4 Psychological Reasons You Have Low Self-Esteem
Low self-esteem is one of the most common emotional health issues people face.
Unfortunately, many of the tips and tricks you hear about for improving your self-esteem either aren’t really helpful or even make things worse. For example, simply rehearsing unrealistically positive statements about yourself or the future — a form of “toxic positivity” — can actually make you feel worse in the long run.
If you really want to feel better about yourself, you need to address the core issues creating low self-esteem in the first place.
In my work as a psychologist, I’ve seen 4 core psychological drivers of low self-esteem that are the most common. Work to address these and your natural self-esteem will rise.
1. Judgmental self-talk
Imagine that all day, every day, you’re followed around by a grumpy little goblin who does nothing but criticize you, insult you, and tell you how worthless you are.
Now, even if I told you, Listen, nothing this little guy says is actually true about you, so don’t worry, how would you feel if you had to live with someone constantly putting you down, day-in and day-out, at work, at home on vacation, and in your bed at 2:00 am when you can’t sleep?
Pretty terrible, right?
Well, that’s exactly what most people with low self-worth do to themselves! They constantly criticize and judge themselves in their own heads. They tell themselves how worthless they are and how bad everything is. And all this despite knowing intellectually that most of it simply isn’t true.
Whether you actually believe the content of your self-criticism or not, the activity of doing it is killing your self-esteem.
If you want to improve your self-esteem, it’s essential that you stop being overly critical and judgmental of yourself in your own head. Negative self-talk can be an especially difficult habit to break, but at the end of the day it is a habit. And habits can be broken.