Low self-esteem can make you worry that you’re ugly, boring, or unintelligent. But you’re not. The Mix tells you why.
What is self-esteem?
Your self-esteem is how well you think about yourself. If you have low self-esteem you think badly about yourself, or don’t think you’re worth anything. It can often be traced back to early childhood experiences, such as heavy criticism, being abandoned, and feeling unloved, or being ridiculed or abused. It can also be a symptom of depression.
What are the signs of low self-esteem?
Whether you’re really shy or really out-going, the signs of low self-esteem include:
- Feeling that you’re not good enough
- Low confidence
- Putting yourself down all the time
- Being too scared to try new things
- Unsure of your good qualities
- Making no effort because you expect to mess things up
- Being timid, not asserting yourself
- Losing your temper
- Picking fights
- Worrying about getting even
- Blaming others for your problems
- Constantly bickering about petty issues
If low self-esteem is really affecting your life you should talk to your GP. But there are also things you can do to build your own self-esteem. After all, negative beliefs about yourself are just beliefs, not facts, so you can change them.
I’m crap at everything
Now that’s simply not true. Granted, there will be some things you’re crap at, but there will be other things you’re amazing at. It’s human to make mistakes, so don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, think about what you’ve done well.
Write down 50 things you like about yourself, however big or small. You probably won’t get all 50 straight away, so write them down as and when you think of them – even if it takes a couple of weeks.
Then, next time you’re having doom and gloom thoughts about yourself you can look at your list.
I’m never going to achieve anything. Ever.
If you think you’re not good at anything, then it’s not surprising you feel like you won’t be able to do things in life. Start by going back to your list and remember the things you’ve already achieved. Then set yourself a small challenge.
Try something you know you can do but usually wouldn’t, like sending a text to someone you haven’t seen in a while, then try something a bit harder, like joining a local club. Keep building it up; you’ll be surprised at what you do achieve.
No one likes me
Is there really no one that likes you? Or do you just feel like there isn’t? Ask yourself these questions to help you figure it out:
- Do people make an effort with you? Write down all the times you can remember people doing a nice thing for you, from texting you to celebrating your birthday. Look at the list – do you still feel like no one likes you?
- Have you been making an effort? Have you been texting, calling and trying to hang out with other people? It’s as much your responsibility as theirs; they may be waiting for you to call.
- Are the people in your life struggling too?Whenever someone hurts your feelings ask yourself why they may’ve done that. Often it won’t be about you, but about how they’re feeling, so try not to take it to heart. However, if someone continually puts you down you should confront them about it. If it doesn’t stop it’s probably best to spend less time with them.
- Have you tried to make new friends? If you’re lonely it could be that you simply don’t know that many people. Join a club or go to classes to meet people and learn something new. Friendship comes more easily if you have things in common.
- Anyone can contact the Samaritans on their 24-hour helpline to talk things through. 116 123
- If you're under 25 and would like free confidential telephone counselling from The Mix to help you figure things out complete this form and we'll call you to arrange your first session.
- Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
- Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.
Updated on 29-Sep-2015
Is the news making you feel anxious?
It's good to be connected, but look after yourself too.
What is anxiety?
Feeling scared all the time? You may have an issue with ...
Telling your boyfriend or girlfriend you have a mental health problem
When to do it, what to say and how they'll react.
A guide to self care
How to keep your mind and body happy and healthy.
A guide to CAMHS
What is CAMHS and what happens when you go there?