August 12, 2015

5 Reasons for Low Self Esteem & 5 Ways to Build It

Written by Rachel Eddins

self esteem

Jessa just started her first professional job at a small marketing firm in Houston.

All of her new coworkers seem confident, creative, and incredibly smart. Jessa has become so afraid of making mistakes that she’s pushing work assignments aside.

“What’s wrong with me?” she thinks. Her boss is asking for results. Jessa thinks if she were smarter, more enthusiastic, or just different, she’d be more successful at work.


Challenge Your Beliefs

It can be all too easy to mistake negative beliefs you have about yourself as fact. Low self-esteem can create situations that reinforce your negative self-beliefs.

For example, if you berate yourself for your social performance, thinking, “I never have anything interesting to say,” you can become understandably hesitant to speak up and participate in group conversations.

In truth, the bad thoughts you have about yourself aren’t reality. You can break free from the cycle of low self-esteem that prevents you from living the life you want.


What are 5 big reasons for low self-esteem? How can you build your self-esteem?


1. Negative self-talk

Maybe you believe you’ll be “good enough” when you surpass certain milestones, or if you appear a certain way. When “if” and “when” are the foundation of how you think about yourself, self-criticisms can look like false stepping stones toward a better you.

In reality, keeping a ledger of the qualities you don’t have, and the times you’ve fallen short, can destroy your self-esteem. You can build your self-esteem by taking note of the positives.

Practice shifting thoughts away from what you don’t have, or what you haven’t done; place value on your successes instead of brushing past them.

“Good enough” isn’t waiting for you tomorrow or next week; you’re good enough already. Keep an eye out for even a glimmer of what you are doing right or have done well. This can include emotions too.

Maybe you didn’t procrastinate the whole day. Perhaps there were moments when you didn’t feel anxious.

Allow yourself to take in the good experiences you do have. These glimmers can be the starting points to transformation.


2. Unfair comparisons

When comparing yourself to someone who never studied, but always aced tests in school, you might‘ve thought, “I must not be smart.”

It’s all too easy to feel down about yourself, when you’re concentrating on how you measure up next to other people.

You can raise your self-esteem by taking yourself off the balancing scale and seeing yourself for who you are—unique. Just like all the people around you, you have your own unique set of skills and challenges.

We tend to minimize our strengths and focus on what we don’t have. Take a moment instead to think about what comes natural to you.

What seems easy for you that may not be so easy for others? A strengths test can help you get clues on your unique skills.


3. Environment

Growing up in a very achievement-oriented environment can damage your sense of self-worth. Environment also plays a role in low self-esteem, if you feel like you don’t fit in with the people around you.

There are numerous factors that can make you feel different from those around you. Perhaps you are expressionate and artistic, but your family is reserved and mathematical.

It doesn’t mean you’re not loved, but being different can make you feel as if you don’t belong. You can raise your self-esteem by cultivating positive relationships.

If you’re feeling out of place, finding like-minded people who understand and appreciate you can be a big emotional boost. It can be hard to find those kinds of relationships, but chances are very good that there are people out there who really can get you.

Groups are excellent ways to connect with like-minded people. Find out more about our upcoming groups, join a meetup group, or get involved in a hobby.


4. Personal views

If you grew up believing that money was paramount, you might feel shame or embarrassment for not having a lucrative career as an adult—even if your life is personally fulfilling.

It’s possible that the rulers you’re using to measure success just don’t work for you.

You might find that there’s a big difference between what you think the world sees as important, and what you see as important. Take our values questionnaire and clarify what really matters to you.


5. Experience

Low self-esteem can appear when you feel like you haven’t met the same standards as your peers. If you had trouble learning in school, or if you don’t feel as worldly and knowledgeable as the people around you, you may start to get down on yourself.

Birthdays can become a time of regretful reflection vs. joy and celebration. You can build your self-esteem by trying to remember that every person’s journey through life takes a different route.

Think about the memories you have that are unique to you. Think about the particular challenges you’ve faced. Affirm the value of your own journey regardless of the roads you’ve travelled.


Get Help Building Your Self-Esteem

Contact one of our Counselors in Houston if you are struggling with Low Self-Esteem or, a harsh inner critic. Our Therapists are always ready to help you build confidence and feel better about your unique self. Book an appointment with one of our counselor who is available as well as online therapy to meet with you via phone, Skype or in person to discuss any Self-Esteem related question you might have.

To get started now give us a call to schedule an appointment at 832-559-2622 or schedule an appointment online.

Read more about setting healthy boundaries in relationships and improving self-esteem.


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