Low Self-Esteem and Anxiety can be a Harmful Combination

Jennifer March, MS

Learn to identify low self-esteem and how that impacts anxiety.

Anxiety is a common mental health disorder that many people live with. Living with a mental illness is a struggle that is prevalent during nearly every waking minute. Those living with anxiety may experience excessive fears of worry and may even cause someone to feel inadequate about themselves.

It’s not uncommon for low self-esteem, or negative feelings about oneself to be present for those with anxiety.

Low self-esteem can feed into anxiety, as well as anxiety feeding into low self-esteem. It’s a ruthless battle that usually leaves someone feeling drained and hopeless.

But to understand this better, let’s look at what anxiety disorders and self-esteem are at the very core. What is the true reason for anxiety or having low self-esteem and how do anxiety and self-esteem feed into one another?

Low Self-Esteem and Anxiety

With any anxiety disorder, there is the constant worrying that people go through. Living with a mental illness is a challenge in itself. The other internal factor of our own feelings towards ourselves can potentially increase the effects of anxiety disorders.

With low self-esteem, how you are feeling in a specific moment may very well be directed at your own self-worth. Our self-worth is what we believe our own specific value is in this world. At some point, everyone has experienced low self-esteem.

Low self-esteem esteem and low self-worth are not facts, nor are they real. There are some out there who experience low self-esteem on a daily basis. But where does low self-esteem start?

Low self-esteem can start from childhood due to the environment you lived in, your relationships with caregivers, and your overall development.

No two people in the same situation are going to grow up to be the same. One sibling may thrive in the world they grew up in, while the other may have experienced challenges due to their environment.

Each person is individually unique. No two people are going to experience life in the same way. So we should remember that those with self-esteem aren’t inherently lacking in some way, but rather, they have a poor outlook on their role in the world.

How self-esteem relates to anxiety

Self-esteem affects anxiety in a variety of ways, and may even contribute to further anxious feelings. The key factors that comprise low self-esteem are:

  • Lacking confidence in one’s own ability
  • Unable to handle feedback/criticism
  • Social isolation

There are many more that could be added to describe what low self-esteem might look like. But how can it affect our everyday functioning?

Imagine your self-esteem had a voice. What would it say all day? Is it positive? Is it negative? Is there kindness behind their words, or venom in each sentence? The kinds of words we use to describe our self-worth are ultimately how we view our place in this world.

If we have a negative perception of who we are, that directly feeds into our anxiety. Research has suggested that self-esteem can leave someone predisposed to a mental illness, and even mental illness itself plays a factor in low self-esteem.

How can we raise our self-esteem?

We can raise our self-esteem by challenging our negative beliefs and focusing on our positive attributes. Our thoughts and beliefs about ourselves are not factual, but rather a perception of who we wish we could be.

Accepting who you are at this moment will get you where you want to be. How can you ever be truly happy if you are unsatisfied with who you are?

Raising our self-esteem also means treating ourselves with more kindness. Having a healthy relationship with you is the key to being truly happy in life. You are always with yourself, so you might as well make peace with what you cannot change.

The limiting beliefs we have about ourselves can ultimately prevent us from finding our true happiness.

Small steps towards change are what can ultimately lead you to a bright future. You can’t overhaul the years of work that we’ve put into ourselves that have led us to our negative self-perception. But we can start chipping away at our negative beliefs about ourselves slowly.

Challenge every negative belief you have about yourself. Why are you confined to where you are at in life? Could challenging that belief leads you to a world even better than you could have imagined? That’s what we are missing when we don’t at least try.



As Originally Posted on Medium

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Psych nerd turned freelance writer | MS in Psychology | Mom of two cats and some house plants | #MentalHealthAdvocate #BeKind


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