Are you subconsciously sabotaging your own self esteem? Brisbane Counselling Professional, Corey Human, examines some of the most common self esteem killers …
Low self-esteem can be defined as feeling bad about oneself and lacking confidence.
People who have low self esteem generally feel unlovable, awkward and not capable of doing anything. Furthermore, people with low self esteem are hypersensitive and have a very fragile sense of self, that causes them to be easily hurt by others (Psychalive).
Signs of low self esteem include:
- Lack of boundaries;
- Putting others down;
- Social withdrawal;
- Physical symptoms (Schmitt).
There are a number of thoughts and habits which could be having a negative impact on you; the most common self esteem killers include:
- Overthinking. Overthinking a situation can make you worry, and as a result the situation appears worse than it really is.
- Being surrounded by negative people. It is never good to be surrounded by negative people. Be careful who you surround yourself with on a daily basis; people who are constantly negative will drag you down.
- Negative self-talk. Don’t tell yourself that you are not good enough or smart enough. If you keep saying that to yourself, you will end up believing it. Be aware of your self-talk.
- Keeping record of your failures. We all fail sometimes at what we do, so it’s important to not keep beating yourself up over it. Remember, “The only person who never failed is the person who never tried”.
- Self-sabotage. One of the ways to self-sabotage is to engage in negative self-talk or believing untruths about yourself and your abilities (Daskal).
Parents and teachers can also play a big role in the self esteem of children. In counselling, many of the self esteem issues clients struggle with, originate from their childhood. The counsellor can help with identifying and then dealing with, the origins of these issues.
Parents: Beware these Self Esteem Killers
Here is a list of some of the mistakes parents make, that can cause a child to have low self esteem.
- Comparing a child to a sibling or other children. Sometimes parents compare one child to another in the hope of instilling the positive traits that one child has, in the other. Unfortunately, it can have the reverse result and the child starts to feel inadequate and worthless.
- Continuously focusing on the child’s mistakes. To makes mistakes is part of growing up; childhood is a time to explore and try new things. By continually focusing on the child’s mistakes, could result in that child no longer trying, or taking risks – which can be carried right into adulthood.
- Telling the child his dreams and plans are impossible to achieve. Some children’s dreams and goals are very different and radical. Although parents would like to steer their children in the “right” direction, according to them, often the result of the parent’s intervention is that the child will settle for a more average and safe career. However the child ends up not only unhappy, but unable to trust their own instincts.
- Never praising the child. Children need praise, it allows them to assess their own behaviour. People who did not receive praise as children sometimes struggle in adult life to trust their own instincts, and are less motivated to attempt new ventures.
- Demanding blind obedience. Some parents believe that their word is law and it is written in stone. They want to control all aspects of their child’s life and feel threatened if the child shows any form of individualism. Children who were raised by parents who are authoritarians might become timid and submissive adults; they become very passive and believe they don’t have anything of value to offer, and constantly feel powerless (Williams, 2016).
- Helping the child too much. Children learn from their mistakes, so let your child try things and fail. Doing things for your child can have a negative influence on the child’s self esteem.
- Not giving the child a voice. Some parents believe they are always right, and do not allow the child to come up with solutions and plans. Children, like adults, need to feel they are heard. Ideally, parents should create an environment where the child feels heard; otherwise the child may believe they have nothing of value to add to any conversation or situation (Witmer).
Parents generally do not intentionally harm their children, but their actions could nonetheless have a negative impact on the child even into their adult life. These are just a few examples of self-esteem killers, there are many more, such as experiencing some form of trauma.
Counselling can be a valuable tool to overcome issues relating to low self esteem, as it can enable you to not only explore your feelings, but also work out ways to deal with them. Your counsellor can help you with identifying possible causes, as well as providing you with specific strategies and activities to boost self-esteem so that you can overcome these issues.
Author: Corey Human, B Th (Hons), M Counselling, Dip Youth Work, Dip Youth Justice, Dip Couns, Dip Pentecostal Theology, Dip Ministry. Member of PACFA and CCAA.
Corey Human has nearly 20 years’ experience working with teenagers and young people at risk, or struggling with self esteem, depression, video game addiction and other problems. He provides counselling to adolescents, adults, couples, parents and families in both English and Afrikaans.
To make an appointment try Online Booking. Alternatively, you can call M1 Psychology Brisbane on (07) 3067 9129
- Daskal L N.D. 12 confidence killers you need to stop doing right now. https://www.inc.com/lolly-daskal/12-confident-killers-you-need-to-stop-doing-right-now.html
- Heatherton TF & Wyland CL N.D. , Assessing Self-esteem, http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.455.9468&rep=rep1&type=pdf
- Psychalive, Low Self-esteem: What does it mean to lack self-esteem? https://www.psychalive.org/low-self-esteem/
- Schmitt, C. 8 Signs of Low Self-esteem. https://wondermomwannabe.com/8-signs-of-low-self-esteem/
- Standford, R. Conformity the self-esteem killer. http://reydonstanford.com/id54.html
- Williams, G.M. 2016, Ten Ways Parents Destroy Their Children’s Self-esteem. https://wehavekids.com/parenting/Ten-Ways-Parents-Destroy-Their-Childrens-Self-Esteem
- Witmer S.A. The Biggest self-esteem killers parents dish out. http://dailyparent.com/articles/the-biggest-self-esteem-killers-parents-dish-out/