Low Self-Confidence - Signs, Causes And Self-Help

Self-confidence is simply a belief in one’s abilities and keeping up a sense of competence. It’s about how we see and value ourselves and our beliefs and opinions of ourselves. Low self-confidence, also known as low self-esteem, can therefore be described as a lack of self-worth and of trust in one’s own abilities and proficiency. Such beliefs can be really difficult to change. In this feature we’re going to look at low self-confidence – the signs, causes and self help options available.

Clearly a high level of self-confidence can aid success, whilst low self-confidence can create obsticles and blocks to ones ambitions, goals, success and overall happiness.

Studies have revealed that low self-confidence victims are very often hypersensitive. They have a weak sense of self that can easily be offended. In fact, according to Rosenberg and Owens, people with low self-confidence are conscious and observant of signs of unacceptance, rebuff as well as inadequacy. They are often pessimistic in that they judge themselves as wrong even when they aren’t.

Low self-esteem can stem from a wide variety of different factors – each specific to the individual. It can change suddenly or been around for a long time. It can be overcome though and the best way is to address the specific factors head on. And it’s really important that it is addressed as low self-esteem can impact negatively on life as it can leave the sufferer feeling incompetent, unlovable, and prevent you making the most of life.

10 Questions To Judge Your Own Self-Confidence


Answer the following 10 questions (honestly … no cheating) in order to judge your own levels of self-confidence.

  1. Do you like yourself?
  2. Do you value yourself?
  3. Are you assertive?
  4. Can you make decissions?
  5. Do you know your strengths?
  6. Can you move on from your own mistakes easily?
  7. Are you able to try out new experiences or difficult things?
  8. Are you able to put yourself first when you need to?
  9. Do you believe in your own self-worth and hence believe you’re good enough?
  10. Do you believe you deserve to be happy?

If you answer no to any one of the above your self-confidence could be improved. If you answer no to most of them you should really consider taking action.

5 Signs of Low Self-Confidence Or Self-Esteem


There are said to be 5 specific signs of low self-confidence:

1: Sensitivity To Criticism

No one truly like to be criticised but most of us can take it, learn from it and move on. Anyone with low self-esteem will take it to heart, be upset by it and feel they are not good enough. Criticism will leave tem with a reluctance to try again or, indeed, to push themselves or try out new / unfamiliar things in order to avoid potential future criticism.

2: Social Withdrawal

People with low self-esteem are less inclined to interact with others because of the fear that they may discover their weaknesses. They are more likely to avoid social occasions and events and prefer to spend time on their own. Conflicts should be avoided at all times and things should be said or done just to please others.

3: Hostility

Feelings of hurt or being an outcast along with criticism or things not going your way can sometimes present themselves in the form of anger or rage. It can feel like the only way to cope with low self-esteem and it can be used as a weopon to get back at the ones who triggered to feelings.

4: Excessive Preoccupation With Personal Problems

A classic symptom of low self-confidence is that “glass half empty” approach. A complete focus on everything that is wrong with your life and all the problems you have instead of the positives.

5: Physical Symptoms Such As Fatigue, Insomnia And Headaches

Low-self-esteem is associated with numerous physical side effects including fatigue, difficulty sleeping, headaches and lethargy.

Left unchecked these symptoms will, at best, affeft your quality of life and ability to reach your goals. At worst they can develop into anxiety or depression and may even result in self harm or suicidal thoughts. This is why we always encourage anyone to work on and build their own self-confidence levels.

Reasons For Low Self-Confidence


Learning about the causes of low self-esteem is a significant step towards enhancing it. It is imperative to know that having low self-confidence is not your fault and can be a result of numerous different factors such as genes, childhood experiences, relationships, cultural background, stress, problems and worries amongst others.

Here are the reasons why people have low-self confidence:

Genetic Makeup

When we say it’s in the genes there may be some trut in it! Studies have in fact proven that our genetic buildup can affect the levels of confidence boosting chemicals (such as Serotonin which we associate with happiness) driven to the brain. This means that certain areas of self confidence may be passed down the genetic line.

Life Experiences

This is one of the most common causes of low self-esteem. Common because it’s such a wide ranging category which includes (amongst others) such things as:
  • Trauma
  • Abuse
  • Parenting Styles
  • Negative Peers
  • Bullying
  • Harrassment
  • Humiliation
  • Body Image
  • Unrealistic Goals And Expectations
  • Historical Bad Decisions
  • Negative Thought Patterns
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Sexual Orientation

To be honest, it’s often very difficult to establish the exact trigger(s) of low self-confidence as every single case is different to the next. There may be one single cause or multiple triggers making it even harder to get to the root of the issue.

Don’t confuse low self-confidence with a mental health problem. The two issues are closely linked but different. However, left unchecked over a long period, low self-confidence can progress into a mental health condition in the form of depression, anxiety or similar.

6 Steps To Build Your Self-Confidence


You are amazing, you are incredible and don’t your forget it! You need to feel your sense of worth and work on the following specific areas:

1: Recognise Your Strengths

Everyone is good at something so find what you’re good at, recognise it and focus on it rather than everything that you’re not good at. It could be a particular sport, a subject, singing, dancing, crosswords … anything.

2: Surround Yourself With The Right People

Ditch the people who bring you down and build new relationships with positive people who appreciate you for who you are.

3: Learn To Love Yourself

You are incredible and worthy of love so start by loving and looking after yourself properly.

4: Be Assertive

Respect others but, in return, expect them to respect you and your opinions, views and needs.

5: Challenge Yourself

Get out of your comfort zone and push yourself to try new things  and take on new challenges – it’ll make you feel amazing.

6: The New You Says “NO”

It’s time to stop being pushed around, put yourself first, take control and stop doing everything that’s asked of you. That means saying NO at the appropriate time. People will respect you so much more for it.

Self-Help For Self-Confidence


There’s no shame in taking a little help and there’s many options out there – therapy, spirituality, CBT etc. One specific treatment option you could consider is hypnotherapy.

Hypnosis can work very quickly by changing the way you feel on an subconscious level. In effect you’re not trying to force confidence on yourself. Instead, you’re changing your mindset to a confident one on autopilot.

We suggest that you take a look at the variety of different self-confidence hypnosis programs over at Uncommon Knowledge. Not only are they incredibly effective they’re also amazing value for money too – costing just a few $s or £s!

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