Low Self-Esteem: A Part of Anxiety

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How to Spot Low Self-Esteem and Overcome it

You may have landed on this website looking for help with anxiety or anger. But, did you know that low self-esteem plays a part in driving anxiety? Here’s an overview of the signs to look for, what causes low self-esteem and what you can do to help yourself.

Signs of Low Self-Esteem

See if your experience fits any of the following:

  • Do you feel as if you have low self-worth compared to others?
  • Do you habitually put yourself down?
  • Is it your go-to behaviour to blame yourself when things don’t go well?
  • Are you aware that you work much harder than anyone else to be acceptable?
  • Do you feel you have to control yourself because you believe you will mess up?

If you answered “yes” to any of these, you likely answered “yes” to all of them. These thoughts about yourself are the signs of low self-esteem.

The Causes of Low Self-Esteem

There may be many different causes of low self-esteem. Not feeling pleased with yourself generally comes along with other issues. You probably feel anxious and depressed: you worry about the future because you have developed a negative way of seeing the past. This is called a negative filter. You worry about what you have said and done because you feel others see you in a negative light. But it is actually you just trying to work out how others see you – not an easy task anyway.

Anxiety: Not Sure of Yourself

If you have a negative opinion of yourself, you will likely try not to stand out. Worrying what others might think of you is typical of anxiety because the uncertainty leaves you an opportunity to entertain all kinds of “what-if” thoughts.

This means you can do amazing things all day long but fixate on the only thing you did wrong. Since you can only focus on one thing at a time, all the positives fade into the background, leaving you feeling disappointed with yourself. Moreover, you might turn to self-blaming and beating yourself up.

No way will that help you improve your low self-worth.

Frustration or Anger

The frustration with yourself compounds your feelings of discontent with yourself. Try as you might, you can’t seem to get it right. You think you should be able to do everything naturally, without worrying about it: after all, everyone else just seems to get on with it; why can’t you?

Your experience of not being able to “achieve” things in the way you expected leads you to feel other emotions, especially anger with yourself. “What’s wrong with you?” you might say to yourself. You feel life is just a series of disappointments, and YOU are the cause.


The “logical” thing is to believe that you are somehow faulty, as that would explain all of the above. So, you don’t feel you are as “worthy” as others, which maintains low self-esteem.

Compare and Despair

This really compounds your feelings of low self-esteem. Everyone else seems to be doing fine because that’s all you notice; your negative filter is only noticing the things that fit your view of things, so you are missing out on seeing everything there.

How Counselling Can Help You Overcome Low Self-Esteem

Over the sessions, all your issues around yourself: your negative thoughts about yourself and the intense feelings that present themselves naturally dissipate. The work we do in talking openly allows you to notice your negative filter and when you are hard on yourself.

You learn to look and see not what you expect, but what is actually there – who you really are/what you are really like – aren’t these just the same thing?

A Sense of Self

The sense of self or direct experience of who you are helps ground you because it is something you can be sure of. That may not be so easy to understand right now but think about it for a while – mull it over if you like: If you know who you are, then you will know how to be that person.

It’s far easier to be who you are, whether imperfect or not – and far, far kinder to yourself.

In this scenario, this is not a fear-based stance, like most of the above, but a goal-driven direction.

How Will This Happen?

I’m with Dr Carl Rogers on this: he said that counselling is a mystical process. Therefore, it’s not easy to say how it works, but it’s good news that it does.

However, it has been my consistent experience of working as a counsellor that, over time, you will naturally overcome low self-esteem because the truth will appear as you talk more about your daily life. And, as Jesus Christ says, “The truth will set you free“.

It’s as if YOU are the cure for YOU.

Why Can’t I Just “pull myself together?”

You see yourself as faulty, so how could you achieve it? On the other hand, if you could have done this, how come you haven’t already? You may take the meaning from this that you just can’t, that is, because you are faulty – it just proves it.

The truth is that having another person – one you can trust, who is on your side – to respond as a natural person as you discuss your issues would help you develop that sense of self which is so empowering. with that, you could soon break the chain linking low self-worth and needing to deserve love. Then you could be yourself – a complete person.

It’s a natural process and takes as long as it takes – an unknown quantity at the start of counselling. However, things get clearer over time, including the sight of that light at the end of the tunnel getting larger and larger.

What Are You Waiting For?

I know – this seems challenging. However, you probably have waited longer than you needed to, hoping something will change for you. Let me ask you, “What actually has changed?” or better still, “What have you done to make changes?”

I will leave it up to you to contact me to ask about entering counselling with me. I see this as your choice and yours alone, but I wish you well on your journey, and who knows? Maybe our paths will cross one day, my friend.

God bless.

Header photo by Unsplash

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