Written by Karl Perera, MA, DipLC
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On this page I will give some real-life self esteem examples to help you understand clearly how low self esteem can affect you. Sometimes it helps to look at concrete examples to compare with your own experience. It’s also very helpful to have examples so that you can better understand what self esteem issues look like and what they can mean to those that have them. I don’t believe you can get this from the theory only. So if you’re looking for practical examples of self-esteem and how they can help then you’ve come to the right place!
It can be helpful to look at self esteem examples in order to understand how the level of self-esteem can affect you. Here are examples of different kinds of self esteem, both low and high, and some examples of its treatment.
If you’re ready to delve into real-life self esteem examples, whether to help yourself by finding out more or in order to help others, then I can help. With over twenty years of experience and one published book on this topic, I’m your guy! Self esteem, however, is quite complex and research into its effects and treatment is ongoing. Let me demystify it by showing you some examples, rather than talking about the theory.
What are Some Examples of Low Self Esteem?
Here are some examples of what those with low self esteem might say to themselves:
- “I’m an awful friend, person, brother, sister, daughter, son“… etc.
- “I’m not as good/ kind/ honest/ capable/ pretty/ good-looking as her/ him/ them …..”
- “I don’t deserve X, Y or Z“
- “I’m hopeless/ stupid/ disgusting“….etc.
- “There’s no point”
- “I can’t”
- “I’m too scared to try”
- “I’m afraid what others will think if I fail”
- “Your problems are far worse than mine”
- “I’m not sure I can do it”
- “I wish I had more confidence to do this”
Now let’s see a few examples of people who have low self esteem. These are completely anonymous and the information is based on experience dealing with those who are trying to build self esteem and confidence that I have worked with or corresponded with.
Here are some examples of what people do when they have low self esteem:
Negative Thoughts and Feelings
Those with low self esteem levels often think very negatively, especially about themselves. They worry about what others think about them. These worries can be either about appearance or about how they imagine others regard their behaviour or personality.
For example, someone I really admire is Karen carpenter, the singer who died because of an eating disorder. The story goes that she once read words from a critic claiming that she was fat and because of how she thought about herself, she believed it. This may or may not be true, however, this article in the Irish Independent gives a different view. So began an obsession to lose weight. A huge musical talent and a wonderful person was lost to the world all because of what she believed about herself, and the inner struggles that were the result of her mental state. God bless her!
Others with low self esteem think about themselves only in a negative way. Their thinking is dominated by the negative words and comments of others. They worry about how they look and think that everybody else is more attractive or thinner or fitter, or something else. They imagine that life is out of their control and that others are better then they are, kinder, more honest, more popular or whatever, the list goes on.
Poor self-worth can bring with it feelings of self doubt and lack of confidence. This can be very general, causing someone to believe they are hopeless at everything they try. They may fear trying new challenges or getting out of their comfort zone. They may fear rejection or embarrassment in front of others. Giving a presentation or speech, for example can become quite terrifying!
Attitudes Toward Success
Positive thinking is essential to success. Mindset is so important in so many areas of life, in business, in studies and to achieve goals. Negative thinking caused by self esteem issues is an obstacle that makes success even more difficult to achieve. In some cases such is the level of negativity that the result is self sabotage. Often those who suffer from low self esteem fail to understand how their feelings and thoughts are preventing them from succeeding in their goals.
With a lack of confidence and self esteem one can often expect failure and when someone with this mentality fails, they justify their negative thinking and self doubt. The sense that they do not deserve success may eventually result.
What are Some Examples of High Self Esteem?
In Young People
Let’s consider examples of high self esteem as outlined in this article from 2002:
A young person with high self esteem is less likely to act in a risky way, and will probably be an achiever both in education and in sports. One important influence which can cause issues in a youngster is peer pressure. A higher level of self-esteem can help a young person resist this pressure and stay away from the dangers of smoking, drugs and drinking. Depression is also less likely to be a problem.
King et al. (2002) also explain that high self esteem also helps young people to interact effectively with peers, teachers and the school system which helps them achieve academic success. In the same article the point is made that such youngsters learn how to communicate and interact socially and this helps them foster feelings of belonging and support from both parents and teachers. It is likely therefore, that such a person may be happier and will become more confident in making important life decisions.
From this high self esteem example it can be seen how positive an influence this can have on a person while young and also can prepare a youngster well for the future.
Here are Some Healthy Self Esteem Examples
As we age it seems that we tend to focus our thoughts more on the positive, whereas younger people often do the opposite. This research by Meier et al. (2011) suggests that as we get older we experienced more healthy and stable levels of self-esteem. The article also claims that adults seem to be more open and have a more positive attitude, which would correspond with more healthy levels of self esteem.
The above does seem to agree with my own personal experience where I had problems as a young boy and into my teens it got worse as my low self esteem afflicted me quite badly. I suffered from
As I have got older, and now in my fifties, I feel much more secure and confident and my level of self esteem has risen considerably from where it was years ago when I was at school. With each passing stage of my life, I have become more positive and open to new ideas. I believe that now my emotions are quite stable after suffering from negative mood swings and bouts of depression which began in my teens and only improved into my forties. This my own personal example and experience.
Examples of Things That Can Cause Problems With Self Esteem
There are so many factors that can influence our level of self esteem. These can include physical appearance, health, job, education, achievement, communication skills, social interaction and many more. Let’s take a look at some specific examples.
Examples of Problems Men Can Face
- Baldness and losing hair can be a problem which is why some consider a hair transplant.
- Looking out of shape. For example, the beer belly can be a problem as it begins to develop with drinking. Solutions are obvious – go to the gym and do some push ups and cut down on the alcohol. This will have benefits all round.
- Problems at work, unemployment etc.
- Relationship issues
Examples That Women May Face
Much the same issues that men face except that generally women are more sensitive to appearance and body image issues.
I think this has covered most of the self esteem examples we usually see. Hopefully, this will have helped you to understand a little better what exactly self esteem is and what it means for different people and ages.
- Irish Independent Website. (2010). The Real Reason Karen Carpenter Was Driven to Anorexia. https://www.independent.ie/life/the-real-reason-karen-carpenter-was-driven-to-anorexia-26703889.html
- King, K. A., Vidourek, R. A., Davis, B., & McClellan, W. (2002). Increasing self‐esteem and school connectedness through a multidimensional mentoring program. Journal of school health, 72(7), 294-299.
- Meier, L. L., Orth, U., Denissen, J. J., & Kühnel, A. (2011). Age differences in instability, contingency, and level of self-esteem across the life span. Journal of Research in Personality, 45(6), 604-612.
Website Author and Your Guide
Karl Perera is a fully qualified Life Coach (DipLC), Teacher (MA), and author of the book Self Esteem Secrets. He has taught at various universities including Durham, Leicester and Anglia Ruskin, Cambridge. He has run More-SelfEsteem.com since 1997 since suffering from low self esteem for more than 25 years overcoming it in his thirties.