Self-esteem refers to the way we think, feel and value ourselves as a person. Low self-esteem is having a generally negative overall opinion of yourself, judging and evaluating yourself harshly.
Symptoms of Low self-esteem can include: being highly critical of yourself or your actions/ abilities; having high self doubt or only seeing yourself to blame if things go wrong; ignoring positive qualities or finding it hard to accept compliments; predicting that things will not turn out well; feeling depressed, anxious, guilty, ashamed or frustrated.
These thoughts and feelings may then make life more difficult. For example, a person may avoid challenges, have a reduced performance at work, find it difficult to say ‘no’, put others’ needs ahead of their own or have altered relationships with friends, family or colleagues.
The opinions and beliefs we have about ourselves are influenced and shaped by the experiences that we have had during our lives. This often (but not always) dates back to our early childhood/adolescence, but we continue to be shaped by our day-to-day experiences throughout our lives. This includes the way that we are treated, observing how others behave, the society we live in as well as media influences and stereotypes.