Our self-esteem is a measure of how good or bad we feel about ourselves. If we often feel fearful and doubtful of ourselves, it is due to low self-esteem. Millions of people worldwide suffer from low self-esteem issues. An individual with low self-esteem will experience symptoms like:
- Feeling worthless
- Feeling sad and hateful towards oneself
- Confusion and inability to make decisions
- Feels like no one cares/likes you
- Being hypercritical of yourself
- Feeling that you don’t deserve happiness
- Inability to recognize your strengths
- Feels inferior and insecure all the time
What Causes Low Self-Esteem?
1. Uninvolved Or Negligent Parents
The environment in which we are raised play a significant role in shaping our emotional self and character. Many of us have parents who are pretty mindful about their parenting. Unfortunately, in many households, parents do not invest in the emotional well-being of their children. Most parents project their insecurities and frustrations in the form of discouraging words or abusive actions and even worse total indifference. Parents or guardians with mental health issues, a history of substance or extreme temperaments may not be able to raise an emotionally secure child.1
2. Negative Peers Or Friends
Bullying is one of the main causes of self-esteem issues and depression amongst school children, worldwide. The way our peers make us feel can deeply affect us the way our parents would. If our peers are constantly calling us names, harassing us, mocking us and even resorting to cyber bullying, it can destroy the way we feel about ourselves. It’s the lack of kindness while dealing with one another that leads to bullying. Often people who bully others are themselves suffering from low self-esteem issues themselves.2
3. A History Of Trauma
Studies report that about 7.2 million children are have been subjected to abuse in America.3 The hidden epidemic of child abuse is a worldwide phenomenon. Regardless of whether the abuse is physical, emotional or sexual or a combination of all these, the hapless child often grows up feeling guilty and ashamed. Anybody who has survived abuse often experiences feelings of low self-esteem and unworthy of love, respect, and care. Symptoms of low self-esteem and depression are very prevalent in such individuals and limit them from leading a fulfilling life.4
4. Dissatisfaction With Physical Appearance
The celebrity culture and media’s influences in our society have drastically affected the self-esteem of many young people, worldwide.5 A majority of teenage boys and girls pick up habits like smoking, laxative abuse and fasting to get the body they desire. Photoshopped images of celebrities give the false impression to young minds that being beautiful means being a size zero with flawless skin and hair. Teenage is a very volatile age where the body undergoes rapid physical transformations from acne to weight gain. The feelings of being unattractive and inadequate can lead to low self-esteem issues in teenagers.
5. Inability To Cope With Life Changes
Existential crisis not only affects adults but young children also. Sudden changes in school environments or a divorce in the family can affect the way children feel about themselves. When they feel that many things in life are happening against their will, the feeling of helplessness and insignificance seep into their young minds. These feelings, if not addressed lead to low self-esteem issues in them.6
6. Pressure From Parents Or Society
Children who are bearing the pressure of fulfilling their parent’s dreams or the societal perceptions of individual expression, often suffer from low self-esteem. In a high-stress environment with authoritarian and controlling parents, a healthy emotional growth cannot be achieved.7Giving too much attention to what people think about you or how successful you are can lead to disappointment and low self-esteem.
7. Negative Approach And Thinking
What we think, we become. When we constantly feel worthless, then it, unfortunately, becomes a habit. Feelings of inferiority and inadequacy are very damaging in the long run. It is important to learn how to shift focus from negative thinking. A pessimistic approach in life is a recipe for disaster.8
Kids with good self-esteem and confidence grow up to become confident adults. Remember to allow and encourage your child to live life confidently and fruitfully.
|↑1||Christoffersen, Mogens Nygaard. “A follow-up study of long-term effects of unemployment on children: loss of self-esteem and self-destructive behavior among adolescents.” Childhood 2, no. 4 (1994): 212-220.|
|↑2||O’Moore, Mona, and Colin Kirkham. “Self‐esteem and its relationship to bullying behaviour.” Aggressive behavior 27, no. 4 (2001): 269-283.|
|↑3||Child Abuse Statistics. AMERICAN SPCC|
|↑4||Tebbutt, Jennifer, Heather Swanston, R. Kim Oates, and Brian I. O’toole. “Five years after child sexual abuse: Persisting dysfunction and problems of prediction.” Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 36, no. 3 (1997): 330-339.|
|↑5||Pliner, Patricia, Shelly Chaiken, and Gordon L. Flett. “Gender differences in concern with body weight and physical appearance over the life span.” Personality and social psychology bulletin 16, no. 2 (1990): 263-273.|
|↑6||Wyman, Peter A., Emory L. Cowen, A. Dirk Hightower, and JoAnne L. Pedro-Carroll. “Perceived competence, self-esteem, and anxiety in latency-aged children of divorce.” Journal of Clinical Child Psychology 14, no. 1 (1985): 20-26.|
|↑7||Herz, Lara, and Eleonora Gullone. “The relationship between self-esteem and parenting style a cross-cultural comparison of Australian and Vietnamese-Australian adolescents.” Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 30, no. 6 (1999): 742-761.|
|↑8||Peden, Ann R., Lynne A. Hall, Mary Kay Rayens, and Lora Beebe. “Negative thinking mediates the effect of self-esteem on depressive symptoms in college women.” Nursing Research 49, no. 4 (2000): 201-207.|