Tuesday, April 16, 2024


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Illustration: Eleni Kastrinoyannis

Low self-esteem makes life difficult in many ways and takes a toll on the personality. Learn to recognize her through 7 clues and work to recover her in the ways we suggest.

Self-esteem is an integral part of a happy and successful life. It is the silent power that allows you to trust your abilities, make decisions, face fears and take risks.

Although self-esteem is often confused with self-confidence , the two concepts are not identical. Self-esteem is cultivated as you grow up in the family and is the inner voice that tells you I can do this , even when the odds are against you. It is the belief that you can overcome obstacles and achieve your goals, no matter how big or small they may be.

What is self-esteem and how do you know if you have it?

Self-esteem is not a mere trait, nor a state of mind. It is a skill that is constantly evolving and is like a journey of self-discovery , self-improvement and self-acceptance.

It’s about understanding our strengths and weaknesses, accepting our uniqueness and striving to be the best version of ourselves. It is standing with your head held high, not with arrogance, but with humility and gratitude for what you are and what you are becoming.


Low self-esteem

Illustration: Eleni Kastrinoyannis


Psychologist Natalia Koutroulis states: “The acquisition of self-esteem is based on the early experiences  of the individual’s close family and social context, as he develops his personality during the first years of his life. At the same time, each person’s unique temperament contributes significantly to this process. The gradation of self-esteem from high to low levels determines the  individual’s functionality and mental harmony .’

So, while self-esteem for some seems to come naturally and very naturally , at the same time for others it is a skill that needs to be cultivated and developed. It requires patience, practice and persistence .

If you’re wondering how much self-esteem you have, the following clues will help you find out. If the following situations sound familiar to you, then you belong to the group of people with low self-esteem, but this need not scare you. Next to each clue, there is a way to work on this skill and cultivate it so that you can literally change your life.

7 Signs of Low Self-Esteem

1. You feel like you can’t do the things you want to do

If you feel this way, it’s official: you don’t have confidence in your abilities. And unfortunately this can be a big obstacle in your life. It’s important to remember that everyone starts somewhere and that it’s OK not to be perfect .

To overcome this, start by setting small, achievable goals. It could even be completing a task. Gradually, as you achieve these goals, raise the bar a little higher. Realize that you have potential and don’t forget to celebrate your achievements.

Rewarding yourself has significant benefits in building self-esteem. By gradually believing more in your abilities, you will be able to take on greater challenges.

2. You constantly worry about what other people think

Low self-esteem often manifests as a constant feeling of inadequacy or self-doubt. This can come from a variety of factors, such as past failures, negative experiences, or harsh criticism.

To address it, it’s important to recognize that everyone has a unique mix of strengths and weaknesses. No one is perfect and it’s OK not to excel at everything. Practicing self-love and acceptance is a vital step towards improving self-esteem. Start by recognizing your achievements, no matter how small, and appreciating your efforts.

Don’t neglect activities that you enjoy and that make you feel good about yourself. Don’t let any negative thoughts affect you, be sure to challenge them. Finally, choose people who lift you up and encourage you .

3. You feel like your past defines you

Clinging to past mistakes or failures often leads to a cycle of self-doubt and low self-esteem. These negative feelings can hinder your ability to move forward and take advantage of new opportunities.

Keeping in mind that everyone makes mistakes and has failures , learn to forgive yourself. Banish guilt and shame associated with past mistakes. Review these “mistakes” and see them as valuable learning opportunities that contributed to your development. They were not defining moments, but stepping stones on your journey. Practicing mindfulness can help you focus on the present.

4. You have a hard time enforcing your boundaries

Having trouble saying no or standing up for yourself is a sign of low self-esteem. If you even begin to feel like the victim that everyone is taking advantage of, this can have further effects on your self-esteem.

To combat this, it’s important to practice boundaries and positioning yourself. It is important to express your thoughts, beliefs and needs in a firm and respectful manner to others and to yourself.

Start politely saying no to things you don’t want to do, without fear of losing your friends . Putting yourself first doesn’t mean you’re selfish. It means you take care of your mental and emotional well-being.

5. You have difficulty making your own choices

Lack of confidence in your judgment often manifests as indecisiveness or over-reliance on the opinions of others. This can limit your personal growth and decision-making ability to a significant extent.

To deal with it, start trusting your gut . Intuition is a powerful tool that can guide you in your decision-making, while at the same time you will practice making small and painless decisions.

Mistakes are part of the learning process. If a decision turns out to be wrong, see it as a learning opportunity, not a failure. Confidence is built through repeated practice and experiences. Don’t avoid them.

6. You blame yourself for the slightest thing

This is because you focus on mistakes and failures and judge yourself and others harshly . Two things will help you overcome it. First, practice self-compassion, but also compassion for others. We’ve said it before: we all make mistakes, but that doesn’t mean anything about our quality.

Second, keep a list of your accomplishments. You can start with small things, such as denying a friend something, or cooking a delicious meal, or even managing to stay focused on your work for an hour. Nothing is a fact. But it is important to record your achievements every day.

7. You’re constantly apologizing

Constantly apologizing is a sign that you have a need to please others. This behavior often results from a fear of rejection or a desire to avoid conflict. Look for the causes that may have led you here. What role did your family environment or sense of threat play?

After identifying the root causes, be sure to gradually recognize your own worth. Remind yourself that you don’t have to please everyone all the time. It is important to understand that you have the right to express your feelings and opinions and that your voice is just as important as anyone else’s.

Some useful tips if you have low self-esteem

The  American psychiatrist  Daniel G. Amen MD, based on his experience of sessions with his patients, has come to the following conclusion: The #1 tip to immediately boost your self-esteem is to stop comparing yourself to others .

Reclaiming self-esteem is a journey, not a destination. It takes patience, practice and self-compassion. If you are struggling, don’t hesitate to seek professional help from a mental health professional.

Professionals can provide strategies and tools to boost your self-esteem. Remember that every step you take to boost your self-esteem is a step towards a happier, more fulfilling life.

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