Reducing harmful self-criticism from your ‘inner critic’
Low self-esteem can become a self-perpetuating problem, as it leads people to predict failure, not try new things (and possibly succeed), and distort the feedback they get for their performance – only seeing shortfalls instead of successes. These effects can extend into all areas of life, including work, self-care, relationships and recreation. In addition, it can be associated with problems such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders and other issues.
Signs and Effects of Low Self-Esteem
Some of the signs of low self-esteem include:
- negative self-talk and being critical of yourself
- blaming yourself
- placing focus on your negatives, ignoring your achievements
- thinking other people are better than you
- anxiety and avoidance due to fear of failing
- becoming overly upset by criticism
- feeling sad, ashamed, angry or worthless.
A possible negative effect of low self-esteem is relationship issues. People with low self-esteem can get quite upset about constructive feedback or criticism and, as a result, avoid doing things or situations where they think they may be judged or compared with other people, leading them to isolate or withdraw from people.
Low self-esteem can also lead people to have body image issues, and substance abuse as a way to feel better or fit in a social group.
Ways to Build Self-Esteem
Building self-esteem starts with understanding where the problems developed. Following this, treatment with a psychologist can include working on: