A person who is self-confident is convinced of their abilities. Self-confidence is expressed through self-assured demeanor. Accordingly, the self-confident behavior directed towards the outside reflects the inner subjective self-esteem of the agent.
What is low self-esteem?
A low self-esteem often expresses itself in a loud and showy behavior.
In this way, the facade of a supposedly self-confident person emerges in the outside world. A person with low self-esteem is plagued by inferiority complexes that lead to a lack of self-esteem and inner insecurity.
However, not every loud or conspicuous behavior has to mean low self-esteem. There can actually be a strong person behind it. Likewise, even an inconspicuous and humble person can have a strong sense of self.
The reasons for low self-esteem can have various causes. The majority of psychologists are of the opinion that a healthy self-esteem must be independent of external influences. The individual needs of a person, which depend on external factors, are indispensable. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, this includes success, recognition, appreciation and respect that fellow human beings can show towards one another.
The fulfillment of individual needs or the lack of these depends largely on what the image of the imprint in a person’s childhood looks like. Even in the first years of life, the autonomy phase begins with toddlers. If this is suppressed, it can no longer develop. In severe cases, this can lead to a pathological feeling of low self-worth in adulthood, which can trigger anxiety when confronting everyday things.
A child who is only criticized in their upbringing learns to see themselves as out of order. Often times, in the eyes of the parents, children make mistakes which are immediately converted into judgments of the child’s overall personality. As a result of verbalizing exclusively negative criticism based on a mistake, a child cannot develop healthy self-esteem. The constant failure of praise and recognition ultimately leads to inferiority complexes even in childhood.
The permanent enforced blind adherence to rules and limits later leads to an inability to self-reflection, because an insight into one’s own actions through a healthy relationship between parents and child has not taken place.
The cause of low self-esteem can also lie in later experiences in adulthood. The loss of self-confidence can arise in a partnership with a narcissist or in everyday professional life if there is a lack of success. The lack of success often leads to a lack of recognition. People suffering from low self-esteem often only define self in terms of performance if this person has been taught to do so.
People who suffer from low self-esteem lack the ability to treat themselves with respect. This leads to disrespectful behavior towards other people. A person who received too little attention as a child, for example, will later compete for it in a behavior-related manner. In extreme cases this is like an addiction.
Symptoms, ailments & signs
A person who suffers from a lack of self-esteem is often jealous of the successes of others. This leads to the fact that praise is deliberately not expressed to fellow human beings in order to psychologically destabilize them. Through the psychological destabilization of fellow human beings, those who are destabilizing and those suffering from low self-esteem make themselves “great” from a subjective point of view.
The success of other people can be perceived as a direct threat to a person with low self-esteem. This is especially the case when these people are in the immediate vicinity, be it the work colleague or a sibling.
People who skillfully conceal their low self-esteem from the outside world find it difficult to develop the ability to tolerate mistakes made. Failure quickly becomes negative and in some cases even brutalized.
The direct confrontation is often used as a preventive measure, so that the attacked counterpart is prevented from questioning the person suffering from low self-esteem. Other opinions are generally regarded as a direct attack on the person or subjectively as an attack on one’s own existence. Hatred and vindictiveness can therefore result in a person with little self-esteem.
But there are also people who live quietly about their low self-worth. Whereas there are also people who are quiet but still self-confident. In the first case, these people often show a lot of behavioral problems.
They often withdraw and are afraid of everyday or unfamiliar situations in which they fear being judged by others. This fear can reach the level of complete seclusion. Situations are consciously avoided in which the person suffering from low self-esteem could be the focus. The fear of a negative judgment is too great.
This type of person goes through their own life unsettled, while they do not trust themselves either in their private or professional life. She is overwhelmed by everyday situations. These people find it difficult to make decisions.
This inability to make decisions can lead to pathological procrastination. In this case one can speak of a disturbance. Procrastination is then no longer based on bad time management, bad organization or laziness. It grows from the roots of the fear of failure.
The behaviors shown can lead to serious complications. These complications spread to all areas of everyday life. Accordingly, low self-esteem can lead to severe depression. There are people who, in these cases, begin to direct their internal aggressions against themselves. Self-harm or suicide can result. But complete isolation from the outside world can also be a consequence. Serious pathological personality disorders can develop from this.
Dangerous for the quiet type are relationships in which the partner abuses the low self-confidence of his counterpart for the purpose of exercising power. A person with low self-esteem becomes a victim here who does not know how to defend himself. In extreme cases, the person concerned finds himself in a hopeless situation from his or her subjective point of view. The failure of autonomy, which may have already started in childhood, is continued in the relationship.
Subconsciously, this kind of person suffering from feelings of inferiority looks for a partner who will give him back what he was used to in childhood.
In private as well as professional life, people without self-confidence are often perceived as a burden. In the professional world, they can either torture their fellow human beings with their manner and damage the company, or they hinder their work through permanent inability to make decisions. In one direction as well as in the other, far-reaching complications can arise that can affect the lives of other people.
Especially at management level, people suffering from narcissism who try to hide their low self-confidence from the outside world are a problem for many employees. The grandiose “I”, which honors itself out of inferiority complexes – in the position of a manager – can induce employees to quit their jobs and thus to give up a secure job. In the long run, such behavior can only damage the entire company.
People who pathologically deny their feeling of inferiority to themselves do not come up with the idea of seeking treatment because they do not feel that they are mentally ill. They perceive the addiction to attention as right. They evade responsibility for the damage they cause by blaming others. The lack of self-reflection prevents the possibility of psychological treatment.
When should you go to the doctor?
Feelings of inferiority can cause severe depression. In this case, professional help in the form of psychotherapeutic treatment is required. This can be done in combination with drug treatment. However, only the doctor or psychiatrist may prescribe medication. The psychologist, on the other hand, is not a doctor and cannot issue prescription drugs.
A lack of self-confidence can lead to a tolerance of constant transgressions towards one’s own self. If a victim is abused by a power-hungry person in this way, qualified help is necessary to help separate the dangerous couple combination. Only then can the gradual regaining of self-esteem be tackled.
In the case of complete mental paralysis due to insufficient self-esteem, day clinics are available that offer group psychological therapy.
If the person concerned remains viable and can cope with everyday life well, professional help may not be necessary. If the person who suffers from low self-esteem manages to muster the will to change something, he or she may help himself in the form of his own research and daily exercises.
In the case of a narcissistic personality, there is only a successful treatment option if it can consciously perceive itself as a narcissist.
A diagnosis can be made via psychoanalysis. Patients often suffer from secondary symptoms such as depression, anxiety or panic states. In the course of a therapeutic treatment, the therapist filters out the actual problem. However, depression is always based on several factors. One factor can be low self-esteem.
The problems that arise in the course of life often obscure the real causes. In order to get a first overview, some psychologists distribute a questionnaire to the patients in the first session. However, the therapeutic approaches used by various psychologists may differ in this regard. Certain problems and their causes can be filtered out over several sessions.
Treatment & Therapy
In severe cases, it is possible to get a place in a day clinic. There the person concerned receives psychotherapeutic help from qualified staff. In a day clinic, therapy is also carried out in a group. The person concerned will have to introduce himself beforehand.
In order to treat the problem in a targeted manner, individual therapy may seem more useful. Not everyone is suitable for therapy within a group. Especially people who have become delicate and sensitive because of their little or no self-esteem may not necessarily be suitable for a group.
Self-knowledge and the will may already be the first steps when the person concerned is strong enough to treat himself and has recognized his problem. If the person with too little self-confidence does not have the courage to speak about his problem in front of another person, then appropriate literature on the subject of self-confidence can also help.
The manifestations that result from insufficient self-esteem can appear outwardly in a variety of ways. The sequelae, such as depression, are often treated with medication.
Outlook & forecast
The outlook and prognosis for people with low self-esteem are not bad unless they have already developed into other serious personality disorders that require treatment.
Self-confidence can be learned and developed. This includes the active learning of self-reflection and the recognition of one’s own weaknesses and strengths. A shift in focus from a subjective focus on a positive way of thinking can also be learned. But the development of self-confidence takes time. However, building a strong sense of self is not impossible.
Psychotherapeutic treatment can provide the right approach to transform mental weaknesses into strengths. The person affected is encouraged to cooperate in the therapy and to advance the healing process through their own will.
Prevention can initially be provided by the parents of a child. Parents should be aware that there is an imprint in the first seven years of child development. This imprint accompanies the growing child for a lifetime and will influence all subsequent actions.
Correct handling of the autonomy phase of a child and the transfer of responsibility to the child strengthens the sense of responsibility. The assessment of faulty behavior should not be directly counted as a faulty personality. In this way, the child is given a false picture of himself.
Understanding and building healthy relationships between parents and children promote the self-confidence of a growing child. If there is already a lack of self-confidence, preventive measures can no longer be taken.
If therapy has been given to strengthen self-esteem, certain follow-up care should be observed. The purpose of this aftercare is to avoid setbacks. Especially when a patient is on the mend, the therapy sessions should not be completely suspended at the beginning. In order to strengthen self-esteem in the long term, it takes a lot of patience and strength.
A good strength here is the professional help from people who have been trained in the field. Many sufferers think that they have overcome the disease after therapy or that they can even do without professional help. It is forgotten that a slight misunderstanding can result in a setback.
This is precisely why it is important to take advantage of further therapeutic measures, especially if you have low self-esteem. If this is not followed, it can lead to consequences such as thoughts of suicide or severe depression. This is precisely why it is important that targeted follow-up care is followed if there is low self-confidence, even after therapy.
The family can also be of great support and help in coping with the disease. It can give the person concerned support and support them on their way to recovery. If necessary, the hours can simply be reduced and the therapy continued until the person being treated is quite sure that he no longer needs any support.
You can do that yourself
So that a healthy self-confidence can develop, there should be a shift in focus in your own way of thinking. Many people who suffer from low self-esteem focus on negative experiences and prophesy them for their future as well. Therefore, learning positive thinking structures is necessary.
Even with very simple exercises, self-confidence can develop. A lot can be read in the posture of a person. Tucked shoulders, a downward look, and a hunched posture are not signs of high self-esteem.
The opposite would be the case here. However, even a physical change can lead to a different attitude towards life. Walking upright and looking ahead are the first real steps on the way to healthy self-esteem.
If there are preferences for a certain thing, these can be used through a reward system. This increases the motivation to actually bring something to an end.
Through self-reflection, the person affected can become more capable of self-criticism and show more tolerance towards other people. What once felt like a constant fight against yourself and others can therefore develop into a peaceful existence with a strong self-confidence.