Understanding Self-Esteem

When thinking about problems that one may have with their mental health I used to think only of anxiety and depression, and forget that there are other things that contribute to mental health such as stress, anger and self-esteem.

“selfesteem reflects a person’s overall subjective emotional evaluation of his or her own worth. It is a judgment of oneself as well as an attitude toward the self.”

Search the word on the internet and you will come across many definitions like the one above. When I used to think about self-esteem I thought it was solely about appearance, are you happy with what you look like, are you comfortable with your weight, do you consider yourself to be attractive. But I have come to realise that there is much more to self-esteem than anyone thinks at first glance, and that it has a major impact on my life and the things that I do every single day. My ex boyfriend used to ask me a question such as “what would you like for dinner?” and then follow it up almost immediately with ” don’t even say you don’t mind”. I always used to say you know how indecisive I am, I like it when other people make choices for me. Only in the last few days have I actually learnt that my indecisiveness is a result of my low self-esteem. Having no confidence and belief in yourself, fearing that you will make the wrong choice, makes you not want to be responsible for the choice at all. Whether its just going to affect yourself of whether its going to impact others, and that is even scarier. You don’t want to suggest somewhere to eat, just in-case the person you go with doesn’t like it, and then associates that experience with you and blames you for it. Decisions, they occur numerous times on a daily basis, and being indecisive is something that I do automatically every time and would never have thought it had anything to do with my self-esteem!

So what are the signs that you have low self-esteem? You may be well aware that you have a struggle at the moment but you may not have thought that self-esteem was something that you need to work on to help you fight. Here are some common signs that you have low self-esteem:-

  • Feelings of hate or dislike to yourself
  • Feeling worthless or not good enough
  • Being unable to make decisions or assert yourself
  • Feeling like no one likes you
  • blaming yourself for things that aren’t your fault
  • Feeling guilty for spending time or money on yourself
  • Being unable to recognise your strengths
  • Feeling undeserving of happiness
  • Having a negative outlook
  • Lack of confidence
  • Inability to express your needs
  • Focusing on your weaknesses
  • Feelings of shame, depression, or anxiety
  • Belief that others are better than you
  • Trouble accepting positive feedback
  • Fear of failure

How many of these do you experience? I think I suffer with all of them. Damn that’s pretty scary! No wonder I don’t believe anyone loves me, no wonder I always feel like I cant trust anyone, not boyfriend nor friend, and sometimes not even family. How can I possibly believe that anything will be good when I think this way?

Update with my progress- I have had my assessment and I have been put on to a wellbeing course with the opportunity to have some one-to-one counselling after I have completed it. Bad news is- there is a waiting list for the course, and its going to take a little while to complete it so I could still be a very long way from the help that I need. So in the meantime I am doing my best to self-help, I have brought a CBT book and I am just about to get to the practical part where I will learn things that I can put into practice and share them with you here. My goal for this week is to research and practice methods of raising my self-esteem, I think its a great place to start and will have a domino effect with both my anxiety and depression. Fingers crossed.

One very important thing that I have learnt this week is that to start feeling better, you need to take away the things that are having a negative impact on your health. As hard as it is to do that, you will only feed off of these things and they can very easily reverse any progress that you have made.

In my last post Is love the answer? I talked about wanting to have someone beside me through the journey, how people have caused me to feel this way and I feel like I need people to help me feel better. I do hope that there are currently people in my life, and that I will in the future meet people who will hold my hand through this struggle, but I have learnt that you are better off doing it alone than turning to someone who is unreliable, and causes your head more confusion. If they cant decide whether they want to be there for you or not, don’t accept their help at all. You need support that is concrete, people who you can turn to no matter what.

Until next time.

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