3 Signs of Low Self-Esteem

In the spirit of Women’s History Month, I want to acknowledge the outstanding women leaders I have the opportunity to serve and support as they change work environments and the world through the hard work and decisions they make daily.

Many of my readers already know that I work with military populations and have the privilege of helping leaders in the armed forces to show up at their best mentally so they can lead more effectively. What I have discovered over the years as a licensed therapist is that succeeding on the outside doesn’t necessarily mean we are succeeding on the inside in the area of our mental and emotional health. I have noticed that many professional women struggle with their self-confidence and self-esteem.

Self-esteem is an individual’s subjective evaluation and perception of their worth, value, and capabilities. It involves the feelings, thoughts, and beliefs about oneself, influencing how one approaches life, handles challenges, and interacts with others.

High self-esteem typically correlates with a positive self-image, confidence, and resilience. In contrast, low self-esteem may contribute to self-doubt, insecurity, and difficulties in navigating various aspects of life. Cultivating healthy self-esteem involves recognizing one’s strengths, embracing imperfections, and fostering a positive and realistic self-perception.

Often, women may not realize that they grapple with self-esteem challenges simply because they are unfamiliar with the signs. The subtle indicators go unnoticed, and the need for improvement remains unacknowledged. In today’s discussion, let’s shed light on identifying these signs, offering insights into when your self-esteem might benefit from a thoughtful tune-up.

Here are three signs that your self-esteem may need a boost.

1 | Self-criticism involves how you think, feel, and speak about yourself. It’s an inner dialogue of negative self-talk that impacts mental and emotional health. Here are a few examples of self-critical statements:

  • “I’ll never be as beautiful as she is.”
  • “I never do anything right.”
  • “Everyone at work thinks I’m an idiot.”
  • “I’m a failure.”

Negative self-talk is one of the biggest offenders regarding low self-esteem, mainly because you can’t get away from yourself.

SELF-ESTEEM TIP: One way to improve self-criticism and negative self-talk is to commit to talking to yourself like you would talk to a best friend. Your relationship with you is just as meaningful as the relationships with those around you. If you wouldn’t say it to your best friend, don’t say it to yourself.

2 | Comparing yourself to others is another sign of low self-esteem. You feel as if you must measure up to an external standard of beauty or level of accomplishment. You believe that if you don’t live up to that standard, then you are a failure. You may find yourself looking at what other women are doing, seeing them as better than you, and then deciding not to move forward with an idea or goal.

SELF-ESTEEM TIP–One way to resist the urge to compare yourself to others is to recognize and validate your strengths. See yourself as your competition versus competing with other women. Embrace your uniqueness and the purpose only your “different” can bring to the world. Instead of comparing, gain inspiration from the success of other women and believe that your unique blessing is on the way.

3 | Fear of failure is another sign that your self-esteem needs a boost. Fear keeps many of us from moving forward on our goals, ideas, projects, programs, and dreams. Sometimes it’s fear of failure, at others it’s fear of judgment. Either way, those fears are connected to low self-esteem and a belief that we are not capable, worthy, or powerful enough to face our challenges.

SELF-ESTEEM TIP–To conquer your fear of failure, you must face it. The best way to face it is to do it afraid. Get up on that stage and speak, even if your voice shakes. Launch that program and advertise it, even if no one shows up. Ask for that raise, even if it’s denied.

Fear only has power if we allow it to rule on the throne of our lives.

I hope these tips were helpful. If you find yourself needing more assistance, ask for it. Your self-esteem and what it means for your life are worth it.

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