12 Signs Of Low Self-Esteem & How It Affects Your Quality Of Life

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Powerful Ways Low Self-Esteem Affects Your Life And Makes Happiness Challenging
Self

It goes much deeper than just feeling bad about yourself.

Sooner or later, we manifest what we think. And nothing is more important than what we think about ourselves.

The disadvantages of low self-esteem are more pervasive than the pretense of humility or the fear of taking on an unfamiliar challenge. In fact, it can affect our core happiness.

What does self-esteem mean?

RELATED: These 6 Behaviors Are Super Common For People With Low Self-Esteem

According to the dictionary, self-esteem is: 1. a realistic respect for or favorable impression of oneself; self-respect. 2. an inordinately or exaggeratedly favorable impression of oneself.

So, while those with high self-esteem intrinsically operate independently of what others think of them, those with low self-esteem don't hold themselves to a high regard, and the opinions of others can affect their sense of self.

How can you tell if you have low self-esteem?

If you care about avoiding the disadvantages of low self-esteem, brave the self-assessment to determine how you feel about yourself. Ask yourself these few simple yes/no questions:

  • Do I respect myself?
  • Do I take pride in myself?
  • Do I believe in myself?
  • Do I take care of myself?

Because self-esteem is a reflection of how you feel about yourself, it also affects your perception of how others feel about you. 

If you have low self-esteem, you may actively dislike yourself, assuming, "If only I were good enough, people might like me."

This distorted perception will cause you to believe that everyone is being critical of you. In turn, you will make choices that decrease your chances of "making mistakes," all in an effort to be accepted.

RELATED: 15 Make-Or-Break Ways Your Self-Esteem Affects Your Relationship

Sure, it’s easy to tell someone that thinking this way is backwards. No one can have a steadfast self-esteem if the winds of public opinion can toss her around, or even knock her down.

But how do you get to that coveted place of self-love when you're starting at the bottom?

As with any other problem to be solved, acknowledging the problem and its symptoms is essential. The disadvantages of low self-esteem are many, and they can become insidiously damaging to your life and future.

Here are 12 symptoms and signs of low self-esteem.

Do any of the following sound familiar in either yourself or others?

1. Feeling anxious or depressed

When you don’t like or approve of the one person you live with every day — you — anxiety and depression are natural consequences.

2. Heavy self-criticism

A habitual state of dissatisfaction with yourself leads to exaggerating the magnitude of mistakes or behaviors. You also become unable to forgive yourself.

3. Hypersensitivity to criticism

If you feel attacked all the time, you will close yourself off to constructive criticism. And that inevitably translates to stunted growth and progress. 

4. Inability to accept compliments

Just because you can’t accept criticism doesn't mean you can accept compliments. When you don’t like you, everyone is either lying or out to get you, right? 

RELATED: 8 Steps To Feel Better About Yourself When Low Self-Esteem Hits Hard

5. Chronic indecision

A fear of making mistakes leads to inaction. And inaction on your part leaves both responsibility and success to others. 

6. Absence of self-trust

If you don’t like yourself, chances are your opinions aren’t going to matter to you. And if you don’t trust yourself, you won’t take action on your own behalf or in the direction of your dreams. 

7. Perfectionism

This goes hand-in-hand with chronic indecision, as both are rooted in a fear of making mistakes, and therefore being unaccepted. 

Perfectionism leads to constant frustration, and often underachievement when perceived perfection isn’t attained. And how often is anything done to perfection, by anyone? 

8. Self-neglect

It's human nature to take care of what we love, and to overlook that which we don’t.

Your patterns of self-care — nutrition, sleep, exercise, social interactions — are all a reflection of your self-esteem. 

9. Eating disorders

If you look in the mirror and don’t like what you see — inside or out — where do you start to change that perception?

Sadly, food is often a pawn in the battle to achieve self-love. It's "there," it has no opinion, and it can be controlled and manipulated. And feeling "in control," even briefly, can feed a need for empowerment for a person with low self-esteem.  

RELATED: 15 Things You Can Do To Improve Your Self-Esteem (That Can Be Done *Anywhere*)

10. Addictions

When the pain of living with oneself is too painful to bear, addictions are born to drown the pain. What pretends to be a "friend" in the beginning quickly becomes a fierce enemy.

The addict already has no self-confidence or willpower to stand up to it, so the danger only deepens. 

11. The inability to persevere and overcome hurdles 

If you have low self-esteem, challenges aren’t just challenges — they are a source of intimidation, an opportunity to fail.  

12. Loss of hope

Of all the disadvantages of low self-esteem, none could be more telling or devastating than the loss of hope. Low self-esteem feeds a general negativity about life and often an inability to enjoy it or expect anything from it.

You probably noticed the interconnectedness of the listed disadvantages of low self-esteem.

The hopeful message in that is the parallel interconnectedness of the steps you take to elevate your self-esteem.

A healthy self-esteem is a byproduct of living in a healthy way. And that means it's possible and a choice. If all you do today is choose to believe that you are worth the effort, you will have taken a giant step. 

RELATED: 7 Sad Reasons Why You Feel Invisible (And How To Gain Your Confidence Back)

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Lisa Lieberman-Wang is a relationship expert and creator of the neuroscience Neuro Associative Programming (NAP). If you need help finding your truth and living an authentic life, connect with her through her website or send her an e-mail.