How does low self esteem manifest?
We’ve seen plenty of “You go, girl! Love yourself!” platitudes, but in our climb towards that chipper mindset, have we ever taken a look at the “before” picture and its ramifications? Being honest and radically vulnerable about where we are is crucial to getting where we want to go. Realize that how you feel about yourself is not just an isolated, internal dialogue. It has consequences on those around you, and on how the world at large perceives you.
When we don’t love ourselves, we may find ourselves living a life where we try hard to please other people but never think about what would bring ourselves pleasure. We may throw ourselves headfirst into our careers – or our parental duties or the upkeep of our homes – like a horse with blinders on, myopically defining ourselves solely by our successes in these fields and not allowing time for anything else to seep in, good or bad.
We may try our hardest to polish a facade, to make things look a certain way or meet certain goals, yet we feel hollow in the end with no actual sense of joy or accomplishment when the accolades roll in. We’ll take no pride in our endeavours because we are not proud of ourselves. When we don’t appreciate ourselves, we assume no one else does either.
Low self esteem may also manifest in not taking care of your appearance, thinking “what’s the use?” or not wanting to express yourself through fun fashions. Conversely, maybe you overcompensate when it comes to your appearance because you want to hide what’s hurting on the inside. Maybe you’re so worried about what you look like that you don’t stop to worry about how you feel, and a flashy statement piece or some retail therapy takes your mind off of your inner struggles. If you don’t find yourself taking joy and pleasure in your self-expression, but instead facing a constant cycle of dissatisfaction and struggling to achieve an unattainable goal or beauty standard, take a step back. Reshape your vision of yourself from the ground up, prioritizing what makes you feel authentic, comfortable, and powerful – not what society tries to sell you.
Next, low self-esteem naturally comes with a hefty side serving of insecurity, but did you know it also manifests as jealousy? We’re prone to covet what others have when we’re not satisfied with what we have. We may also be on high alert, feeling that no one’s kindness toward us is genuine, or feeling that we could be easily “replaced.”
Finally, when we don’t love ourselves, we are much more likely to pass judgment on others and criticize them. We might harp on every little mistake our partners or other family members make, to their faces, behind their backs, or just in our own heads. We do this in a feeble attempt to console ourselves. We cut them down in order to elevate ourselves. But this is a toxic pattern that never works.
If this sounds like you, if these messages have resonated with you or held up a mirror to some dark feelings you’ve been avoiding, I want you to slow down. Take a look at yourself and think about how you really feel about yourself and who you are emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and romantically. Self-awareness is a lifelong journey, but as long as you’re trying (instead of shoving problems under the proverbial rug) you’re succeeding! Let’s step into this new year with an awareness of the emotional pitfalls and unhelpful behaviors we may be exhibiting. Loving yourself is not an overnight decision, but I want to extend a helping hand to get you there.