Self esteem is a slippery subject for many. If asked about it, many people would describe themselves as having high self esteem. However, an even percentage of the population may stammer, avoid the subject or perhaps outright admit that they don’t think of themselves as well as they should. This is an unfortunate element of our society and can be a small symptom of a larger mental illness. If you aren’t sure whether you or a loved one qualify as having low self esteem, here is a glimpse of signs to look out for.
An Inability to Enjoy Oneself
If our positive sense of self is fractured, it becomes incredibly difficult to relax and have fun, even when we really want to. This leads to a rapid and vicious cycle of self doubt whenever we do catch ourselves truly relaxing. It becomes all too easy to wonder if this sense of happiness is a joke or a fluke or something temporary that will fade in the very next instant. We begin to wonder if we really have earned feeling this way and how soon the moment will be gone entirely. However, this is an unhealthy and extremely limiting way to live. Everyone is “allowed” to enjoy themselves on a frequent basis. In fact, it is a vital part of life.
An Inability to Make Decisions
How often have we been asked an “easy” question only to flounder and second guess? None of our ideas seem valuable or viable. Every thought becomes ammo for criticism from those around us. We become afraid of disappointing or offending those close to us, which makes us vacillate and go with whatever will make the other person happy, rather than what will satisfy us. What we fail to realize is our ideas are just as valid and important as anyone else’s. The fear of doing the “wrong” thing holds us back from expressing ourselves openly.
Holding Ourselves Up to Others
When it comes to low self esteem, our lives become a constant and vast mirror. Everyone we know becomes a measuring stick we hold against ourselves to see if we’re as wealthy, as successful, as independent, as attractive or simply “enough.” In reality, you can't compare your life to anyone else. In the end, all we come away with is dissatisfaction with ourselves and a sense of jealousy (and perhaps resentment) for those who are perceived as being better off than we are.
When we struggle with low self esteem, our very existence becomes a burden to ourselves and everyone around us. We apologize for every slight, no matter how small. Whether it’s stepping on someone’s foot or simply disagreeing with someone we know closely. Experts in mental health advocacy state that this behavior is unhealthy for us. Our existence is not an inconvenience, and not every move we make deserves an apology. Not everything we do is a misstep, a mistake or a grave offense.
If any of these characteristics sound familiar, or if you regularly ask yourself, “Do I have a mental illness?” know you are not alone. We want to help you achieve a better sense of wellness, a better sense of self and a better sense of happiness. Contact us to learn about your options and take the first step to living the life you deserve.