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“It is not what you are that is holding you back. It is what you think you are not.”
How a person views themselves has a lot to do with what is possible. People with low self-esteem tend to view themselves negatively. When life throws curveballs, there is an inability to overcome adversity.
The medical definition of chronic low self-esteem is “long-standing negative feelings about self or capabilities.” Therefore, those with this condition don’t believe much is possible because they have these long term negative self perceptions for months, weeks and even years. It is common for these individuals to exhibit powerful signs of low self-esteem, which include having strong feelings of inadequacy. They experience perpetual negative self-talk in their minds and frequent occurrences of social isolation, increasing the likelihood of a major depressive episode. As a result, serious illness around mental health, such as anxiety disorder, are common.
To make a come-back from long-term low confidence and emerge with a healthy self-esteem, more intense intentional actions more consistently over time along with regular medical treatments and mental health therapy to create a collaborative care plan with healthcare professionals are required to heal. In other words, building self-esteem necessitates action to create a vision of your ideal self and make unhealthy behaviors a thing of the past.
Where does chronic low self esteem come from
Low regard from one’s self usually is the resulte from an unhappy childhood. The role of parents, caregivers, and teachers play an instrumental role in the development of a person’s self worth. Unfortunately, not everyone had their self confidence nurtured. Receiving messages that you are not “good enough” or “worthy enough” are common among those who did not grow up in supportive environments. As a result, low resilience is almost guaranteed.
Other negative influences within society can also have negative impacts on self confidence.
External forces, such as a series of repeated situations causing prolonged stress, can worsen chronic low self esteem. These external circumstances can be anything related to loss, such as that of a romantic partner, parent, close friends, or job causing financial hardship. The break-up of a romantic relationship or remaining in an abusive relationship with a partner, in particular, can exacerbate already existing low self confidence to a long term. Other situations include a medical diagnosis causing chronic pain, suffering, or permanent physical impairment.
Likewise, personality can play a role. Some are prone to intensely negative thought habits. Still, some by default set unattainable goals and expectations of themselves that negative regard for themselves is almost inevitable.
How negative thinking worsens chronic low self esteem
A person with long-standing low self-esteem feels that everything about them is negative. They are extremely judgmental of themselves, often thinking themselves as “stupid.” They outright ignore or minimize their positive attributes. Complements are deflected and self blame when things are wrong occur frequently, when in reality, they have no control in the outcome of a situation.
Feelings of not being “good enough” or feeling unlovable are common.
In addition, their inner voices aka “self talk” reinforces a lot of these messages. Negative thinking on repeat is a key indicator of chronic low self esteem.
Negativity can be so deep-rooted in the mind that the individual does not even know they are happening. Indeed, they are unconscious. This is why it is critical to become conscious of negative thoughts, in order start the healing process with self esteem. Read this article to learn how to build awareness of negative thinking and to disrupt these thoughts as they occur.
It is important to be aware of negative thought habits because they lead to negative emotions, which lead to negative choices. This “negativity loop of thoughts spurs negative emotions and bad moods, which lead to poor decisions. This loop is a downward spiral and can mutually reinforce chronic low self esteem and depression.
Seven steps to create a chronic low self esteem care plan
Most importantly, overcoming prolonged negative self regard requires intervention from medical professionals, usually a nurse, and mental health experts. A nursing care plan and cognitive behavioral therapy are often key results of this collaboration. A trusting relationship both with healthcare providers and psychotherapist is an essential ingredient to ensure long-term partnership with the patient.
At the same time, simple, small daily actions performed consistently over long periods of time can make a huge difference in positive healing. Just like the negativity loop, which was mentioned earlier in this article, inflames negative thoughts, emotions and poor decision-making, the same is true for positive success in creating a a high self-esteem.
One small success in positive thinking leads to more successes with identifying your positive qualities and creating a positive environment where your self confidence thrives. These results spur a bigger and bigger multiplier effect in instigating permanently positive thought patterns.
Everything from your physical surroundings outside of your body, who you hang around and your internal emotional landscape must be influenced with positivity to increase success and in order to make your mental health problems and mental illness phenomena of the past.
A comprehensive chronic low self esteem care plan addresses your external environment and inner thought habits. Here is an effective plan to address your long term low self regard:
- Change your negative crowd. The first step in making a change externally is to let go of relationships with people who do not lift you up. It can be comforting to hang around with people who constantly complain because we feel connected to them through mutual negativity. But, in the long run, staying in community with people who lower your mood and/or reinforce negativity only postpones healing.
- Say nice things to yourself out loud.While looking in the mirror, say something nice about your appearance. In addition, state out loud what you like about yourself while watching your reflection.
- Perform tasks more often that use your strengths. Likewise, do more activities that use your strengths; these tasks can increase your mood and mindset. Read more (and get your free printable checklist) about other ways to increase your self worth.
- Get aware of inner negative self talk. Internally, there are several things that you do daily to improve your self esteem. Increase your awareness of negative thoughts through mindfulness and deep breathing.
Starting with three deep breaths where you are slowly inhaling, exhaling, and holding your breath in between while counting to 4 slowly helps to slow the mind down. Once your mind is calmer, observe the thoughts that come and write them down.
- Challenge negative beliefs. With this increased awareness of your negative thoughts, you can then challenge your negative self beliefs to spur healing within your inner emotional landscape and also disrupt negative thoughts as they occur. Learn more how to do both of these as investments in daily self love habits.
- Use affirmations daily.Repeating positive statements every day to tame your inner negative self talk and improve your inner and outer beauty replace old thoughts with new thoughts in your subconscious mind.
- Templatize your self love habits. Complete daily love worksheets that help you to identify a reason why you love yourself, pinpoint something that you are grateful for, and specify something you did nice for yourself. Downloadable worksheets are easily obtainedn through a simple google search. For those who prefer a more organized approach, consider Well and Wealthy’s Seven-Step Self Worth system, if you like a highly customizable roadmap.
As a sufferer of perpetual negativity, you are likely thinking that none of these actions are going to make a difference or that these small, simple actions are ridiculous.
Don’t give into this. This is only the inner critic and negative thinking wanting you to stay in pain because it is familiar. Doing new things requires intentionality and getting out of your comfort zone.
But you are still not feeling great about yourself, and there is a deep wanting inside you to heal, to feel better, and to experience happiness. Turn up the volume of this voice and try. Start small. Try one action, and when you do it consistently for 3 days in row, CELEBRATE your win.
This celebration has a multiplier effect on your positivity.
Then, add one more small action to the first one, and do it consistently three days in a row. Celebrate again and keep going. Within a few weeks, you are doing multiple self love habits daily as part of your care plan to heal your chronic low self confidence and replace it with a positive self-esteem. You are worth it!