Why I Have Low Self-Esteem

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).

First off, I found the signs of low self-esteem thanks to http://www.self-confidence.co.uk (link to article here) which had a nice list of characteristics of genuinely low self-esteem:

  1. Social withdrawal
  2. Anxiety and emotional turmoil
  3. Lack of social skills and self confidence. Depression and/or bouts of sadness
  4. Less social conformity
  5. Eating disorders
  6. Inability to accept compliments
  7. An Inability to see yourself ‘squarely’ – to be fair to yourself
  8. Accentuating the negative
  9. Exaggerated concern over what you imagine other people think
  10. Self neglect
  11. Treating yourself badly but NOT other people
  12. Worrying whether you have treated others badly
  13. Reluctance to take on challenges
  14. Reluctance to put yourself first or anywhere.
  15. Reluctance to trust your own opinion
  16. 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:

Understanding Low Self-Esteem
Top Ten Facts about Low Self-Esteem
10 Sources of Low Self-Esteem
8 Suggestions for Strengthening Self-Esteem When You Have Depression


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