Low Self-Esteem or Feeling Unworthy
July 28th, 2009 by Liza Wiemer

Helpful Tips:

Ask yourself one question – does your self-esteem come from within? Or are you deeply hurt by other people’s opinions of you?  Is your self-esteem primarily influenced by outside sources?  Self-esteem MUST start from within…

Low Self-Esteem or Feeling Unworthy:
1. Does constructive criticism hurt your feelings? (Notice I said, constructive – mean, hurtful comments are never constructive!)
2. Do you seek approval and/or recognition from others?
3. When someone doesn’t return a phone call, text message, e-mail, do you wonder if it’s because you said or did something wrong?
4. Is it difficult for you to accept a compliment?
5. Are you overly sensitive to others people’s behavior toward you, even if it’s his or her problem – not yours?
6. Do you compare yourself to others, and conclude that others are better than you? Why try to succeed, right? Or, you have to succeed, or you’ll be incredibly unhappy with yourself.
7. You find the negatives, even when you are successful, because you’re just not good enough! Can’t enjoy the success, right? even when you have it!
8. Do you gossip to feel better about yourself?
9. Did someone put you down, and you believe it?

If you answered yes to most of the low self-esteem or feeling unworthy questions, please read the following:

Low self-esteem issues affect your ability to accomplish goals and move forward in life.

Please note that the statements below are meant to be helpful.  Seek the help of a professional if your low self-esteem issues have led to depression.  The rule – If in doubt, seek help out.

When you struggle with self-esteem issues, it is highly likely that you rely on other people’s opinions to determine how you feel about yourself.  Self-esteem comes from the outside, rather than from within. Don’t allow others to dictate or have the power to determine your worth.

When you look in the mirror, who do you see?  Don’t find the things to be critical.  Nurture yourself by finding all the amazing things that make you special.  These are not physical attributes, but internal ones.  Be careful to examine the messages you are giving yourself.  Make sure they reflect a positive message.

If you use negative self-talk this is just as distructive as drinking an entire bottle of vodka or using a blade to cut yourself.  Of course, if you drink that much you most likely will be hugging the toilet.  If you cut yourself, you will have physical scars.  When you “cut yourself down” with words – you may not necessarily see a scar – but the wounds can be just as deep.  Stop the negative self-talk.   Physical problems – stomachaches, headaches etc. can result from the psychological wounds caused by low self-esteem.

Changing old patterns and belief systems isn’t always so easy.  A start is being aware of how you perceive yourself.  If you’re playing the same old negative record, it needs to stop.  Awareness is the key.  Don’t give your personal power away to another person.  Every day make sure you come up with at least two or three things about yourself, which are positive.

When was the last time you gave yourself a compliment and really took it to heart?  When did you receive a compliment from someone else and you were able to accept it graciously?

Another issue associated with low self-esteem relates to giving.  Would you much rather give to others than receive?  It may very well be that receiving from others makes you extremely uncomfortable. I once heard a speaker, Tom Mahas, say, “It is impossible to just breathe out, or just breathe in.  You need to do both to live.”   Someone who gives all the time, and never receives breathes out and never breathes in.  A person cannot function this way.  It also can mean that others are quick to take advantage of you, which also impacts self-esteem.  Create more balance in your life.  When someone wants to do something nice, or you receive a compliment – say one phrase – “Thank you” and be done.


1.  Georgia and Karen go shopping.  Karen criticizes everything Georgia tries on  – Georgia’s butt is too big in one pair of jeans, too tight in another, top makes her look busty or it’s the wrong color for her skin tone.  Karen tries on clothes and looks fabulous.  She’s thinner than Georgia, but still complains that “nothing looks great on her.”  Georgia (who weighs at least 10 lbs more than Karen) praises Karen, even when Karen denies that she looks great.  Karen buys clothes and Georgia walks out with nothing.  Who has the self-esteem issues?  They both do.  Karen cuts Georgia down to feel better about herself (this is egocentric behavior, but it’s related directly to low self-esteem.)  Georgia has low self-esteem becasue she allows Karen to walk all over her, to “make” her feel lousy, and dictate what she would or wouldn’t buy.  Georgia gave away her personal power and feels terrible about herself.  Obviously, this is a toxic relationship.

Solution:  Good friends can talk about it, which is not always easy at any age.  First and foremost, a person with low self-esteem needs to reflect inward.  Who do you surround yourself with?  Do these people reflect your negative self-talk and qualities?  If they do, then maybe you need to start hanging around with people who will reflect the positive in you, instead of the negative.

2.  What if the scenario is with a parent?  What if a parent is telling you that you’re too fat, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not athletic enough (a klutz)?

Solution:  Adults say these things all the time and I can bet that the majority of them are saying these things because THEY had issues when they were kids, or they’re struggling now.  You must be direct with your parent(s).  You can either allow it to continue or be straight with him/her on how it makes you feel.  Please take a look at  How To Talk To My Parents So That They Will Listen http://www.whorublog.com/?p=361 I know it’s not easy and if after you are clear and open with them on how their communication hurts you, then you have a choice:  Do you want to continue walking around and being a wounded soul or do you want to see the good within yourself (and others) and surround yourself with individuals who see the good in you too?  Sometimes people just aren’t capable of giving what we need.  Instead of filling that void with material things or by making bad choices (binge drinking, doing drugs) you can find a outlet for all the good that is within you!  This universe is certainly big enough that if you’re willing, there are teachers, rabbis, ministers, volunteer organizations who have awesome adult mentors who will be thrilled to listen to you and guide you.  The key is not to give up on yourself or your abilities, even when others do.  One last important thing to remember:  Parents make mistakes. Some parents can take ownership of them, and some cannot.  Do the best you can.  It’s not always easy to let others off the hook for their faults, but it is easier when you see that the issues ARE THEIR ISSUES and not absorb them onto you.  You have to do the best you can with the tools you have and continue to move forward in a positive way.

3.  This scenario is incredibly common:  Mom and Dad tell you that you are not doing your best work at school, even though you have been trying hard and are putting in extra study time.  You’re not allowed to talk to friends for more than a few minutes a night because you have “to put more time into grades.”  You’ve been getting mostly As and a few Bs.  But it’s not just good enough.  You feel lousy about yourself and resent your parents.

Solution:  First, calmly speak to your parents.   Let your parents know how their words hurt you.  “I hear you telling me that I am ____.   Do you really feel this way about me, or did I not understand?  This really hurts me.  Please take a look at  How To Talk To My Parents So That They Will Listen http://www.whorublog.com/?p=361

Show them your work.  Create an action plan.  Set clear boundries and stick with them.

Know that the toughest issue with parents and children is that parents do have power and can and do say things that are hurtful.  Of course, this influences one’s perception on self.  But the bottom line is you may never change your parents, they may never change you… so ultimately you will have to make a choice.  Will you allow their issues destroy how you feel about yourself, or will you find the beauty within?

Today, smile at a stranger and see how that person smiles back.  One extra smile can help light up the world.  It also can make your day!

When you do something small for another person, like hold a door open, say ‘hello,’ ask ‘may I help you?’ or pick up the phone to call a family member or friend just to say, ‘hey, I was thinking about you and wanted to let you know that I (love you) (care about you) (miss you)…  One simple act, can make someone else’s day special – imagine what it will do for you?!

Please check back.  Will add to this post soon.

One Response  
WhoRuBlog » Blog Archive » Teens/YA Binge Drinking, Hook ups, and Self-Esteem writes:
January 25th, 2010 at 2:31 pm

[…] Low Self-Esteem or Feeling Unworthy […]

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