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How to Build Self-Esteem (And Does it Even Matter?) | Mark Manson

Accept your low self-esteem

First, give yourself the headspace to work on a solution by accepting your feelings surrounding your low self-esteem. Your feelings are temporary. Accept them for the moment. Don't cover them up. Don't try to overcompensate for them.

Put your focus on the skills you need to acquire, not on how you feel.

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Symptoms of a Low Self-Esteem
Symptoms of a Low Self-Esteem

The most common symptoms are:

  • Not trusting your own opinion
  • Always overthinking
  • Afraid to take on a challenge
  • Hard on yourself but lenient with others
  • Frequent anxiety and emotional turmoil

Lesser-known symptoms are being a workaholic, and either overachieving or underachieving.

What Causes A Low Self-Esteem

Causes of low self-esteem are often traced back to negative early childhood experiences, such as frequent punishment or neglect, chronic abuse, bullying, and lack of affection.

We form our bottom line (how people treat us) in childhood. Based on the bottom line, we form our "Rules for Living," which are strategies for dealing with life.

Having Low Self-Esteem: The Consequences
  • You expect people to mistreat you. When people are friendly to you, you can easily mistake it for love and scare them away.
  • It makes you have a lower hand in the relationship. You may bear things in a relationship that you shouldn't stand for.
  • Though you may be very gifted, you may not know how to show it and make it difficult for your employers to appreciate your talents. During a meeting, people with low self-esteem will keep quiet or speak weakly. During daily conversations, they say sorry and maybe too often.
  • It can lead to depression.
Our inner 'demons'

Our inner Demons, or inner voices, make us do irrational, stupid and selfish things, based out of fear.

We hide and distract ourselves from our inner voice, which is nothing but our fear and insecurities, talking to us.

Our common negative parts

Some of our common 'demons' are:

  • Procrastination
  • Laziness
  • Self-loathing
  • Comparing yourself with your peers, leading to envy
  • Loser mentality.
The downward spiral

Our inner demons lead us to negatively judge ourselves, further leading to avoiding that judgment, and eventually starting the internal self-destruction, if the negative downward spiral is left unchecked.

Mark Manson

“Life is essentially an endless series of problems—the solution to one problem is merely the creation of the next..."

Mark Manson
Life as a Paradox

Life is full of paradoxes, and anything and everything that we hope for or desire only leads to more anxiety and stress, creating new problems for us.

We can be content. But it's not simple. To understand why we seem to be constantly dissatisfied with ourselves and the world, we must understand some basic psychological principles.

Psychological Thermostats

Our behavior, contentment, desires, expectations, and body clocks are set differently, and this may lead to conflicts and problems with others.