Low self-esteem is often underplayed because it is mostly mistaken for humility and meekness or being introverted or antisocial, but having low self-esteem is damaging to a person’s psychological wellbeing and even more ruinous is the fact that people barely recognize they have it especially in a society like ours where people are constantly bullied into submissiveness. So when they exhibit traits of low self-esteem, it is easily misconstrued as being “modest”.
The reason you feel inadequate to take up tasks or doubt your ability to ascend a position at your workplace, find it hard to speak in meetings with assumed “intellectuals”, underprice your services, and mostly perceive compliments as sarcasm is because you most likely suffer from low self-esteem. There has probably been a time someone complimented your outfit, makeup, physique or work, but you assumed they are being ironical, or times when you are unsure about your skin, your appearance or the potency of your work and will only feel better after someone else has approved or validated it. These are lingering signs of self-doubt which stems from low self-esteem.
It results when your inner critics prevail. It involves imagining the worst that other people think of you and judging yourself based on that. Usually, people with low self-esteem tend to be hypersensitive. They have a fragile sense of self that can easily be wounded by others. They are hypervigilant to signs of rejection, inadequacy, and rebuff and will constantly see rejection and disapproval even when there is none.
Of all the consequences of low self-esteem, the most common is its propensity to lead to imposter syndrome -the persistent feeling that you do not belong to a position or class, and inability to believe that your success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of your efforts or skills. This is because a person who perpetually thinks they are inadequate and not good enough will barely feel they are deserving of any good thing that comes their way.
When this is the case, they are plunged by their imposter syndrome to remain stagnant in a place they feel they are suited for as opposed to accepting titles and higher positions they think they do not belong in. This creates limitation, impedes career growth, hampers leadership and management in an organization, restricts innovation, and risk-taking as well as affect the mental health of such individual.
Rosenberg and Owen had said that having low self-esteem is to live a life of misery. So, to escape that misery, there is a need for you to overcome low self-esteem. It starts with getting comfortable with everything about you including your insecurities. It is when you are comfortable with yourself that you will have less need to seek approval or validation from others to feel good enough or up to standard. What the superior man seeks is in himself; what the small man seeks is in others. Train yourself to be the superior man.
Secondly, you need to surround yourself with the right people. What we see and hear about ourselves significantly affects our self-esteem. And, sometimes, those things may have a permanent effect. Rather than surround yourself with perfectionist who pinpoints your imperfection, surround yourself with people who make you feel good about yourself. Be intentional about familiarizing yourself with self-confident people, because that trait will inevitably rub off on you.
Also, Acknowledge where you need change. Identify those things that make you feel less about yourself and seek ways to improve on them. We all have flaws; however, if you don’t recognize and acknowledge where you need change, it can keep you stuck in a rut of poor self-esteem, which will only get worse the more you try to run from it. As you begin to improve on yourself, make positive affirmations a habit. Words are change agents, and nothing is as powerful as words you speak over yourself.
Low self-esteem banishes self-confidence, whereas self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings. If you must achieve greatness, you need to understand that building your self-esteem is vital because until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.