* I generally write using the pronouns he/him when referring to narcissists, but females are just as likely to be narcissists or exhibit narcissistic traits. So please don't think just because article uses the word him or he that it could not be a woman in that same role.
Understanding the effects of a low self-esteem begins with understanding self-esteem itself. What is it? Why is it so important? And why can its lacking be so damaging?
At the most basic level, self-esteem is the way you think about yourself.
It is the confidence and opinion you have of yourself. Essentially, it is self-respect.
When you have self-respect and a healthy self-esteem, you feel self-confident, purposeful and self-motivated; and when you do not, your self-esteem will suffer.
Over time low self-esteem can reduce the quality of a person’s life in many different ways. If left untreated, low self-esteem may even lead to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, which sometimes with tragic results.
These Are The Most Common Effects Of Low Self Esteem.
1. Low Self Esteem Steals Your Happiness.
Research has closly linked the level of ones self esteem with their mood and happiness. When self esteem is low you will more likly experience feelings of sadness, shame, anxiety, fear, anger, loneliness, stress, even depression.
We all experiences periods of negative emotions; but a person suffering from low self-esteem will have an especially difficult time overcoming them, and will often experience many of these negative emotions all at once.
2. Lacking confidence is costing you thousands of dollars
Studies show that blue-collar workers who test higher in self-confidence scales earn an average of $7,000 more than their lower-scoring peers. That same study reveals that professionals with high self esteem earn an average of $28,000 more (Neil Burton, M.D.).
When managers seek to promote, often the person who exudes fearlessness will be chosen over someone who may be more capable but lacks esteem.
People with confidence are often perceived as more skilled, even when they are not. They’re not afraid to ask questions or even make mistakes; they are seen as the “go-getters”.
Unfortunately, bosses, clients, and customers make negative assumptions about people who exhibit behaviors of low self-confidence, believing they are incompetent or apathetic. It sucks, but it’s a reality of the professional world.
Less secure people are often timid about asking for raises or promotions.
I have yet to meet a career or business coach who doesn’t swear that self-doubting clients stay stuck in comfort zones significantly longer than their confident peers. They have a greater need to feel safe, even if that safety is costing them endless opportunities, including living their passion.
To step out of one’s comfort zone for necessary growth translates risk and possible rejection. Maybe they’re secretly waiting to be recognized and approached but, in most cases, it is those who are big and bold and speak up for higher positions and salaries are who receive them (Ashley Staht).
3. Low Self Esteem Makes You Hate Yourself.
Hating yourself will cause you to despise your own thoughts and actions, and have difficulty forgiving yourself.
Hating yourself will end up being reflected in how you behave in relationships and at work, as feeling unworthy of self-care will give you license not to take care of yourself.
Those feelings of self hate will change how you see others as well. You will perceive others’ traits and gifts as being superior to your own — even “heroic,” and therefore unattainable for yourself.
When you are struggling with the effects of a low self-esteem, you may believe that no one cares what you think, how you feel, or even what you have to offer. And believing those things can lead to loneliness, hesitation to reach out and engage, and eventually increasing repressed anger.
4. Lack Of Confidence Steels Time.
Think perfectionism is a virtue?
Not always true! In many cases, perfectionist doesn’t believe anything is ever good enough, including themselves. They will spend hours longer on projects trying to perfect every detail, simply because anything less than perfect is sub-par. While attention to detail is important and held in high regard, for them, this approach is very inefficient and leads to more frustration than satisfaction.
If you are suffering from the effects of a low self-esteem, you may find yourself confusing “making a mistake” with “being a mistake.,” and therefore unable to forgive yourself for simply being human and making “human” mistakes.
Studies show that the delta between the work produced by competent people vs. that of the perfectionist is marginal and typically not valued as high as the extra resources utilized.
Perfection simply does not exist.
On top of wasting valuable time, the perfectionist will lose-out on joy because they are never truly satisfied with what they’ve accomplished.
On the other side of the coin is the procrastinator.
Not all procrastination is linked to self-confidence issues, sometimes it’s simply a matter of motivation. However, for those who are self-doubters, there is a vicious cycle of putting things off and then feeling bad about it.
This, of course, leaves one even less motivated to do anything, therefore, putting the next thing off even longer, and then naturally they end up feeling even worse…and so on.
Fear and worry are the culprits. There are hundreds of possible fears, but the fear of rejection, failure, or even success are the biggies.
Worry is linked to the fears behind the fears, such as the approval of others or appearances.
5. How can you get the “one” if you shy away?
Low confidence will dramatically affect your love life. It will dramatically impact all of your relationships.
According to relationship coaches, this is how low self confidence negatively impacts your relationships:
- They second-guess their choices in friends/partners/bosses. Even worse, they are often skeptical of those who choose them.
- They are constantly trying to analyze what the other person is thinking. They are in constant need of reassurance, which can be an energy suck for the other person.
- They often sabotage good relationships or stay in bad ones too long.
- They often lose themselves in the relationship because they can’t set healthy boundaries.
- People who lack confidence usually a) take responsibility/fault for everything or b) take responsibility/fault for nothing. Neither are good.
- Also, because they are trying to win approval from others, they try to morph into being someone they aren’t. This is dishonest and unsustainable so there is seldom a happy ending.
6. Low Self Confidence Makes You Miss Opportunities
Having confidence allows us to see opportunities that we would not usually see.
Because confident people are generally more positive, they recognize potential that others would readily dismiss.
Someone lacking confidence will view the situation as a problem, while the confident person sees it as an opportunity to succeed.
Have you ever heard a motivational speaker that did not mention the power of the mind and positive thinking?
Almost all agree that positive thinking creates more positive activity. Conversely, negative thinking creates more negative activity.
7. Self Care Becomes Non Existent
When your self-worth is suffering, it’s likely your self-care is, as well.
Because there is an underlying assumption that “things can’t get better, so why waste my energy,” it’s easy to then ignore essential elements of well-being, like sleep, good nutrition, and exercise.
Low self-esteem will also increase your vulnerability to fear-based distractions like drug and alcohol abuse, compulsive sex, eating, and shopping, all in an effort to avoid conflict, pain, and failure.
8. Low Self Esteem Drains Motivation
Having low self-esteem can make every day feel like a Monday morning driving heavy traffic, after pulling of the drive way with your coffee mug on the roof of your car and the added guilt of throwing the kids a granola bar for breakfast as they run to catch the bus.
When you have low self esteem there is an underlining feeling that never quits nagging at you. “I am going to fail anyway, so why bother?”
This undertow of being “stuck” and “out of gas” can wreak havoc with your performance at work and at home. It can also easily spill over into your willingness to try new things that may help both your mood and your bank account.
9. The Higher Level Costs Of Low Self Esteem.
In recent years low self-esteem has been one of the most popular and frequently used psychological explanations for ones behavioral and social problems. As with other trends, research in the scientific community has also focused their efforts into understanding how the different levels of self esteem effect our society as a whole.
Research as made the connection that low self esteem can lead to an increased rate of crime and delinquency (including violent crime), racial prejudice, abuse of illegal drugs, illegal (under-age) tobacco use, alcohol abuse, risky sexual behavior and teenage pregnancy, child maltreatment, educational underachievement, economic circumstances, eating disorders, suicide and suicide attempts.
These finding are making an impact on public policies within the education, legislative, and public health systems.
What Has Low Self Esteem Cost You?
In short, if you see yourself in any of these scenarios or if you lack confidence it is costing you the happiness of leading the fulfilled life that you rightly deserve to live! What is the price tag of that?
Are You Ready For Change?
The good news is life doesn’t have to be is way!
You cannot change your past but you can take control of your future. You have a choice to take action and overcome any obstacle that gets in the way.
At the core of low self esteem are limiting beliefs.
These are the negative thoughts that we form, subconsciously that undermine our success. They result in self-doubt and questioning our judgment. They prevent us from taking strategic risks, setting ambitious goals, and acting boldly on them.
Luckily, by being aware of what your limiting beliefs are, you can change them into positive and empowering ones.
When you change your thinking, you change your story.
Once you do that, you see everything through a new filter and the world becomes a different place. It won’t happen overnight, but if you are willing to be honest with yourself, you can gain the self esteem you deserve.
It takes courage. It takes persistence.
You can do it if you are willing to proclaim that your life is worth it.