Self-esteem, how you see yourself and your abilities, has a great impact on the choices you make. It determines what you think you can do. If you have good self-esteem, you’re more likely to accomplish things you attempt and thus increase your good feelings about yourself. On the other hand, if you have low self-esteem, you’re more likely to compare yourself with others and come up short. You run the risk of never meeting your potential.
One unfortunate thing about self-esteem is it can be a fragile aspect of your make-up. In order for you to do your best and feel your best, you need to have good self-esteem. But there are dangers to your self-esteem.
Body Image. One of the most frequent dangers to the self-esteem of adolescents and young adults is a poor image of their bodies. Thinking you’re too fat or too thin, have some perceived imperfection that stands out, or that you don’t fit the “ideal” body image. Sometimes, habits you have can lead to a poor body image. For example, people with one of the body-focused repetitive behaviors like hair pulling or skin picking can have significantly low self-esteem due to the obvious results of pulling out their hair, plucking out eyebrows or picking their skin. Look at skinpick for more information. Women seem to be affected by this danger more than men.
Past Choices. Just about everybody has some bad choices they’ve made in the past. Focusing on those kinds of choices can have a very detrimental effect on your self-esteem. If you allow them to, the memories of these choices can actually begin to grow in your mind until they reach the point where they affect the choices you make today. Staying focused on those prior bad choices can throw you into a pattern of repeating those choices. The least danger to your self-esteem that can come from this focus is making you think you can’t do any better. You may even go so far as to begin to dislike yourself if you focus on these past bad choices.
Caring About Others. On the surface, this doesn’t sound like something that would lower your self-esteem. However, if you put others first all of the time to your detriment, you can damage your self-esteem. When you allow others to impinge on your life in a negative way by demanding you take time to do for them, you can damage your self-esteem. Or, if you care too much what others think, you may get to the point of not trusting your own ability to make decisions. Second-guessing your decisions and always asking for someone else’s opinion puts you lower than others, damaging your self-esteem.
Comparing Self to Others. If you constantly compare yourself to other people and their accomplishments, you’re at risk of damaging your self-esteem. People with feelings of inferiority will compare themselves to others who are at the pinnacle of their abilities. This is a significant danger to self-esteem. Always comparing yourself to others who have been doing what you’re doing much longer than you have or who have much more natural ability in some area is only going to lower your opinion of yourself. Parents who do this put their children at risk of developing low self-esteem.
Hanging Around Negative People. People who are continually negative about everything will sap your good feelings about yourself. Especially if those people are also always harping on the mistakes you make. Many times, these people don’t want you to succeed because that would make them look bad. Making you feel bad about yourself makes them feel better about themselves. It may also be that some of the people you surround yourself with have unreasonable expectations about what you should be able to do or accomplish. When you don’t reach that level, they never let you forget you let them down. Of course, this wears you down and never allows you to think you’re okay (goodchoices/goodlife).
Social Media. While social media can be a fantastic way to stay in contact with friends and family, the various media can also be a terrible danger to your self-esteem. If you allow it, any negative responses to things you post can be devastating to self-esteem. If you don’t get as many “friends” as you think you should or as many as someone else has, you can suffer. Too often, posting on social media becomes a popularity contest that not everyone wins ( bustle ).
Read more: How to Fight Low Esteem
Read more: How to Fight Low Esteem
If you find yourself dealing with one or more of these dangers to self-esteem, seek out the help you need. Don’t be afraid to admit you need help from a professional. You’ll thank yourself later that you did.