end up using us and treating us like dirt because we don't believe we are worth more. Negative energy also becomes a magnet for drama and more negative energy. You get back what you put out. If you put out negative, self-loathing feelings, you'll attract people who have the same world view and who don't or won't respect or value you.
3. You have unresolved trauma in the past or stay in an abusive relationship
Maybe you were abused as a child or adolescent, or you've been in an abusive relationship. Maybe you're currently in an abusive relationship and you keep making up excuses why you should stay. Unresolved trauma or ongoing abuse affects your view of yourself, and continuing to stay in such a relationship usually means you don't value yourself enough to say no. It may be complicated and painful, but if you don't address the elephant in the room, or the past, it will continue to haunt you and weigh you down.
How to combat low self-esteem and TAKE BACK your confidence:
1. Recognize the negative self-talk and challenge it with positive facts and statements
Be aware of your inner dialog and what you tell yourself about you and your capabilities that are holding you back. Once you become aware of these negative thoughts you can work on stopping them and countering them with positive thoughts. One way to counter negative thoughts is to challenge them with positive statements and facts. When you can dispute these negative thoughts with positive evidence that demonstrates the contrary, you can start sending those negative thoughts packing. It may be hard to do, but you can select your thoughts like you select your clothes.
It takes a lot of discipline and awareness, but first and foremost is to recognize when these thoughts come in, and that they only serve to keep you down. Learn to encourage yourself with positive statements.
2. Know your value
You have to value yourself in order to attract those who value you as well. Life is scary at times. There are a lot of unknowns and uncertainties that may keep us paralyzed or frozen and unable to move forward. If you feel confident in who you are, what you have to offer, and that you are worthy of love, respect and affection, then it doesn't matter what the unknown's are. You will have confidence to know that you can face whatever challenge comes your way and that you will attract other healthy, positive people along the way who will help elevate you, inspire and encourage you to keep striving for your best.
Part of knowing your value is being able to weed out the people who don't respect or value you. Weed out the drama. It seems scary to feel like "If I weed out all the people who are full of drama I won't have any friends," or "I'll be alone." Remember there's a difference between being by yourself and being alone. Think of what you're telling yourself and what being by yourself means. Is it better to have fewer friends that value you and promote you positively, or have a bunch of friends who are always involved in some sort of drama?
If you weed out those who only tow you down, then you leave yourself open for new, positive and healthy people to come in. But you have to create the space in your life by clearing out the negative and making way for the positive. It seems hard to make friends as an adult, but there are plenty of opportunities if you're willing. And that guy that treats you like crap or you know is a total loser, believe me, he's not the last man on earth. Even if you live in a small town, trust me, he's not the last man on earth. Know that you're worth more and know your value so that you can demand better standards of treatment for yourself. Stop coming up with excuses why you can't and start making positive change.
3. Take steps to heal your old trauma or wounds
If you were abused as a child or adolescent, or have been in an abusive relationship or come up with excuses to stay in an abusive relationship, you need to stop the hurting. You may feel like if you don't acknowledge it that it didn't really happen, or by not addressing it you don't have to feel it. But you are feeling it every day. It's affecting your view of yourself and likely affecting your health in negative ways. Enlist the help of a good therapist in your area to help you confront this past trauma or old wounds, and sort out what it is that you tell yourself these events mean about yourself. You don't have to keep suffering or punishing yourself, and you don't have to go through it alone.