Low self-esteem can result from various factors, including genetic factors, physical appearance or weight, mental health issues, socioeconomic status, peer pressure or bullying.
A person with low self-esteem may show some of the following characteristics:
- Heavy self-criticism and dissatisfaction.
- Hypersensitivity to criticism with resentment against critics and feelings of being attacked.
- Chronic indecision and an exaggerated fear of mistakes.
- Excessive will to please and unwillingness to displease any petitioner.
- Perfectionism, which can lead to frustration when perfection is not achieved.
- Neurotic guilt, dwelling on and/or exaggerating the magnitude of past mistakes.
- Floating hostility and general defensiveness and irritability without any proximate cause.
- Pessimism and a general negative outlook.
- Envy, invidiousness, or general resentment.
- Sees temporary setbacks as permanent, intolerable conditions.
When given negative feedback, individuals with low self-esteem often take it personally, and can be devastated by it. This damage can be much more severe if the feedback is harsh or directly criticizes the individual’s worth, moral character, achievements, etc. Individuals with low self-esteem are very critical of themselves and depend on the approval and praise of others for their own evaluation of self-worthiness. They believe that a person’s approval of them is dependent on their performance, whether it be academic, relationship, etc. People with low self-esteem view their likeability in terms of successes: others will accept them if they succeed but will not if they fail.