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4 Mental Habits That Cause Low Self-Esteem

Many people believe that understanding the root causes is crucial when it comes to improving low self-esteem. While acknowledging the origin of low self-esteem can be helpful to some extent, the real key lies in recognizing and addressing certain mental habits that keep individuals trapped in negative self-perception. As we all know that mental peace of children is also getting destroyed due to Social Media.

By identifying and overcoming these four destructive mental habits, one can discover their self-esteem is higher than they realize. Let’s explore them one by one.

1. Dwelling on Past Mistakes

Making mistakes is a normal part of life, and it’s natural to feel disappointed or embarrassed when they occur. It is healthy to reflect on our mistakes, as it helps us learn and avoid repeating them in the future.

For example, if you failed a test, analyzing what went wrong is essential to improve your preparation next time. Reflecting on past mistakes can be produced up to a certain point.

However, dwelling excessively on past mistakes follows the law of diminishing returns. Spending an extended period continuously fixating on a past failure becomes unproductive and detrimental to self-esteem. It’s essential to view the reflection on mistakes regarding their helpfulness. Just because something is true doesn’t mean dwelling on it will be beneficial.

  • Reflecting on mistakes helps when it leads to learning and personal growth.
  • We cannot change past mistakes, so excessively dwelling on them harms our well-being in the long run.

2. Worrying About The Future

Worrying about the future is another mental habit that may feel productive but ultimately harms emotional well-being and self-esteem. Distinguishing between realistic planning and unrealistic worrying is crucial.

Imagining optimistic scenarios about the future, such as exploring new career options, can benefit personal growth. Conversely, constantly imagining failure or worst-case scenarios in any new endeavour will only generate anxiety and diminish self-esteem. Realistic planning involves preparing for potential dangers while worrying about unrealistic fears.

Worrying has two significant downsides:
  • Anxiety: Excessive worrying unnecessarily trains the brain to fear, leading to anxiety. Persistent worry becomes the catalyst for anxious feelings.
  • Lowered self-esteem: Chronic worry about unrealistic things undermines one’s confidence in successfully navigating life. As a result, self-esteem suffers.

Similar to reflecting on past mistakes, dwelling on future dangers quickly reaches a point of diminishing returns. If you are caught in the habit of worrying about unrealistic fears, you are experiencing side effects—chronic anxiety and diminished self-esteem—without any real benefits.

Remember that thinking about the future is a tool that can be useful in specific situations but counterproductive in others. Recognizing the difference between effective planning and detrimental worrying is essential for maintaining emotional well-being and healthy self-esteem.

Mental Habits that Cause Low Self-Esteem

3. Ruminating on Old Injuries

Reflecting on past mistakes, we discussed how dwelling on them can harm our self-esteem. Similarly, fixating on past injuries or offences against us can also harm our well-being. While it’s natural to think about instances where we were hurt, especially when the person responsible is someone close to us, such as a parent, friend, or long-time co-worker, it’s essential to recognize the potentially unhealthy effects of ruminating on such experiences.

To a certain extent, reflecting on how others have hurt us in the past can be beneficial. It allows us to assess the healthiness of our relationships and determine which ones are worth cultivating and which should be avoided.

However, like dwelling on past mistakes or worrying about future threats, replaying past grievances can quickly become an unproductive habit that erodes our self-esteem.

There are several significant downsides to indulging in the habit of meditating on old injuries:

  • Chronic anger and resentment:

Ruminating tends to fuel anger, and while anger itself is not inherently harmful, chronic feelings of anger can lead to resentment, excessive stress, and conflicts in relationships.

  • Avoidance of productive action:

Moving on from an unhealthy relationship or past injury can be challenging. It often requires setting and enforcing healthy boundaries, cutting ties with specific individuals, or working towards forgiveness. Since these actions are complex, our natural inclination is to avoid them, much like any other challenging aspect of life. If we’re not careful, we may be procrastinating and using rumination to evade what we genuinely need to do to move forward.

  • Decreased self-esteem:

Allowing ourselves to remain trapped in unhelpful rumination gradually chips away at our self-esteem because deep down, we recognize that it is not beneficial and, in many cases, exacerbates the situation. How many relationships have been ruined due to the inability to forgive? How many people find themselves stuck in life because they cannot let go of the past, neglecting their present and future? Continuously dwelling on past injuries erodes our self-esteem and hampers personal growth.

Ultimately, the choice between persisting in ruminating on old injuries or letting them go boils down to this: Do you want to be chained to the past or work towards the freedom to move forward in life? Although it may feel morally justified, rumination is a dangerous trap. Just because you have been hurt does not mean replaying that hurt is in your best interest.

You can also read: How Does Anxiety Affect Our Health?

4. Judging Yourself for Your Emotions

You may be familiar with the term “gaslighting,” which refers to manipulating someone into questioning their sanity. Unfortunately, many individuals unknowingly gaslight themselves by habitually judging their own emotions.

For example, criticizing yourself as “weak” for feeling sad about something that happened long ago only makes you feel irrational for experiencing a perfectly normal and healthy emotion.

Similarly, judging yourself for feeling anxious or indecisive during a work meeting makes you feel crazy over something familiar to everyone, even if they don’t openly admit it to themselves.

Getting angry at yourself for feeling anger is another example of making yourself feel abnormal for experiencing a typical human emotion. Consistently subjecting yourself to such self-judgment sets the stage for chronically low self-esteem.

Instead, practice accepting your emotions for what they are: occasionally painful and inconvenient, but never inherently wrong or dangerous. Cultivating self-compassion will significantly boost self-esteem as you learn to acknowledge and accept your emotions without harsh self-judgment.

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