What is Low Self Esteem?

What Does Low self-esteem Mean

We explain what low self-esteem is, what are its causes, symptoms and characteristics. What is high self-esteem and personality.

Low self-esteem prevents us from having an objective judgment about who we are.

What is low self esteem?

When we speak of low self-esteem or lack of self-esteem, we refer to a perception of ourselves that prevents us from perceiving ourselves as valuable , talented people or simply having an objective judgment about who we are.



Self-esteem is defined as a set of perceptions, evaluations and ideas about ourselves, on which our capacity for self-confidence, self-love and our need to be recognized by others, among other aspects of the personality, is based .

It is a complex concept, often fluctuating, but whose foundations are laid during childhood and adolescence , initially through the paternal relationship and later with peers.

People with low self-esteem, then, have self-acceptance problems . This may mean that they are very harsh judges of themselves, that they do not respect themselves, or that they have too much compassion for each other; however this may be, it translates into a particular relationship with others, in which the individual always occupies an inferior or submissive place.

Having low self-esteem does not mean, however, that the person constantly acts according to that criterion: people are complex, we have multiple faces and it is not always easy to determine the elements that make up our personality . Nor should low self-esteem be confused with mental illnesses or more complicated mood ailments, such as depression .

See also: Assertiveness

Causes of low self-esteem

Lack of social interaction or fear of others can influence self-esteem.

The causes of low self-esteem can be as varied as the individual's life, but broadly the following can be considered:

  • Breeding. The model of parenting during critical stages of childhood and youth can make the difference between high and low self-esteem. Punishing parents who educate their children in a sense of handicap can prevent a person from recognizing their own values.
  • Traumatic events. It often happens that events particularly painful or humiliating for an individual take a toll on his self-esteem and convince him of being a flawed, weak, or unworthy individual.
  • Phobias . Irrational fears can often affect self-worth and weigh on it so much that they prevent people from appreciating the rest of your personality.
  • Social difficulties. The lack of social interaction, or fear of others, or different forms of social isolation and social anguish, affect the individual's perception of himself in comparison with others, whom he thinks “normal”.
  • Other factors It is possible that mental or even hormonal illnesses affect the emotional functioning of the individual and prevent him from having a healthy self-esteem.

Characteristics and symptoms of low self-esteem

It is not easy to describe the symptoms of low self-esteem, since it is not an objective or simple disease. Even so, there are general traits that indicate a lack of self-esteem and that are:

  • Difficulty saying no.
  • Living one's own mistakes or defects as something catastrophic and insurmountable.
  • Constantly chasing the approval of others.
  • Being intolerant towards criticism.
  • Compulsive desire to please others.
  • Exaggerate the triumphs or virtues of others.
  • Living with an exaggerated fear of being wrong.
  • Be shy, insecure, or shy away from contact with others.
  • Tolerate or accept unworthy or humiliating conditions without protesting or seeking alternatives.
  • Live your own triumphs or successes as something ephemeral, incomplete or alien.
  • Compensating for feelings toward yourself through arrogance , pedantry, or arrogance.

High self-esteem

Contrary to low self-esteem, high self-esteem is understood as the ability of an individual to evaluate himself in a positive or at least objective way, being able to deal with his defects as such and not as catastrophic events that hide the rest of his personality .

People with high or healthy self-esteem can better deal with their own mistakes , can better fight for their rights, or demand what they want from others.

More in: Self-esteem


A complex psychological construct is known as personality, which encompasses the set of rational and irrational dynamics that make up our way of behaving . Personality is a pattern of attitudes , a certain tendency to react in a certain way to certain situations or needs.

This does not mean that it is immovable, quite the opposite. Personality varies throughout life , although maintaining certain tendencies, depending on the specific way in which we choose to live. But it always yields a certain margin of predictability which is, after all, our “way of being”.

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