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what is it, symptoms, treatment and tips

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By Thais Regina

On 21.07.21

Many believe that low self-esteem is only related to physical appearance, but this is not true. This is a delicate subject and it interferes with many aspects of a person’s life. To go deeper into the topic, we spoke with psychologist Karyne Santiago (CRP 06/161451), who explained more details about the subject.

What is it and low self-esteem

Karyne explains that “when we talk about self-esteem, we are talking about how each person sees themselves, within their individuality, characteristics and capabilities.” Low self-esteem concerns the negative aspects felt and/or perceived by the individual in relation to himself, the lack of self-esteem and difficulty in self-acceptance.

“It’s almost as if a person’s mind focused only on the not-so-good characteristics, making them believe that they are inferior or incapable, which generates a lot of insecurity and emotional suffering”, says the psychologist.

However, she clarifies that low self-esteem is different from times when we are not so comfortable with our self-perception or self-image, or even situations that generate insecurity in our daily lives. “The individual who has low self-esteem tends to see himself derogatory regardless of the situation,” says Karyne.

How does low self-esteem develop?

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The psychologist explains that the development of self-esteem, whether low or high, is based on each person’s life experiences, especially during childhood and adolescence. This is because, in these phases, the individual is still learning to perceive himself as a unique being based on his relationship with the other.

“Explaining in a simpler way, a child or adolescent who often receives praise, who feels welcomed in their family environment, who is not neglected, who receives the necessary affection and education, tends to have better self-esteem than those who they are constantly criticized, who undergo frequent punishment, who receive a strict education, who undergo physical or verbal abuse, among other things”, says the professional.

Karyne also adds saying that these experiences can also change the feeling of self-esteem in adult life, whether in a love relationship, in the family, with friends and even at work. Furthermore, there may be impacts on self-perception in face of the social and cultural idealization of some situations, such as in the case of motherhood, marriage and beauty standards.

10 symptoms to watch out for

Now that you understand how low self-esteem can develop, how about learning about the most common symptoms of those who suffer from it? Check out what Karyne explained below:

  • Feeling of insecurity: faced with the constant feeling of inferiority and inability to perform tasks, the individual often feels insecure in the face of situations.
  • Excessive shyness: individuals with low self-esteem tend to be extremely shy, due to insecurity. “They’re more introverted people, and they don’t like to show up because of their constant fear of making mistakes,” says Karyne.
  • Difficulty receiving reviews: even in the face of constructive criticism, the person with low self-esteem tends to view the comment negatively, highlighting their weaknesses and defects and reinforcing the feeling of incapacity.
  • Rigid self-collection: “because of the feeling of insecurity, the person with low self-esteem is always demanding himself to do his best, and as a result, he unconsciously punishes himself if things are going to go perfect” explains the psychologist.
  • Exaltation of their own defects: “People tend to make derogatory comments to themselves, highlighting their shortcomings and weaknesses,” says Karyne.
  • Constant comparison to other people: always putting himself in a position of inferiority or questioning himself why he is like that, besides emphasizing the qualities of the other.
  • Fear of rejection: Karyne reports that the person with low self-esteem “is always anxious to be in new places, or with new people, for fear of not being accepted.”
  • Constant search for recognition: “the person tends to try to please everyone around him, often putting himself in a position of submission, for fear of rejection”, says the expert.
  • He hardly feels satisfied with his achievements: from a completed task to a personal achievement, a person with low self-esteem tends to find fault with everything they do. “It’s a constant feeling of dissatisfaction related to self-restraint and negative self-perception,” completes the psychologist.
  • Fear of facing challenges: “precisely because of the feeling of insecurity and fear of rejection, the individual has great difficulty in facing daily challenges, such as starting a new job, for example”, concludes Karyne.

As we have seen, low self-esteem causes damage that goes beyond physical appearance, ranging from generating excessive shyness in a person to making them feel inferior and afraid to face new challenges. Knowing all these consequences, let’s check out initial tips that can help those who suffer from this problem.

7 tips that help raise self-esteem

The psychologist reinforces “that, before giving tips, it is important to say that it is not so simple to change the way we see ourselves. Self-esteem refers to a construction of self-perception, and there is no step-by-step step to deconstruct the old vision and create a new one”.

Therefore, the importance of a psychotherapeutic follow-up, which will investigate the causes in a unique way and will help in the process of self-knowledge, clarifying individual issues. Karyne comments, however, that in this case, the tips work as an “alert” of behaviors and situations that may be contributing to low self-esteem.

1. Quit the habit of comparing yourself

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Recognize the beauty of individuality, no one is like anyone else. “We each have strengths and weaknesses, strengths and weaknesses and that’s amazing. When we compare ourselves and realize that we don’t have a trait like a certain person, we tend to feel inferior to that person, and we fail to see our own positive traits,” says Karyne.

2. Don’t be so rigid with yourself

We are all subject to error and it is okay to err. Forgive yourself for mistakes, and don’t give up on yourself.

3. Develop your self-knowledge

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Self-knowledge is essential for building self-esteem. Karyne comments that “when we learn deeply who we are, what our strengths are, our goals and desires, we also learn to stop overcharging ourselves.”

4. Don’t blame yourself so much

The feeling of guilt is closely related to low self-esteem. “When we feel guilty about something, the tendency is to put ourselves in a position of inferiority, precisely because of self-demanding”, explains the professional.

5. Exercise self-care

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Whether physical or emotional, value yourself. Perceive yourself as someone in need of care, love and affection and do it for yourself.

6. Try to focus on your positive aspects

Everyone has some quality, and in this sense it is important to emphasize that quality is different from a “superpower”. “Discover your potentials and capabilities and focus on them. This can give you back a feeling of security,” Karyne comments.

7. Stay away from people who put you down

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Although self-esteem is related to the view of oneself, some negative comments and criticisms can alter self-perception. “Watch out for people with abusive behavior or unpleasant comments, and if necessary, stay away”, concludes the psychologist.

As the professional reinforced, these are initial tips for those who have problems with self-esteem, but it is important to understand that this is a delicate issue and that it is necessary to seek psychological help to treat it.

When should I seek professional help?

Low self-esteem can affect a person’s experiences, in addition to causing a lot of emotional distress. Its treatment is based on self-knowledge and the development of a feeling of self-love and self-confidence.

“For this, it is always recommended that the person seek professional help. Psychotherapeutic follow-up will help with important questions about self-perception and the experiences of each person, in addition to taking care of emotional health” explains the psychologist.

In addition, Karyne concludes by saying that low self-esteem may be related to some disorders, such as depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, panic disorder, among others, which demand psychological assessment and monitoring.

Low self-esteem is a serious thing, so it is important to seek help from a professional to investigate the causes and have the appropriate treatment. Did you like the tips? So, take the time to read and discover suggestions to practice more self-love.

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