Lack of self-esteem: what it is and how to improve it

Lack of self-esteem does not turn into a psychological disorder, but the truth is, it is among the emotional issues most likely to negatively affect people’s quality of life.

Partly that’s because a lot of people think it’s natural not to value yourself, which is part of your personality, so nothing is being done to change that. But nothing could be further from the truth: much can be done to improve self-esteem. Let’s see.

    What is a lack of self-esteem?

    In short, self-esteem is the set of beliefs and ideas that we have internalized in our mind about how we should value ourselves. So it is not just a body of theoretical knowledge about the Self, but incorporates an emotional charge related to whether we feel good or bad about who we are. In other words, self-esteem is not just about describing ourselves, but also tells us how we tend towards the good things or towards the bad and towards the desirable or towards what we reject, it has a moral component).

    Of course, it is normal for us to value ourselves in ways that are at least slightly different depending on the area of ​​life on which we are focusing our attention: we can feel satisfied with who we are in the world of studies and the university. but not loving in the realm of romantic relationships, for example, or vice versa. In any case, each facet of our daily life influences to a greater or lesser extent the way in which we value others.

    Lack of self-esteem occurs when it appears an imbalance between our potential and our tendency to value ourselves, the latter being a declining mass. In fact, it is one of the most common psychological disorders (not disorders), but precisely because of its nature, if we manage to overcome it, it leads to very satisfying experiences of self-discovery.

    Signs indicating a problem with self-esteem

    Low self-esteem usually manifests itself as a series of unmistakable signals that allow us to detect negative patterns of self-perception or self-esteem.

    Identifying these signals in other people or in ourselves is the first step in solving any self-esteem problem. Let’s see what they are.

    1. Insecurity

    Lack of self-confidence exhibited by people with self-esteem issues it manifests itself daily both in the workplace and on a personal and social level.

    This is due to a feeling of incompetence in almost everything they do, which also causes them to feel indecisive, the constant belief that they will fail in something important, a feeling of inferiority by relation to others, etc.

    2. Tendency to always compare with others

    A foolish obsession with their own flaws also causes the person to constantly compare themselves. with other people, which generates even more complexes and feelings of inferiority.

    On the other hand, people with good self-esteem don’t need to compare themselves to the people around them as much as they feel good about themselves.

    3. Uncomfortable congratulations

    Discomfort with praise is another sign that can often indicate a case of low self-esteem. This phenomenon is associated with what is called the impostor syndrome.: Those with low self-esteem believe they don’t deserve this kind of show of respect and fear that others will expose them as someone who doesn’t deserve this treatment.

    In contrast, people with good self-esteem are able to recognize both their successes and failures in healthy ways.

    4. Little assertiveness

    Assertiveness is the ability to defend and assert one’s own rights while respecting the interests and feelings of others.

    Far from presenting this capacity, people with low self-esteem usually accept proposals, requests or mandates that go against their own interests and they are almost incapable of refusing these conditions, whether their socio-economic situation predisposes them to it or not.

    5. Minimize your own merits

    Ascribing one’s own merits to one’s own luck or to causes beyond one’s own this is another of the most common characteristics of people with low self-esteem.

    As in the case of praise, the successes themselves are often relativized and deprived of their real importance.

    How to improve self-esteem?

    The most effective solution (by far) to improve self-esteem is to go to the psychologist; Through a psychological intervention program, professionals in this field learn to value it as it should, in a balanced way and being sensitive to their samples of potential and their own progress.

    However, beyond counseling, there are some self esteem improvement strategies that generally help and are simple enough that anyone will suggest applying them in their day to day life. Here are a few of them.

    1. Detect the kind of thoughts that make you underestimate yourself

    Instead of just listening to those ideas that take your mind by storm and make you look in the eyes, analyze them as objectively as possible, as if they are phenomena as common and natural as the lifestyles that you see in your eyes. you see around you.

    Do well it is better not to focus your attention on each of them separately, but to detect patterns and aspects that have in common. For example, the type of situations that trigger them, the images that attract them to your mind (whether imagined or based at least in part on memories), etc.

    Of course, you shouldn’t be obsessed with it or do it constantly at all times of the day; he just has a little notebook with you and sees you writing little notes about what goes through your mind at times when you feel your low self-esteem affects you the most throughout the week.

      2. Start a project

      Setting goals will be a great way to channel those desires to show you what you can be capable of.; your self-esteem will hardly increase if you don’t give yourself objective and real reasons for seeing yourself differently.

      To achieve this, you can take several days to think about a project that you would like to achieve that is meaningful to you, and then break it down into a chain of short-term sub-goals (because those goals you can come up with are a question of hours pull yourself up and motivate yourself by taking action). In fact, your first goal may be to pick the general idea for that first draft, and get it done before a deadline (try to be a few weeks maximum).

      Of course, try to strike a balance between what poses a minimal challenge to you and what is unrealistic to pose due to its difficulty; the former will not motivate you much and have little influence on your self-esteem, and the latter will frustrate you and make it easier for you to stop trying to improve your self-esteem. The difficulty curve for this chain of goals should be uphill, but it should always be between what you definitely know you can do and what you think is impossible to achieve.

      3. Surround yourself with more people who appreciate your accomplishments.

      The social context we are exposed to has a significant influence on how our self-esteem takes shape.. If you only deal with people who underestimate you because of past dynamics, it is easy to interact with them frequently, the problem of low self-esteem is still there.

      4. Devote at least one weekly session to reviewing your accomplishments.

      Adopt this habit you will have a constant and day-to-day notion of the improvements you have made in a short time.

      5. Make Warning

      Take care of your health and your image, starting by incorporating activities into your schedule that will make you healthier: eat what you have, get enough sleep, exercise regularly, etc. This will not only make it easier for you to overcome challenges (because if you are in good shape, you will be less exposed to exhaustion and stress), but it will also make you perceive yourself in a more favorable way.

      6. Challenge your ideals

      Since you have started to analyze the kind of thoughts that make you feel bad, I wonder if you compare yourself to the ideals of people which is not beyond our imagination or the worlds of audiovisual and marketing and therefore can only make you feel bad about who you are. Sometimes the most glaring errors were right in front of our eyes, and precisely because they were so familiar to us, we did not recognize them as such.

      Would you like to benefit from professional psychological support?

      If you are considering improving your self-esteem or any other aspect of your emotional management, I invite you to contact me.

      My name is Tomás Santa Cecilia and I am a psychologist specializing in the cognitive-behavioral intervention model, with which it is possible to produce changes for the better both in the ways of dealing with emotions and the interpretation of reality, and in models of behavior and habits. I help individuals and professionals in person in Madrid and through online video calling sessions.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Castello, BJ (2005) Emotional Addiction: Characteristics and Treatment, Publishing Alliance.
      • Kelly, RA (2010). Social skills training: a practical guide to interventions. Bilbao: Desclée de Brouwer.
      • Wagner, J .; Hoppmann, C .; Ram, N .; Gerstorf, D. (2015). Self-esteem is relatively stable at the end of life: the role of resources in the areas of health, self-regulation and the social. Developmental Psychology, 51 (1): pages 136-149.
      • Orth U .; Robbins RW (2014). The development of self-esteem. Current orientations in psychological sciences. 23 (5): pages 381 to 387.

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