Low self-esteem is something that we will all wrestle with at some point in our lives. It’s common to doubt yourself from time to time but it can become a real issue if your self-esteem problems spiral out of control. Low self-esteem is a common factor in many mental health issues, especially depression and anxiety, so if you want to look after your mental health, it’s important that you understand why you have low self esteem in the first place. 

There are a lot of reasons that people lack confidence and feel bad about themselves and once you are able to recognize the reasons, you can start to improve your situation. These are some of the most common reasons for the problems and how to improve low self-esteem. 

Body Image Problems

So many of us are unhappy with the way that we look and that can lead to self-esteem issues. There are a lot of different reasons for body image problems and there are some simple ways that you can feel better about yourself. Things like bad teeth, for example, often make people feel self conscious and if you get veneers fitted, you will notice that you are much more confident. If you are conscious about your weight, starting a diet and exercise plan can give you the self-esteem boost that you are looking for. Making positive lifestyle changes can make you feel more comfortable with the way that you look and improve your self-esteem. However, it’s important that you also learn acceptance. 

There will always be things about your appearance that you want to change but it’s important that you learn to separate that from your self-worth and be happy with yourself as you are. That doesn’t mean that you cannot make positive changes if you want to, but don’t rely on changing the way that you look to be happy because you will never be satisfied. Studies also show that being outside in nature has a positive impact on the way that you view your body image, so if you don’t spend much time outside, you should make an effort to get in touch with nature.

Negative People

Surrounding yourself with the right people is so important if you want to take care of your mental health. It’s very easy to think negatively about yourself if the people around you are confirming those beliefs. Some people are very negative and they will put you down at every opportunity instead of encouraging and supporting you. When you surround yourself with these kinds of people, your self-esteem will always be low and it’s difficult to improve your confidence. 

Unfortunately, these negative people are often family members or close friends that are a big part of your life. But even though the idea of cutting these people out seems incredibly difficult, you should think carefully about what you gain from the relationship. If being around a person only makes you feel worse about yourself, is that a relationship that you really want to maintain? Before cutting people out completely, talk to them about how you feel and let them know that their negative comments affect you. A lot of people may not realize what they are doing and they will change their behavior. If they are not willing to change, you need to consider whether you still want to be around them or not. 

Excessive Social Media Use

Social media is a great tool for communicating with friends and family and sharing things, but it does have its downsides. People that use social media excessively often have big problems with their self-esteem because they get into the habit of comparing their own life with the things they see on social media. When everybody is posting about all of the fun things they’re doing and how great their life is, it’s easy to feel bad about yourself and feel like you’re missing out. But it’s important to remember that people only show you the good things and leave out all of the bad stuff. Most people are probably going through the same issues that you are and their life isn’t any different to yours, you just don’t see all of the struggles that they are having at work or the self-esteem issues that they have themselves. 

People that struggle with body image issues need to be especially careful with social media. A lot of the images that you see are heavily edited and when you start comparing your own body to those impossible standards, it can make you feel very bad about the way you look. 

If you find that self-esteem is a problem for you, it may be worth cutting back on your social media use a little, especially if you are scrolling all day long. Reducing social media usage will also give you more free time and encourage you to put yourself out there and try different things, which has a very positive impact on your self-esteem. You don’t have to give it up completely, but try to cut back and, most importantly, see it for what it is. 


People that have been through a traumatic event in the past often have self-esteem issues. It is not always immediately obvious that this is the cause of the self-esteem problems so people do not necessarily realize that their trauma is affecting them. Many people blame themselves for traumatic events and this causes low self-esteem later in life, which only gets worse if it is not addressed. 

If you have been through something traumatic and you don’t feel as though you have really dealt with it, it’s important that you seek professional help. Seeing a counsellor or therapist and talking about the issue can make a huge difference and you may come to realize that trauma is the cause of a lot of your self-esteem issues. 

Low self-esteem can quickly lead to more serious mental health issues so it is important that you tackle it right away. Understanding the causes is the first step before you look to improve low self esteem, so you should consider whether you are affected by any of the things on this list. 

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