So lately I’ve been trying to figure out why it is I have low self-esteem (because I’m certain I have it, but I don’t know why) and I thought I’d share a few things (mostly because talking to an anonymous audience is really therapeutic for me).
- Social withdrawal
- Anxiety and emotional turmoil
- Lack of social skills and self confidence. Depression and/or bouts of sadness
- Less social conformity
- Eating disorders
- Inability to accept compliments
- An Inability to see yourself ‘squarely’ – to be fair to yourself
- Accentuating the negative
- Exaggerated concern over what you imagine other people think
- Self neglect
- Treating yourself badly but NOT other people
- Worrying whether you have treated others badly
- Reluctance to take on challenges
- Reluctance to put yourself first or anywhere.
- Reluctance to trust your own opinion
- Expecting little out of life for yourself.
Reading that was depressing in and of itself just because I see myself in this list. This is basically my entire personality right now. I mean, inability to be fair to myself? Check. Treating myself badly but not other people? Absolutely. Inability to accept compliments? Just ask my mother, she’ll tell you.
So once I confirmed that I had low self-esteem, I tried to figure out why. Here’s what I came up with:
- I failed to meet my peer-group standards: At school, I became friends with people who were into TV shows I didn’t watch, music, English and liberal arts, and movies. I am into sports, math, and science. Therefore, because my interests didn’t match those of the majority of my friend group, I think my self-esteem suffered.
- An absence of interest: This one sort of goes with the previous one. Because I liked talking about sports and my friends didn’t, they didn’t show any interest when I talked about sports. The lack of interest from them could also have hurt my self-esteem.
- Being the odd one out: Again, this goes with the two above points. I was the only one who liked sports, and so I felt excluded and different.
- Being on the receiving end of someone’s stress or distress: In high school I became friends with a person who would dump her insecurities on me and make me feel like a horrible person. That undoubtedly contributed to how bad I felt/still feel.
- Disapproving authority figure: This one’s a little more complicated. In my sophomore year, I was just beginning to develop symptoms of ADHD, so I was pretty vulnerable. At the same time, I had a chemistry teacher who really, really hated me. I believe that she (the teacher) did contribute to my low self-esteem.
Anyway, those are the external reasons that led to me developing low self-esteem. Once I started feeling that way, I did the rest because I kept insulting myself and making myself feel like crap. The reasons above are just the ways it might have started; I exacerbated it.
If you’re interested in learning more about self-esteem and its sources, here are some links: