24 November 2008
Low self–esteem and lack of confidence can hold us back from achieving many things. It can also be detrimental to our physical and emotional wellbeing. The level of our self–esteem has profound consequences on every aspect of our existence – how we operate at our workplace, how we deal with people, how high we are likely to rise and how much we are likely to achieve.
The reasons for low self–esteem often begin during childhood. Even the most confident of adolescents can grow up to experience low self–esteem and start to feel unworthy. Adult life can be tough and it can sometimes feel like the ‘survival of the fittest’. And, we’re all, at some point, going to bump into people who will try to belittle us.
Low self–esteem is best described as having a low opinion of oneself (either consciously or subconsciously), and feelings of being ‘worthless’. Yet the subject has not received the kind of attention that it deserves. Unless our self–esteem plummets to the extent that we can no longer handle our lives effectively.
Low self–esteem can be well understood by the examples cited below:
Neha, a 24–year–old girl, is an MBA graduate who is working with a well–known firm, hailing from a well–educated family. Since the past few months, she has been facing problems with colleagues at workplace and also having tiffs with her younger sister. She often complains of mood swings and, at times, becomes snappish. Her sister describes her as being indifferent.
An introvert by nature, Neha is hardworking and dedicated at work. She is of wheatish complexion and has conventional looks. During a session of counselling, it was unearthed that, as a child, she was compared to her sister
who was fair and attractive. She developed low self–esteem at a younger age and that was aggravated since her parents were looking for a suitable groom for her.
Characteristics of Low Self–Esteem
- General lack of participation.
- Negative responses to questions.
- Sluggish physical behaviour.
- Excessive use of activities for escapism (TV, videos, internet, reading). Be careful of overanalysing here as this alone is not an indicator.
- Aggressive or argumentative behaviour.
- Unwillingness to try anything new (anything from new food through to goal setting).
- Inability to say no (need to be liked/loved by others by saying yes).
- Need to prove self worth and ‘status’ by boasting, making public claims about capabilities (whether true or false).
- Low self–esteem has been correlated with low life satisfaction, loneliness, anxiety, resentment, irritability and depression.
How to improve your self–esteem and boost your confidence
Firstly, you need to become more accepting of yourself and to realise that nobody is perfect and that we all make mistakes from time to time, and that this is natural and perfectly acceptable.
Recognise your Talents
Another method of boosting self–confidence is to recognise talents, abilities and good qualities. Constantly remind ourselves of these and to give ourselves a pat on the back whenever we are able to utilise those abilities and qualities for the benefit of ourselves and others.
Never shy away from risks. You can end up stifling your own personal development and become more afraid to take risks if you perpetually do the same thing over and over again, because it’s something you know that works. Life is an evolutionary process and things change all the time. For you to become confident, it’s crucial that you try out new experiences and embrace challenges and risks and see them as an opportunity for growth as opposed to something to be frightened of.
Don’t judge yourself by competing with others. Everyone’s different. Some of us can jump higher than others, some of us can spell better, but it’s important that we only aspire to do and to be the best that we can and not to compare ourselves with the achievements of others.
Consult a Physician
If the above techniques do not seem to work, then see a counsellor or a physician who can guide on further treatment. Low self–esteem if untreated can lead to psychological problems too.
Neha, with counselling sessions and homoeopathic treatment was not only treated from skin allergy, but regained her self–esteem.she is being appreciated at work for her hard work and at home for her talents.
Dr. Yatri Thacker
(Homoeopathy physician and stress counsellor)