Low Self-Esteem: The Silent Killer

Fact: Stress has a detrimental impact on our body, mind state and overall well-being An over abundance of stress reeks havoc on our immune, endocrine, gastrointestinal and basically ALL physiological/biological systems. Our nervous systems are not wired to maintain inordinate “fight-or-flight” responses. Habitual, excessive and untreated stress can severely damage our bodies, minds and overall health.

Stress is indeed a “silent killer”, but there may be something worse: low self-esteem. 
That may sound silly to some. Someone with low self-esteem may be depicted as quiet, passive or unconfident. The other side of the coin are the perfectionists, with flawless or even outrageous appearances. Low self-esteem may appear to be a personality, behavioral or emotional issue from the outside… 

Would you believe it if I told you that low self-esteem was worse for you than a chronic disease? 

Low self-esteem is not only detrimental to your happiness and wellbeing, it’s cancer to your life. 

Self-esteem is the deep seated belief we hold about ourselves. We regard these beliefs as “the truth”, as “fact” and act in accordance to those ideas. The “self” develops an internal belief of “who it is” from life experiences, particularly early childhood/adolescence when one is capable of self-awareness. Self-concepts are shaped by a combination of factors: social comparison, what we’re told, things that happened to us, situations we experienced, etc. Negative or traumatic experiences, unstable upbringing, abandonment, abuse and conditioning often lead to the formation of low self-worth. 

It’s normal to lack confidence sometimes, but those with genuine low self-esteem tend to share similar characteristics:

  • Is extremely critical of themselves and sometimes others 
  • Downplays or ignores their positive qualities 
  • Judges themselves to be inferior to their peers
  • Exaggerated concern with what others think/how they’re perceived
  • Has negative, critical and self-sabotaging self talk
  • Assumes that luck plays a large role in their achievements and doesn’t give themselves credit 
  • Blames themselves when things go wrong 
  • Doesn’t believe a person who compliments them, can’t accept compliments 
  • The constant comparisons, criticism, judgment, feelings of hopelessness, self-doubt, guilt, worthlessness, shame, disgust and pity are the core beliefs of those with low self-esteem. Such negative and self-critical thoughts will only attract such experiences into our lives. 
    These habitual, deep seated thoughts/feelings/opinions are what prevent someone from living life to the fullest. Pessimism, judgment and lack of confidence are at the core of self-sabotage …a “game” those with low self-esteem know all too well. 
    Such ideals and feelings may induce anxiety, stress, depression, eating disorders, self harming or other mental disorders. 
    Some people may choose to check out mentally or escape with drugs and alcohol. 
    Some become compliant servants to their thoughts and neglect their wants/needs, ignore their health and prevent themselves from setting/pursuing goals. 
    Many of us living in complacency aren’t even aware that we are creating such a life. 
    That right there is what makes low self-esteem so dangerous. It silently and pervasively spews it’s venom in all areas of our lives, hindering vitality and well-being. 
    Low self-esteem is a toxin than kills drive, dreams, ambition, confidence and authentic happiness. 
    At the end of the day these “truths” are really just thoughts, more like habits. In order to change them, we must acknowledge our thoughts and accept them for what they are: opinions, negative self-talk, ideas. These passing thoughts are not who we are, they are not real. 
    I’ve struggled with low self-esteem my whole life. For the first 19 years, I was a slave to my thoughts and negative self-view. I not only mindlessly lived out my self-fulfilling prophecies, I spent years escaping and numbing my thoughts with toxic relationships, drugs, alcohol and self destruction. I held a “woah is me” mentality and couldn’t understand why life was so unfair.  
    Essentially, my life experiences made me a “poster child” for an adult with low self-esteem. Yes, I was dealt a bad hand, but that doesn’t make me less of a person or forced to live a mundane life, bound to my circumstances. Bad things happened to me, but my life doesn’t have to be a reflection of them. 
    Once I discovered meditation and mindfulness, I realized what I needed to do all along: listen to my thoughts. To stop running from what I didn’t want to feel/hear, because acknowledging them was the first step to changing them.

    We believe what we want to believe. 
    Each time we engage in a self-monologue we have the CHOICE to believe what were “told”. 
    The mind is an extraordinarily powerful tool.  
    I have ups and downs: spurts of positivity and drive, followed by bouts of cynicism and insecurity.  For the most part, I think this is just human nature. 
    Eventually, I realize I’m doing a disservice to myself by becoming bored, (self) critical and neglecting my goals/wants/needs…. And it becomes time to replace the negative chatter with positive affirmations. 
    So, right now I replace “I hate my job, I feel like a loser working somewhere unrelated to what I want to do/in a position where I’m overqualified” with “You are fortunate enough to have a steady job that gives you the freedom to work on your own business/school. It’s stress-free and temporary while you develop and strengthen yourself/your business/client base“. 
    Replace “Everyone judges me and thinks I’m lazy & stupid” to “Who gives a shit what anyone thinks. I’m going to make the best out of what I have. Today I’ll be the best version of me” 
    Replace “I am drifting through life, I’m worthless and not good enough” with “I need to cut myself some slack, because I have overcome an incredible amount of adversity. I’ve pieced my life back together after hitting rock bottom. I am capable and will achieve my goals.” 
    Instead of being defensive, I will be humble and open minded. 
    Instead of accentuating the negative, I will look at the positive. 
    Instead of fearing critique and judgment, I will stop critiquing and judging myself. 
    Unlike real diseases and cancers, these “silent killers” really have no power over us IF we choose to listen…. 

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