Self-esteem is a state of mind. How you feel about yourself; your confidence and self-satisfaction. It is how you perceive yourself, your worth and the value you place on yourself. Hence, low self-esteem, is when you undervalue yourself, when you look at yourself in the mirror and what you see is less than what you are.
Causes of Low self-esteem
1. Past experiences: This has to do with what we have been through while growing up such as body shamed, bullied or abused (sexually, physically or emotionally). Most of these past experiences leave impressions that are far lasting than we know. A child that grew up body shamed won’t likely be comfortable with his body and has tendencies to be very shy. Also a child that was abused while growing up would be scared of allowing people into his/her personal space, as such have difficulties with relationships and often always defensive.
2. Bad Parenting: Parenting is an integral part of what makes us who we are. Good parenting would boost the chances of a child becoming successful by over 90%. Parents that shout down their kids, bully them in the name of correcting them and don’t allow their kids to speak freely would end up with children with low self-esteem. The child becomes scared to talk in public, finds it difficult to air his opinion, the child becomes very shy, not comfortable around adults and always want validation for everything.
3. Peer Pressure: Peer pressure can make you feel very unworthy. Social media, peer groups, parents peer group all these can heap pressure on anyone and make one feel he/she is not doing enough and if you allow these thoughts to fester, it can kill one’s self esteem. You see your mates wearing designers, you immediately become conscious of what you are wearing, because you feel you can’t meet up with their standard you begin to avoid social engagements before you know it you start withdrawing into your shell. Same way if your friends are in relationship and you are not, you start feeling like the odd one, you start thinking “oh I am ugly or I am underserving”, gradually killing your self-esteem.
4. Your thought process: Now, I know someone of us can overthink things. I am not saying this is not good, many breakthroughs have come from well-crafted thoughts, however if the thoughts are not well-crafted or are laden with negative pressures then it can be very detrimental to ours self-esteem. A colleague jokingly calls you crazy and you start overthinking it, “those it mean I am mad? Does it mean I am awkward? Does it mean this is what everyone thinks of me? And before you know it you start avoiding people, you become too conscious of people’s reaction and side talks. When people laugh and stop laugh when you entered you just conclude they are talking about you, there my friend is overthinking killing your self-esteem
How it affects us
The worst part is most people suffering from low self-esteem don’t even agree that is their problem. Often, they believe the issue is the people around them, the fact that the world is cruel, and people are evil. However, your world (your success, relationship people and how you impact on others) is strictly up to you and how you carry yourself.
The truth is we are all gifted, unique in our own way and an important part of the big jigsaw. It is our duty to embark on that adventure called life, to discover that special light within us. No holds barred, no limiting ourselves because of our gender, colour of skin, past experiences, what we have been through, how people treat us, their perception of us or our background.
Instead, we beat ourselves up for the mistakes we have made, the errors of someone else in their relationship with us, the bad manners of some people or poor parenting from those who raised us and we conclude we are unworthy, we should not move on, we are not fit to coexist with the rest of the world, basically we are not good enough. Ironical we suffer twice by lowering our self-esteem and life expectations because of what was not majorly our fault.
We become a liability, that extra luggage that worries about everything. We literally lack in everything because we have placed ourselves far below what God has planned for us.
How to know you have low self-esteem
1. You believe every negative thing; discussions, jokes, pranks, side comments etc is about you
2. You are always defensive, you believe every comment directed at you is a criticism
3. You avoid conflict or face off with people because you already admitted you are inferior to them
4. You are always eager to please people so they won’t point out your inadequacies. You become a people pleaser
5. You apologize for everything, even when you want to ask a simple question e.g. SORRY please what’s your name? Every statement with you starts with SORRY
6. You are always afraid. Scared to talk, scared to meet new faces, scared to try new things, scared scared scared.
7. You live fantasies in your head you are too afraid to actualize because you feel you cannot do exceptional things, you somehow deep down see yourself as a failure
8. You can’t say NO! You are always at the beck and call of people because they have seen you want to please them at all cost, so they just take advantage.
9. You become susceptible to Loneliness, depressing thoughts, suicidal thoughts, being anti-social and other insecurity issues.
How to Get your Groove Back
a. Identify and admit you have a problem that needs to be solved. A problem can’t be solved till one admits it exists, only then can conscious efforts be made to become better.
b. Forgive anyone and everyone who have affected you negatively, this includes parents, friends, bully, abuser, accusers etc. just let it go and feel the freshness of wanting to start afresh with a clean slate.
c. Forgive yourself for past errors on your part. Understand that you are human and making mistakes, no matter how costly they are, is part of living.
d. Positive vibes only; in your thoughts, from people around you (pick only the positives from what they say), from stuffs you read, music, tv shows, incidents etc. Only the positives. Declare yourself “positive vibes only”.
e. Indulge yourself, have fun, try new things don’t be afraid to make mistakes, don’t be afraid to fail. Make friends, be around people, just be your self. Remember, not everyone will like it but it is okay (the door is not closed they can leave), people who are good for your new found energy would stay.
e. Finally, understand it is a process and it would take time. So give yourself time to grow out of low self-esteem and become who God as destined you for.
By The TYshow Crew
Omotayo, Oluwatoyin and Oreoluwa