Some of the experiences of low self-esteem can be signs of a mental health problem (but not always!). Example symptoms include:
- hating yourself
- feeling hopeless
- blaming yourself unfairly
- worrying about being unable to do things.
If you have low self-esteem, you may hide yourself away from social situations, stop trying new things, and avoid things you find challenging.
However, this behavioural approach can backfire. It can reinforce your underlying doubts and fears and teaches you that the only way to cope is by avoiding things.
Living with low self-esteem can harm your mental health and lead to problems such as depression and anxiety.
You may also develop unhelpful habits, such as smoking and drinking too much as a way to help cope with your low self esteem.