The Negative Effects of Low Self-Esteem

low self-esteemIn this day and age, there is an epidemic of low self-esteem that affects most aspects of our daily lives—from how we think about ourselves to how we view and react to situations.[1] Whether the negative influences that lower our self-esteem come from within or from external sources, it affects us greatly, as well as the experiences we have in life.1

Over time, low self-esteem can substantially reduce our quality of life in many different ways.1 Left to continue withering, it can lead to mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, which can have some pretty tragic results.1

But what causes low self-esteem? Many things; however, clinical psychologist Dr. Lars Madsen believes it is traced back to dysfunctional early years.1 Dysfunction can be due to ongoing stressful life events, relationship breakdowns, financial troubles, poor treatment from a caretaker, being bullied, or being abused.1

Our lives are full of obstacles and advantages, ups and downs.1 We are plainly aware that many things cause us to doubt ourselves, and one can only say “I can’t do this,” so many times before they really falsely believe they can’t.1

Psychiatrist Dr. Kevin Solomons states that our self-esteem system motivates us to make healthy and constructive life decisions, but, just like any other system, can go wrong.1 When it does, it can cause us to make self-destructive decisions instead, such as tolerating mistreatment of harming ourselves by using drugs, becoming promiscuous, developing eating disorders, and more.1 Low self-esteem also motivates us to cause harm to others (bullying, verbal and physical abuse, cheating, etc.).1 We wish others to feel the pain of our own worthlessness.1

However, if you believe in yourself, you can battle low self-esteem.1 We often place too much emphasis and credibility on the negativity that surrounds us daily.1 Truthfully, how we view our own life and life events has the most profound effect on our self-esteem.1 It is the inner belief in ourselves that guides us on our life’s journey.1 Negative beliefs keep us trapped in negative environments.1 Once we begin to believe in ourselves, we will discover that although we cannot change past experiences, we can change how we think about them and influence future ones.1

Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl said, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”1

[1] Venzin, E. (2014). How Does Low Self-Esteem Negatively Affect You?. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 6, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/03/01/how-does-low-self-esteem-negatively-affect-you/

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