Chronic low self-esteem can have a huge impact on your life, making it difficult to be productive, happy, and successful. It is characterized by an inability to view oneself positively and feel worthy of love, respect, and success.
People with low self-esteem are often drawn into abusive relationships as they are targeted by toxic partners and narcissists because someone with low self-esteem is more easily controlled and manipulated.
People with chronic low self-esteem feel insecure and inadequate, and they often experience a range of negative emotions such as sadness, guilt, and shame.
They may also be prone to self-criticism and negative self-talk, which can lead to further feelings of inadequacy. They may also feel a sense of hopelessness, believing that they cannot change their circumstances.
This can lead to a cycle of negative thinking, in which the person focuses on their perceived failures and shortcomings instead of on their successes.
It can also affect their relationships, as people with low self-esteem may have difficulty expressing their needs and communicating effectively. People with chronic low self-esteem may also be more prone to behaviors such as substance abuse, eating disorders, and self-harm.
It can be hard to break out of the negative self-talk and feelings that come along with having low self-esteem but there are practices that can help you to make changes and build your self-esteem.
What is chronic low self-esteem?
Chronic low self-esteem is a feeling of inadequacy. It can be caused by a number of factors but is often the result of life experiences, such as bullying or experiencing an unhappy childhood without supportive environments.
Families, teachers, and caregivers play a significant role in the development of a person and in building self-esteem, without this nurturing environment, there is a significant impact on self-confidence and self-esteem.
Feelings of inadequacy can be exacerbated by financial problems, stress, and long-term exposure to abusive relationships.
Low self-esteem can be a long-term issue that can negatively affect your mental health, relationships, and daily life. It can also significantly increase your risk of depression and anxiety.
When life throws you a curve ball your low self-esteem results in you having low resilience and ineffective coping mechanisms and problem-solving skills to make sound decisions.
Signs of low self-esteem
You may feel silly or foolish when doing something bold or ambitious. You may also worry that you will make mistakes or forget important things. Your inner critic will always focus on the negative aspects of yourself and why you cannot achieve your desired goals. An abusive relationship will further wear you down enhancing your self-doubt.
You may feel nervous when meeting new people or speaking in public. You may also worry that people will judge you, that you don’t have enough experience or skills to complete certain tasks. You may avoid certain social situations preferring social isolation.
You may assume you are stupid or blame yourself for every mistake you make. You may also tell yourself you are not worth anything or that you don’t deserve certain things or opportunities.
Inability to express your feelings
You may feel embarrassed when sharing your feelings with others, especially if you are in a relationship. You may also assume that others don’t care about the same things you do.
You may have unreasonable expectations of yourself and be too hard on yourself when you make mistakes. This can create stress, tension, and anxiety. The fear of failure may result in you avoiding new things. The need for perfectionism may result in you having a negative body image which leads to further negative feelings.
How to build your self-esteem
Journaling and writing
Journaling is a great way to process your feelings and get your thoughts out on paper. It can also help you reflect on your experiences and reach a better understanding of what has led to your low self-esteem.
Journaling can be done as often as you like, whether that is once a day or several times a day. Some people prefer to do it quickly and intuitively, while others prefer to take their time and reflect on their thoughts and feelings. Whatever your preference, journaling is a great way to process your feelings and get your thoughts out on paper.
If journaling is new to you, here are some journaling tips to get you started: –
- Pick a topic or theme to explore in your journaling.
- Write as if you are talking directly to yourself.
- Try to be as honest and specific as possible.
- Don’t edit yourself while you are writing.
Changing your thoughts and beliefs
Chronic low self-esteem can often be linked to negative thoughts and beliefs, such as
- I am stupid or worthless.
- I won’t be successful.
- I will never be good enough.
Focus on changing these thoughts and beliefs by challenging them and replacing them with positive ones. There are a number of techniques you can use to change your thinking, such as: –
- Make a list of your negative thoughts and beliefs and how they could be inaccurate.
- Next, try to come up with a positive thought that is more accurate and true that can replace the negative thought.
- Brainstorm as many positive thoughts as you can about yourself.
- Once you have a few, choose one or two that you want to focus on the most.
- Try to incorporate these new thoughts into your everyday life, especially when you are struggling with negative thoughts.
Practicing positive self-talk
Chronic low self-esteem can often be linked to negative self-talk.
When you feel negative self-talk coming up, try to replace it with a more positive thought, even if it is just one word. Try to use positive self-talk when you are feeling down.
Using daily affirmations can help to change negative self-talk into a more positive mindset and positive self-talk.
Taking care of your body
Chronic low self-esteem can often be linked to poor self-image and unrealistic expectations of your appearance.
To combat this, try to be kind to yourself and make time for yourself. Eat a nutritious, balanced diet. Get regular exercise. Get enough sleep. Avoid drugs and alcohol.
When you make time for nourishing, healthy meals, you will be less likely to binge on junk and calories. You will also be better off when you make the time for regular exercise, as this can help you improve your self-esteem and feel better about your body.
It can also be helpful to seek support from close friends or family members that can help you challenge these negative beliefs and change your mindset.
There are many ways you can also support yourself and become more self-aware: –
- Listen to self-help audiobooks or podcasts.
- Read self-help books or online articles.
- Journal or reflect on your thoughts and feelings more often.
- Try to be kinder and more compassionate towards yourself.
Celebrating small successes
To break this cycle, try to celebrate small wins, even those you may not feel are a success. Even if you only have time to do one thing, focus on that one thing. The smallest of wins can help you build your self-esteem.
Focus on your individual strengths to help build healthy self-esteem.
Choose your tribe
You may be in a comfort zone of socializing with negative people. It’s time to take personal responsibility for your environment and make a change. Find your new tribe that allows open communication and collaboration and, positive vibes. This environment will help to support you in building your positive self-esteem.
Mental health resources
Chronic low self-esteem can also be overcome by
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (or CBT) – This therapy is based on the idea that your thoughts and feelings are directly related to your well-being.
- Mindfulness – This practice focuses on promoting awareness of your thoughts and feelings, rather than taking them on as ‘absolute truth’.
- Journaling – This is a great way to process your thoughts and feelings and build your self-esteem.
- Clinical instructor – should you be struggling with self-esteem and not able to change your mindset seeking support from a therapist who will guide and support you with a collaborative care plan can be helpful. Working with a therapist can help you address the underlying causes of your low self-esteem and develop healthier ways of thinking and relating to yourself.
The negative impacts of chronic low self-esteem will affect your quality of life and sense of well-being.
However, there are a number of lifestyle changes that you can easily make that will help build the vision of your ideal self, enhance your healing process, and allow you to focus on the positive aspect of yourself. Create a plan and engage in activities that help build self-confidence and self-compassion, such as meditation, journaling, and engaging in meaningful activities.
With help, you can learn to feel more positive about yourself and gain the confidence to make positive changes in your life.
Learn to believe in yourself as you deserve it and owe it to yourself.