‘Amour propre’ or self esteem is the confidence and a sense of worth of one’s own. It is the pride in one’s self, self respect, self regard and self assurance. Though high levels of self esteem can make individuals reach the zenith of confidence and success, low levels of self esteem causes them to take a back seat, questioning their efficiency, capability and self worth. “I CAN’T” is a phrase that describes low self esteem in two words. It gives the individual a sense of hopelessness, impotence, inefficacy and powerlessness.
Here’s a list of 15 things that lower a person’s self esteem:
15. Stress level
Stressful events in life is one of the main causes of low self esteem. Stress leads to anxiety, nervousness, agitation and trepidation. It forbids the individuals from achieving his/her goals due to a constant dilemma or conflict in mind. This may result in inability or failure, leading the individual to think that he is inefficient for completing any task.
Self esteem is also lowered due to the inability to diagnose a psychological problem, causing the individual to be in a state of unrest and leading to his failure at tasks.
14. ADHD calling
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a disorder that attacks children and adults. In children, ADHD causes inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness; while in adults it causes forgetfulness, difficulty in focusing and finishing tasks. Thus, this disorder can also be a cause for a person to question his self worth, caused by hid incompetency.
Thinking, contemplating and analyzing unnecessarily is another root cause of low self esteem. We often wonder- “What if I fail?”, “What if I become a joke?”, “What if she is better than me?”, “What if I stammer during my speech?”, etc. These”What-if’s” are nothing but overthinking which gives us a seat in a sinking ship and makes us a washout.
12. When that shield slips
Our self esteem is also lowered when we malfunction and fail in protecting ourselves. Self esteem is heightened when we defend ourselves against criticism, bullying or shaming. However, when we are unable to protect ourselves from censure, reproval and denunciation, we fail at taking a stand for ourselves and are at the receiving end of condemnation, which ultimately lowers our self regard.
Rejection- an experience that can give us nightmares. Rejection at a dance audition, job interview or from someone’s life immediately triggers a sense of worthlessness in individuals. It compels them to feel defeated and causes an inability to rise again and fight back. Once rejected, an individual sulks endlessly at his/her inefficacy, incompetency and ineptitude. The life-old learning of “Try,Try but don’t cry” ceases to come into operation and the individual chooses to crib and cry over the defeat.
10. You v/s Them
Comparisons, usually with superiors can also send one’s self esteem rolling like a boulder down the hill. Comparisons threaten individuals, resulting in fear of inability to meet the expectations or perform as better as the other.
Leon Festinger, a social psychologist proposed a theory called “Social comparison theory” which states that individuals possess a drive to gain accurate self evaluations. It states that individuals compare their opinions and capabilities with others to reduce uncertainty in these domains and to define their own self. It is the fear of defeat and mockery that leads individuals to lose trust in oneself, falling prey to lowered self esteem.
9. The Judgemental Society
Being at the receiving end of constant judgements and criticisms by the society also plays a huge role in lowering the self esteem of an individual. The people of the society are constantly critical, questioning your worth and wondering if you’re capable of performing any tasks. This results in negative introspection of an individual, by himself; pondering if he’s actually capable of proving the society wrong. The lack of support and understanding by the society automatically causes the downfall of self esteem in an individual.
Criticism, censure, denunciation and vituperation dismantles and crumbles the bricks of self confidence and self love, stacked over the years by us. Being judged by peers and condemned by our parents demotivates us to an extent of completely giving up on ourselves. Instead of acknowledging our shortcomings and taking criticism in our stride, we collapse into bits and lose our strength of hard work and better performance.
7. Body shaming
If criticism on the basis of self worth was not enough, individuals are also criticized and mocked at their body image. Being condemned and shamed at physical appearance can play a havoc with the individuals sense of self regard and self respect. When a person is laughed at for bring fat, skinny, dark skinned, full of freckles, etc, their self confidence falls into pieces that can never be fixed into its place again.
6. Being ‘Pessimistic’
Having a negative outlook towards life and one’s own capabilities wobbles the belief and expectation of succeeding. Individuals fail to acknowledge their strengths and count only on their shortcomings. They accept the fact that only failure is at their hands and always hold a negative thinking related to any tasks in life. This loss of self belief caused by the dark clouds of pessimism is a major cause of low self esteem.
5. Self confidence in question
“People with low self esteem are more likely to sabotage themselves when something good happens to them, because they don’t feel deserving” -Anonymous
Low self confidence plays a pivotal role in lowering self esteem, which as mentioned above makes us feel less deserving, even if we do. Low self confidence forbids us from participating and also performing well and thus makes us a nonenity.
Failure is a major threat to our self esteem. If any individual experiences failure,he/she immediately feels that they are inefficient and not designed for a particular task, eventually leading to giving up and losing self assurance.
3. No recognition, no rewards.
Humans have been designed since childhood to be appreciated acknowledged and be rewarded for performing well or completing a particular task. This expectation is never uprooted from any individual even during adolescence. After completing a task or meeting the targets, individuals expect to me recognized, appreciated or rewarded- a bonus, etc, for their performance. However, no acknowledgement or reward may make a person feel that his success is not truly a great or cherishes one and thus makes him feel worthless and incapable.
2. A quest for perfection
“Nobody is perfect” reads a famous saying. However, humans don’t seem to absorb this fact and are constantly in quest or hunt for perfection. Inability to become perfect further torments individuals, who fail to meet an imaginary or unreal standards of living, and get upset and blame themselves unreasonably, leading to low self esteem.
1. Parenting done wrong
It is the duty of parents to boost their children’s self esteem since childhood. Appreciating their performance, pushing them to work hard, accepting their failure and motivating them at all times is essential to build strong walls of self esteem within them. Engaging in positive talks, encouragement and making the child aware of his self worth is a must for parents. Criticism and pessimism is what parents must shield their child from. Parents must make sure that their children grow in an atmosphere of love and respect for oneself and the others, which will ultimately lead to their growth. However, with censure and lack of motivation since childhood, the child will carry these shortcomings all his life, making him feel incapable and lowering his self esteem.
Thus, the above points lead to low self esteem and must be avoided and erased for a life of confidence and respect for self. As Eleanor Roosevelt quotes, ” No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” So keep your chin up and knock away the evils of insecurity and worthlessness.