7 Low Self Esteem Symptoms

You may be surprised at some of the low self esteem symptoms that people display. Many qualities that do not seem to be related to self confidence or esteem can be indications of a psychological problem that can lead to unhappiness and dissatisfaction with life.

Here are some of the common low self esteem symptoms that a person may display:

1. Being overly sensitive to criticism from other people

One sign of this sensitivity is excessive defensiveness: a quick and vehement response to the slightest perceived criticism from others. This can take the form of a strong denial that they did the thing they believe they are being accused of (“I did NOT…”), a denial of its importance (“Why shouldn’t I…?”), a counterattack (“Yes, but YOU…”) or some combination of the three.

2. Being very self critical

A person with low self esteem symptoms will put themselves down a lot, usually in speech and always in thought. If people pick up on their spoken self criticism, they will treat this as criticism from the other person (see above) which will only make them feel worse. This is especially true if the other person says something negative like, “Don’t put yourself down.” Therefore, treatment often uses non-verbal prompts.

3. Excessive feelings of guilt

A person with low self esteem will often feel guilty about things that were not their fault, In addition, they feel excessively guilty about small mistakes, ‘sins’, or failures to achieve what are often unrealistic targets (see next symptom).

4. Perfectionism

In order to feel better about themselves, people with low self esteem will try to do things perfectly – or at least, a lot better than other people. Unfortunately, their standards are often so high that they are unachievable, which usually has the opposite effect of making them feel worse about themselves. The smallest mistake or slip from the path can make them feel like a terrible person who will never be able to succeed. They do not see that mistakes and slips are a necessary part of all achievements, great or small.

5. Being indecisive

A person with low self esteem is often very hesitant because they are afraid of making a mistake. Clearly, this is linked to perfectionism. They will often find it difficult to make the simplest decision, like what to eat for dinner, afraid that they will not make the perfect choice. In many cases, they prefer to have others make decisions for them, so that they have somebody else to blame if things turn out badly.

6. Hostility

People with low self esteem symptoms often display what is known as ‘floating hostility’: a general hostile attitude to life and other people. You can often feel this hostility bubbling away, ready to explode at the smallest things (like somebody accidentally jostling you in the street).

7. General negativity

This is one of the best known low self esteem symptoms – a general pessimism about life, a feeling that one’s life and the future will not turn out well, and a reluctance to accept more optimistic outlooks that may be suggested by others.  This aspect of low self esteem is often stressed for humor in fiction: the characters played by Woody Allen in his early films often display the type of pessimism that is associated with low self esteem, as does Eeyore in the Winnie-the-Pooh series of children’s books.

You do not have to have all of these low self esteem symptoms in order to be suffering from the effects of having a negative opinion of yourself.  A person who has any more than half of the signs could probably improve their self esteem with a little training.

If you think that you have low self esteem then it is definitely worth looking for something or somebody to help you. There are plenty of treatment options ranging from self help exercises that you could find in a book or ebook, to expensive psychotherapy. Many studies have shown that people with healthy self esteem are happier than people who are suffering from low self esteem symptoms. Improve your life by taking action today!

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