The Causes of Low Self-Esteem

December 28, 2023

The Causes of Low Self-Esteem

Our previous article explored how low self-esteem can shake the very foundation of our lives, revealing that it's not as trivial as some might think. So, what causes self-esteem to decrease? While there are various reasons, research points to four key experiences that contribute to low self-esteem.

Cause 1: Experiences of Punishment, Abuse, and Neglect

Particularly, harsh punishment, abuse, or neglect during childhood can have a profound impact. Those who have had such experiences often hastily conclude that they are "worthless," even when surrounded by people who care and value them now.

Cause 2: Insufficient Love and Attention

It's not always negative experiences that lead to low self-esteem; sometimes, it's the lack of positive experiences. Especially during childhood, the absence of sufficient love and support from family, or lack of encouragement for one's actions can lead to feelings of being "not enough."

Cause 3: Failing to Meet Others' Expectations

Sometimes, failing to meet others' expectations, particularly parents', can foster low self-esteem. This often happens with life choices like careers or partners that don’t align with parental expectations. Even if these expectations are overly subjective or high, the individual can end up feeling "inadequate" when they don't meet them.

Cause 4: Inability to Form a Sense of Belonging

Similarly, an inability to form a sense of belonging within a group, often due to issues like bullying, can lead to depreciating one's self-worth. The thoughts like "I don't fit in," "I'm lacking," or "I’m not suitable" begin to take hold.

Of course, not everyone who experiences these things will have low self-esteem, and not all with low self-esteem have these experiences. However, when delving into the stories of those with depression or anxiety disorders, such patterns often emerge. It's interesting to note that these experiences culminate in forming certain core beliefs about oneself. Cognitive psychology refers to these as 'core beliefs.'

Core beliefs act like fuel, perpetuating low self-esteem. How these beliefs continuously contribute to reducing self-esteem and what happens inside the minds of people with low self-esteem will be the subject of our next article. For now, it's essential to understand how the above experiences can shape specific core beliefs and how these beliefs significantly contribute to declining self-esteem.

As with all mental health issues, understanding oneself is the first step in unraveling the problem. It might not be easy to do this alone, so consider seeking professional help. Cognitive therapy experts can be immensely beneficial. The clear fact is that low self-esteem too can be improved with systematic methods. Right at this moment, someone is struggling yet gradually making sense of themselves, escaping the devouring void and moving in a new direction. We believe that you reading this can do the same.

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