Having a low self-esteem is something many people of all ages deal with. While a low self-esteem is not considered a mental health condition itself, the way we think about ourselves directly impacts our mental health and overall well-being.
What is Self-Esteem?
Self-esteem refers to the way people feel about themselves. Someone with a healthy or high self-esteem thinks positively about themselves and their abilities. They believe they are deserving of respect and have no problems setting healthy boundaries.
Individuals with low self-esteems do not feel very good about themselves. They constantly measure and compare themselves against others and always come up short. They may not think they are worthy of love and respect and will typically not set healthy boundaries, and others to take advantage of them.
How Does a Low Self-Esteem Affect Mental Health?
The following are some ways a low self-esteem can impact a person’s mental health:
Human beings are wired for connections. But when we have low self-esteem, we tend to not put ourselves “out there” socially and even tend to isolate, which can lead to poor relationships and loneliness.
Studies have indicated low self-esteem in childhood can lead to addictions later in life. Many individuals use alcohol and other substances as a way to cope with negative feelings about themselves, as if to numb emotional pain or hoping to fast-forward past grief or feelings of anxiety. This may feel good in that moment, but leaves one feeling more empty when the buzz wears off.
Depression and Anxiety
Living with low self-esteem day after day, week after week, can very much take its toll and eventually lead to the development of depression and anxiety. The dark cloud that seemingly used to hang out in our thoughts, can feel like a permanent accessory in our mind.
How to Build Your Self-Esteem
Building self-esteem is important for mental health and to live a happy life. But it’s not necessarily easy to do it. It’s not like losing weight where you can say I am going to eat less and move more.
That is why I recommend working with a trained therapist who specializes in helping people build their self-esteem. A therapist can help you identify your core negative beliefs and determine where they came from. He or she can then help you develop a new, realistic self-esteem that reflects who you truly are.
If you or someone you know is suffering with low self-esteem and would like to explore treatment options, please get in touch with me.