Top 8 Circumstances That Challenge Your Self-Esteem

Written by Paisley Hansen
Updated: May 21st, 2020

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As human beings, everyone has regular ups and downs, but there are some instances in life that can have a profound impact on one’s sense of self-worth. Whether real or imagined, these situations can wreak havoc on a person’s confidence. Some of these issues can be fixed through actions while others can only be repaired from introspection (see Wikipedia definition) . Here are eight factors that affect self esteem negatively and how to tackle them.

Young girl smiling - but there are many factors that affect self esteem

Your Appearance

For most people, self-esteem, according to VeryWellMind is primarily related to how they perceive their own appearance. Each person has unique qualities, but mainstream media hypes their own skewed versions of acceptable norms that are anything but normal. Meanwhile back in reality, you have special characteristics and even beautiful flaws that are all your own. If you accentuate your amazing features and let your own style shine through, people will gravitate towards your positive demeanor.

Employment Status

Too many people let their employment status affect the way they see themselves. Therefore, your job is one of the main factors that affect self esteem negatively. It’s one thing to truly dislike your job, in which case you can move on to something else. It’s quite another to not feel good enough because of it. Remember, your job does not define you as a person. If it’s just a means to a paycheck, then do your best and know it’s temporary until you reach your goal. If you’re unemployed, consider temporary work that could open doors to a permanent position.

Financial Woes Affect your Self esteem

Mounting debt and struggling to make payments can take a toll on anyone regardless of social status. There is a connection between finances and self esteem. Carrying around the heavy burden of bills that never get paid off can cause depression and loss of faith in yourself. Figuring out a realistic way of getting those outstanding bills paid off is one of the most liberating things you can do for yourself. 

Material Possessions

Directly related to jobs and finances, some people use material possessions to boost their feelings of worth. Material possessions are one of the main factors that affect self esteem negatively because they indicate status. The harsh reality is a short-lived high until the next lavish source of happiness comes along. Instead of getting caught in this thankless cycle, begin to embrace living with less and concentrate on non-material sources of pleasure such as family, friends, traveling or even volunteering. When you start to feed your soul, instead of accumulating more things, you’ll find true joy with yourself.

Your Age

One of the most difficult facts of life is that everyone ages. While some age gracefully, others struggle terribly. These people feel like they’ve lost their luster and can’t compete with a younger generation. Since you can’t change your age, work on your outlook instead. Now’s the time to really appreciate all you’ve achieved and decide what else you want to accomplish. You can still get into shape or do that traveling you’ve always wanted. Age is just a number and you’ve got experience on your side, so go out and show the world how it’s done.

Lack of a Relationship

If you’re single, or have just gotten out of a relationship, it can seem like everyone has the perfect relationship except you. This illusion can create doubts and fear that you are unlovable as a person. The reality is that your ego has taken a hit, but your worth is not based on another person or their opinion of you. Taking time to get to know yourself should be your priority now. When you really learn self-love and appreciation, the right people will come into your life.

Level of Education

There comes a time in life when most people either wish they’d gone further with their education, or had chosen a different path entirely. Not being qualified for a certain job and seeing others advance in their careers can affect a person’s morale. The beauty is that you can return to school, or take online classes, no matter how old you are. It’s never too late to get that degree or become certified in something that really interests you and takes your job to a new level.

Family Support Unit

As much as people work on their self-confidence, having a support unit such as a spouse, family and friends certainly doesn’t hurt, but what happens if you’re alone? Those without that important support base have an extra challenge. This is when it’s important to reach out to faraway friends through phone calls and social media. If possible, make every effort to find new friends by getting involved in activities that you’re passionate about.

External Factors

So many of these external factors can negatively influence the way people feel about themselves on the inside. Whether you’re affected by one or more of these personal dilemmas, each can be resolved through self-reflection, or actively seeking a solution. The steps you take will help you navigate the path toward developing a more positive outlook on yourself. 

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Website Author and Editor Bio

Photo of Karl Perera, MA, DipLC Karl Perera is a fully qualified Life Coach, Teacher and author of Self Esteem Secrets. His qualifications include Masters and DipLC. He has taught at various universities including Durham, Leicester and Anglia Ruskin, Cambridge. He has run More-SelfEsteem.com since 1997 and is an expert in Self Esteem and Self Development.