Low self-esteem is a hidden curse to self. When you don’t know your worth, you can’t expect it from others.
– Fahim Lashkaria –
Low self-esteem is hindering our future generation the most. It has harmful effects on mental health and affects decisions throughout life.
We are the one who is responsible as a parent, teacher, employer or human being for this. We must understand the root causes and help our loved ones overcome it.
The simplest definition of low self-esteem is nothing but imposing unnecessary boundaries for self despite having the capabilities.
Usually, It begins in childhood. The experiences that a child has against every action defines his/her self-esteem.
Sometimes, they find it difficult to cope with other’s expectations or expectations. Moreover, many times unpleasant life events or loss affects negatively on self-esteem.
Negativity from the social groups which include parents, friends, relatives also play a big role. Thus, all these things create your limiting belief system.
Signs of Low Self-Esteem
Let me nail it down for you. Here are signs that will help you identify signs of low self-esteem in children, youth and adults. Just check if you or anyone of your near and dear ones have these.
Signs of Low Self Esteem in Children
- Avoids a task or challenge without even trying. This often signals a fear of failure or a sense of helplessness.
- Quits soon after beginning a game or a task, giving up at the first sign of frustration.
- Cheats or lies when he believes he’s going to lose a game or do poorly.
- Shows signs of regression, acting babylike or very silly. These types of behavior invite teasing and name-calling from other youngsters, thus adding insult to injury.
- It becomes controlling, bossy, or inflexible as ways of hiding feelings of inadequacy, frustration, or powerlessness.
- Makes excuses or downplays the importance of events to place blame on others or external forces.
- Grades in school decline or he/she lose interest in usual activities.
If you find any of these in your child it is due to lower self-worth.
Signs of Low Self Esteem in Youth
- Withdraws socially, losing or having less contact with friends.
- Experiences changing moods, exhibiting sadness, crying, angry outbursts, frustration, or quietness.
- Makes self-critical negative comments about self.
- Difficulty accepting either praise or criticism.
- He/She becomes overly concerned or sensitive about other people’s opinions of him.
- Easily Influenced Seems by negative peer influence, adopting attitudes and behaviors like a disdain for school, cutting classes, acting disrespectfully, shoplifting, or experimenting with tobacco, alcohol, or drugs.
- Tries to stay lonely all the time.
- Difficulty making friends.
- Negative moods usually feeling sad, anxious or angry.
- Not inspired to do things that he once loved.
- Careless attitude towards self and their belongings.
- Indulging in earlier sexual activity such as watching porn or even physical relations.
- Smoking, drinking alcohol or taking drugs.
These are the signs to look for in youth.
Signs of Low Self Esteem in Adults
- Avoid doing or acting on new things or given opportunities.
- Feel being unloved and unwanted.
- Blame others for your mistakes.
- Get frustrated and give up easily on things.
- Think yourself incompetent.
- Mostly compare yourself to others.
- Fear embarrassment due to failure.
- Have difficulty making friends.
- Always need someone to push you.
- Always take criticism negatively and demoralize yourself.
- Assume negative judgments about self even when not said others.
- Fear losing people.
- Fear to ask for help.
- Do things to please others without caring for yourself.
These traits are signs of lower self-esteem.
Root Cause of Low Self-Esteem
I believe that identifying the root cause of any problem is necessary. It helps you to know why it happened in the first place. Let look into the root causes for low-esteem in children, youth and adults.
Causes of Low Self- Esteem in Children
Comparison With Others: Children get affected by comparison very easily. Parents and teachers often compare them with others in academics, sports or even small matters. This hits them the most.
They start feeling worthless. Sometimes it also happens that they even feel that it is of no use because their parents or teachers anyway aren’t going to like or appreciate it.
It continues and then they start comparing to others and breed low self-esteem. Children get into fixed mindsets and start doing only things that are required to go by and not for growth.
High Expectations: When kids grow a little, parents tend to have more expectations from them in academics, sports, and etiquettes performance. Many times it results in pressure to perform and hence they start feeling left out. This, in turn, breeds low self-esteem.
Extra Disciplinary Upbringing: Some parents have an extra-disciplinary atmosphere at home. This leaves them stranded. Everything should be done in a particular way.
Not doing things their way makes breeds low self-esteem. They know that they have to do according to those disciplines and thus give up using their minds for it.
Over Protecting: Many parents overprotect their child in the name of love. They feel that they are caring but actually, it is making them dependent on you.
Don’t do this, dont do that are the things they are guided for. Such children develop a mindset that they someone to do or guide them. Hence, slowly they develop low self-esteem.
Causes of Low Self- Esteem in Youth
Children gone through the above have already developed low self-esteem. This continues in their youth.
In addition to the above mentioned, other reasons cause low self-esteem in youths.
Uninvolved Parents/Guardians: Everyone loves to have a loving and cooperating family. Unfortunately, some youth don’t get this. Parents/guardians having mental health issues, or challenging life circumstances are unable to provide their children with such an atmosphere.
Due to the lack of guidance or care they need or deserve it initiates self-esteem problems in youth.
Bullying: Bullying hinders self-esteem a lot. The youth sometimes feel unsafe and tortured outside. Slowly and gradually they sideline themselves from social activities and start staying lonely.
Stress or Trauma: Past or recent trauma also affect self-esteem. Loss of loved one, breakups, loss of good friends, disability, etc all these affects youth very much.
As they are new to these emotions they don’t know how to deal with such situations. Physical, mental, sexual abuse give them the feeling of guilt and hence affects self-esteem.
Poor Body Image: Poor body image is another factor that affects self-esteem. It can be racial differences, body posture, obesity, height, physique, etc. Not having enough people to be around like others makes them feel bad about their selves.
Disapproving Authority: Youth growing up hearing that whatever they are doing isn’t good enough are more likely to have low self-esteem.
Continous disapproval from parents, guardians, or teachers results in such situations. It becomes hard for the youth to feel confident as they are criticized no matter what they do or how hard they try.
Parent Disputes: Continous quarrels or disputes between parents hinders the mental balance of youth. If the father is victimized, young boys get affected. Whereas when a mother is victimized young girls are affected.
Due to this, youth even starts feeling that all this happens because of them. Fear starts compiling in them and results in lower self-esteem.
Causes of Low Self- Esteem in Adults
If your childhood or youth has cultivated low self-esteem in you, you are more likely to take this further in your adulthood too. In addition to the above, some causes add to low self-esteem in adults.
Fear of Failure: When you grow older and have responsibilities to fulfill you develop an unsaid fear. Even though the situations are hard you don’t change the job or take the risk. These are signs of low self-esteem.
Negative Thought Pattern: When adults are surrounded by negative people at home, office or society they develop a negative mindset. They develop trust issues.
Such negative groups bring often bring them down by disrespect, forcing them to do uncomfortable things, making fun of their feelings and thoughts. This overtime breaks their confidence and breeds low self-esteem.
Guilt: Guilt is a deep pit. Once an adult falls into this deep pit it hinders their lives very intensively. The guilt of doing something bad in the past makes them feel uncomfortable.
They start unliking their selves because of that past action feeling unworthy. They stop taking actions and hence breed lower self-esteem.
Unloved/Unwanted: Many adults have this situation with friends and their partners. In such cases, they start developing insecurity. They start doing things to please others or beg others to stay with them and are eventually being used by others.
Having discussed the root causes of it lets move to their solutions.
How to Overcome Low Self-Esteem?
Low self-esteem is not permanent. You can overcome it. Here are some exercises that can help you overcome low self-esteem.
Overcoming Low Self-Esteem in Children
Develop a Growth Mindset: Not worrying about results and focusing on efforts and practicing is what growth mindset is all about. Avoid comparison,
Avoid Harsh Criticism: Don’t be a military head always. Don’t take your wor or home frustration on them with anger. Try to explain your anger. Show them side effects. Abusive tones are good at damaging self-esteem.
Understanding Children Emotions: Every child is gifted with extraordinary strengths, they unlock at different frequencies. Understand their frequency and act accordingly.
Some are good with lower tones and some with higher tones. Emotions breed emotions. Once you are good with them they become close to you and share their good or bad feelings with you.
Instill Positive Thinking: Most children with lower self-esteem develop negative thinking. Instill positive thinking.
Encourage them for their small achievements. Push them, help them do new things. If they aren’t able to do it, do it and show them once twice or thrice.
Supportive Parenting: Be their supporter instead of being their opponent. Supportive doesn’t mean making your children spoon-fed. But doing at the right time.
Watch them carefully. You might notice small changes in their behavior which are a sign of something wrong.
Overcoming Low Self-Esteem in Youth
Avoid Disputes: Couples do fight. Even we do have disagreements. But this should not be done in front of youth so that it affects their being. They don’t understand that you disagree. Thus, hate getting into relationships due to this.
Give Them Space: Youth act differently. Make sure you give them their space. Guide for good or bad. Sometimes they don’t understand warnings. So let them fail. But be their rope of hope.
Create Friendly Bonding: Being friendly means going off the parenting for some time. Be a youth with them. Do things that they like with them. This helps them to be near you and share with you.
Teach Self Respect: Teach them not to do things that hinder their self-respect for anyone. Where there is a matter of self-respect they must take their stance. Ask for help from you. This gives them emotional support.
Supportive Parenting: Here supporting is a little bit different from the above. Youth get influenced by others easily in matters. If they do wrong for the first time, explain them.
Don’t start the third-degree treatment. Accept them, show them love so that when they do something wrong they can come to you and easily say.
Overcoming Low Self-Esteem in Adults
Avoid Selfs Criticism: As an adult, you must understand one thing if you don’t value yourself no one will. Stop criticizing yourself.
When you criticize you create a boundary that doesn’t exist. You think of negative things when not even said by others. Nurture self-image and self-worth.
Breed Positivity: Positive thinking is more than just a tagline. It changes the way we behave. Here are some Exercises To Cultivate Positive Mindset. The best thing about these exercises is that you will love doing them.
Speak Out: Don’t hide your feelings. Speak out for yourself. If something is wrong you must not accept the shit. Stand for yourself. Don’t fear the circumstances.
Treat Yourself: Sometimes we don’t have anyone to share our feelings. That’s ok. be your own best friend. Speak with the most intelligent person and that is you. Give yourself a treat. Dine out, dance on your favorite song, enjoy the moments of joy.
Stop Pleasing Others: Many times we do this shit and then blame others for being bad with us. You give them the chance to play with your emotions.
Doing for love is different but stop doing just o please or make them stay near you. They will stay if they are for you.
Make Peace With Past/Guilt: Past failures, experiences or guilts go long way with some of us. Take a small bag put them all in and throw them in a river. Learn the lesson from your past and let it go.
Think that whatever happened, happened for good and you are now an experienced player. Don’t let your past hinder your present and eventually hinder your future.
Enjoy the Journey: We hurt as we make ourselves attached to results. Hence, enjoy the process. Sooner or later the results are going to be in your favor. This creates hope and it helps you fight lower self-esteem.
Find a Passion: Passion is something you love and can do all the time. Find one for yourself. It can be playing football, art, craft, reading, blogging, travel, etc.
You know best what you like. get into that. Your little achievements on that every day will fill you with confidence.
Low self-esteem has killed more dreams than anything in this world. It leads to disastrous ends. Depression, blood sugar, blood pressure, anxiety are products of low self-esteem.
I hope this research helps you get you or your loved ones out of this pit. You can also get help from child psychologists, life coaches, and other relevant professionals.
You can also subscribe to my Mindset Development programs given below:
If you have any questions for your children, youth or adults free to ask. I am a Behavior Analyst and Mindset coach. Iw ill be more than happy to help you.