How to deal with Low Self-Esteem


 © 2008, 2013  By Raymond Alexander Kukkee 

Mimi & Eunice, “Contribution”

Mimi & Eunice, “Contribution”


"Address the issues, and in reflection you will experience a substantial lifting of your own self-respect and low self-esteem, and rightfully so. You will understand that nobody is perfect. It is called being human."

Learn to deal with Low Self-Esteem


It matters not who you are, your age, what your ethnicity may be, or where you live. It does not matter what language you speak, what you do for a living, or what your taste for excitement, fun, or friends may be. Eventually, at some time in your life you may suffer from low self-esteem.  Even if only momentarily,  a  few hours or longer.  You may discover you have negative personal feelings of low self-esteem demonstrated by fear, insecurity, worry, uneasiness, or inadequacy. On these occasions, personal despair may happily melt away after a few hours of reflection. On the other hand, it may last a day, a few weeks, months, or much longer. In extreme cases a state of severe and permanent depression can develop. However long it lasts, each individual -for their own well-being--must learn to deal with low self-esteem.


In most instances negative feelings and their progression into more serious emotional problems may be attributed to events, personal affairs, or immediate or short-term circumstance. Problems are normally then resolved as circumstances return to normal or a state of acceptance. It is, however, important to recognize that a serious perception of low self-esteem and low personal worth can substantially contribute to depression and should be addressed and resolved .

Why do people develop low self-esteem? Causes are many. Negative events, self-blame, perceived background,  failure of a relationship, failure of objectives, loss of employment or a myriad of other situations can cause low self-esteem, but resolution may also be as close at hand as honestly asking yourself some pointed and leading questions.

In this discussion, the old adage: " Be dishonest with thyself and mislead a fool " might be appropriate. In problem resolution, truth is best. To be able to identify and accept truth makes dealing with issues simpler. To know why you feel as you do is a great start in creating a customized remedy for low self esteem, using your inherent intelligence, ability, and innate understanding of yourself.

Go ahead. Ask yourself these seven questions. Write down the first answer that pops into your head. Do not alter the answer until you ask the same questions again tomorrow. Compare the answers . You may be surprised at the insight and wisdom you already display.


1. Do you have genuine respect for yourself and who you are as an individual?

2. Are you happy with your personal appearance?

3. Deal with Guilt: Are you ashamed of something that occurred in your lifetime?

4. Are you proud of your career and accomplishments?

5. Do you feel you do not have the social status you deserve in life?

6. Are you happy with your "inner  person"?

7. Do you feel loved by your family, friends, and associates ?


Let us examine the issues and answers separately:


I.    Respect: Respect for Others means Respect for Yourself

This important aspect of self-being may be strangely but easily measured and answered simply by determining if you always practice and show respect for all others. People that consistently display serious respect for other human beings are also invariably found to have respect for their own individuality, unique characteristics, capabilities, and persona. A very low, flippant, disengaged or unacknowledged sense of self-respect for others can be a major component of low personal self-esteem. If your tendency is not to respect others, it is likely you do not respect yourself either. Why? The respect, acceptance and acknowledgment of other beings as they are suggests confidence and a ready acceptance of who you are.


II. Personal Appearance can be Improved -but not Avoided .

Be honest . Are you happy with your current physical appearance? Is your evolved and older appearance offensive ? Do your expectations match the image you see in the mirror? Are you unkempt, sloppy looking, and stand with poor posture? Do you brush your teeth, comb your hair, and maintain good nutrition? Are you too skinny, or morbidly overweight? In your own opinion, has your physical being evolved negatively with age or medical problems?

Perception of how we appear may seem to be everything, but imperfection, change, and the unalterable are all facts of life. Physical attributes we may possess do not remain constant with time. People change imperceptibly and inevitably, - gracefully accepted or not. Don't waste mental energy trying to change things you cannot change. It is a realistic and mature characteristic to remember that some people are more attractive than others. The majority of people are just plain, or average looking. The solution is to remember that every person alive is unique, and beauty is only skin deep.

Appearance can be tough to face if you feel unattractive. Is there room for improvement? Improve what you can, and learn to live with, and love the rest. To help control your weight, avoid fatty fast foods and eat sensibly. Eat only when hungry, and never binge or over-eat. Exercise regularly. Have medical checkups to eliminate unidentified health issues. Quit smoking, for cleaner, whiter teeth. Avoid recreational drugs. One may never turn out to be "perfectly slim"or model-thin, but you can stay  impeccably groomed, maintain good posture and habits which will result in increased confidence. Practice smiling. A smile offers to others, as a very minimum, the perception that you are more confident, attractive and easier to get along with . Take control of your life. Be confident. Confidence builds self-esteem.


III. Let us Deal with Guilt.


Low self-esteem is often associated with guilt. Feeling guilty, or being ashamed of an incident in your lifetime is a sign of conscience, a trait unique to humanity, but feeling guilty can become an obsession and a major cause of low self-esteem. . Individuals may unnecessarily, unkindly and even viciously lay blame and shame upon themselves for incidents that occurred in their lives , as a perpetrator, or only a victim of circumstance. Victims of physical and sexual abuse often blame themselves, display very low self-esteem, and "punish" themselves for the duration of their lives, often expressing themselves poorly and practicing risky behavior.

Let us make a simple observation of that phenomenon as it may apply to the person staring at you from the mirror. In simple terms, has something happened to you, or have you made a few bad choices that you now think "spoiled" your life forever? Were you abused as a child, or have you been the victim of rape?  Done something wrong? Have you made mistakes? Do you blame yourself for something that happened to you? Look into your own eyes and answer honestly. It is now time to stop feeling guilty.

Get over mistakes you have made. Clearly they were not the end of the world. Bad choices in the past do not mean you are a "bad" person, they simply reflect the fact you made bad choices in the past. Making mistakes is human. Surprisingly, and beneficially, you have also created a learning experience, an opportunity to re-evaluate your personal life, and an amazing opportunity for self-discovery and self-improvement. You now have a chance to reflect, change your attitude and life, all for the better. As an aside, this very moment may also be wonderful opportunity to decide to make amends where you may have knowingly or even unintentionally harmed someone.


IV. Small Accomplishments are Still Accomplishments.


 You mean you haven't won the Nobel Peace prize yet? You haven't invented the better mousetrap? What are you waiting for? Seriously, " failures to achieve " are not a reason to look down upon yourself. By far, the majority of people have not made earth-shattering discoveries, written the world's greatest  novel, or discovered the cure for the common cold . To raise low self-esteem, consider your most significant accomplishment may ultimately be reaching out to someone, and providing support to them. Some of those " very ordinary others" may reach unbelievable goals only because of YOU.

Celebrate knowing that your input encouraged them to succeed. Be happy, participate and be proud of what you do accomplish. Raising family or a child, and making that child feel loved, happy and safe is a major achievement in life. Shoveling snow for an elderly couple and making them realize that someone cares, is a major achievement in life. The happiness of people in our lives is a celebration of life, and is our greatest accomplishment. A wonderful opportunity to serve, help, touch, and teach exists, even for you, the average person.


V. Social Status, a Social Invention.


A very common mistake, social status' is an artificial, social invention, often dictated by obsessive material wealth, a circle of "associates" or other artificial boundaries, such as a plush neighborhood. Social status can be tacky, cruel and predatory in nature. As such, social status devalues large portions of humanity. Much social hypocrisy is demonstrated in valuing only the "status" of individuals.

If you foolishly insist on believing you occupy an unacceptable "status" in your relationships with others, raise your status immediately; you may start today by placing a higher value on your friends, your family, what you do, what you try, what you accomplish, and who you are. Be proud of your ethnicity, roots, and ancestors. Value the people you love. Be proud of the very least of your associates. Walk tall. Treat your neighborhood and surroundings with respect. Respect yourself and others as individual human beings each having unique qualities. If you are obsessed with status, it is time to rethink your position and attitude. Life is only what you personally make it. Above all, your " status" as defined by others is completely irrelevant, artificial and arbitrary. Evaluate and assign "status" on your own terms.


VI. You are an Unhappy Inner Person?


People eternally unhappy with their inner person, or the relationship they have with themselves, seldom look at themselves in a positive light. For some people,  being obsessive, selfish self-centered is a difficult set of personal characteristics to identify, admit and accept, or remedy. Attacking others will not improve your own status, however you may justify doing so. 

Try being extroverted and practice looking at others instead of dwelling upon your own perceived  imperfections, and your personal relationship with your inner self will soon improve. Why? Constant examination and negative criticism of your private, personal faults never allows a sense of improvement, healing or acceptance.

If you think about it, examination of even the most perfect person under a powerful magnifying glass will eventually reveal some defects and magnify them too. Raise your own self-esteem by stressing your own positive characteristics instead of emphasizing negatives. Allow yourself some foibles and flaws as a normal part of your function in humanity. Recognize there are always people in worse straits than you are.


VII. Feeling unloved by your family, friends, and associates?


Why ? Get to the root of the problem. Is it really them, or is it you? Have you been too self-important and "busy" to bother with others? Is there economic stress, drug abuse, sibling rivalry, jealousy, or unfair life circumstance playing a part in this disaster? Do you return love your family, friends or associates? When an individual has low self-esteem, they often feel unworthy of being loved and as a result lash out, driving people away. Feelings of unworthiness may be caused by perceptions of guilt, jealousy, unfairness, unresolved issues of anger, or wrong-doing. Correct the defects, change what you can, apologize where necessary, admit wrongs, and love others unconditionally for increased self-esteem. Get out and participate positively in life. You can and will make a contribution to life.


Still feeling like you have low self-esteem?

Answer the seven questions again, this time being absolutely and unashamedly honest with yourself. There is nothing to be afraid of.  Address the issues, and in reflection you will experience a substantial lifting of your own self-respect and low self-esteem, -and rightfully so. You will understand that nobody is perfect. It is called being human.

In summary, feelings of low self-esteem can be natural and may occur at any time, in any individual, and normally should be resolved in the short term. If extreme feelings of low self esteem persist for months, do seek professional help as needed, before problems grow out of control

Most importantly, study the man or woman in the mirror carefully, for in the process and with the understanding of one's self comes the application of wisdom and common sense. Confidence and improved self-esteem will follow.


Is that Incoming I hear?

Photo Credit:   Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0



2 Responses to How to deal with Low Self-Esteem

  1. Olivia Bredbenner says:

    Another excellent article Raymond, with great points. You continue to gift others with your talent and positive perspective on life. Thank you.

    • Thank you, Olivia, your kind words are always appreciated. I do hope this article helps someone–even one person that can, in turn, help others…… So many people with low self-esteem do not understand why they feel that way about themselves.The recognition of value, self-worth in ourselves and others as human beings is an important concept. People that are encouraged to understand this invariably think differently about themselves –accept themselves as they are –and are much happier. Because they are happier, inevitably they do achieve more in life. Thanks again, my friend, have a wonderful day! ~R

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