Some of the low self-esteem signs are quite visible, while others may be more difficult to see - but all can cause further damage if emotional development and self-esteem are not nurtured and raised to a higher level.
Guilt is one of the most common signs. Misplaced feelings of failure and guilt over perceived lack of responsibility is a hallmark of low self-esteem. It is very hard for many individuals to let go of guilt and stop torturing themselves.
Shame is another biggie. People may feel that they are 'awful', 'disgusting', 'weird', 'stupid', 'ugly', ‘clumsy’, etc and especially that they are unworthy of love. This is a warning sign of low self-esteem and can usually indicate a poor self image as well. Often these feelings are accompanied with a belief that they are unique in how awful they are and that no-one else has near as many problems as they do.
Fear can be paralyzing for those with low self-esteem - most common is fear of ‘screwing up’ or doing something wrong or having people laugh at them. These individuals fear making mistakes, upsetting others, getting sick, not having possessions that compare with their peers or not living up to the expectations of other people. They fear being gossiped about, having secrets exposed, not being liked, being labeled, being hurt, having to take responsibility for their life and any type of change. They even flinch from being themselves, because of fear that people they love or wish to impress will turn away from them.
Perfectionism is another common trait, stemming from fear of failure or letting someone down. Often these individuals try to not only do things perfectly, but to be a perfect person. True self confidence means an acceptance of self, and no desire to be anyone else.
Lack of trust is a very sad indicator of low self-esteem - it likens one to a dog which has been kicked too many times, and has now accepted that that is all it is good for. Sadly, this means that these people never find out any different or that others have experienced similar things and survived and become strong. They feel hopeless and isolated.
Depression is another huge red flag - self-pity and negative thoughts of the past without any ability to get past them, an over willingness to abdicate responsibility and feelings of regret, anger or hurt that do not effect change are useless. Feelings should be examined and dealt with and the focus placed on moving forward.
Poor attitude can be a benchmark of poor self-esteem. A person who sees the cup as half empty can be unconsciously mirroring their true feelings about themselves. A negative world image and poor self image are connected.
Idolization of others can show a poor self image and lead to even worse self-esteem the individual may constantly compare themselves negatively with their idol. This is especially common in teens, as they may feel inadequate when stacked up against the popular kids or sports figures or swimsuit models.
The key to changing negative thoughts and recognizing low self-esteem signs is to consciously make the decision to feel better about oneself and actively work toward that goal.
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