Do you suffer from a Low Self Esteem?

Posted by: Rose Tol, R&I Life Coaching, March 22, 2013, Low Self Esteem in Life Coaching

Lack of self confidence is something that many of us struggle with. On some level each person has this feeling of unworthiness inside of them. Even the person walking around with the biggest ego, deep inside - at the other side - is this feeling of unworthiness.

If you are experiencing the feeling of unworthiness frequently on a daily basis then you can say you have a low self esteem. There is a way to let go of unworthiness and boost self esteem without getting lost in building up a 'big' ego.

Do I have a Low Self Esteem?

If you need a reality check to see where you are at with low self esteem there are tests available for you to see where you are at on a scale. At the bottom of this article you can find the self esteem scale with the test from Dr. Rosenberg, one of the best and validated scales used by professionals. Do this test to see where you are at.

The symptoms of low self esteem can be many and sometimes tricky to recognize. Remember, the person with a loud, big personality can be having a very low self esteem. A person with low self esteem has a lack of self confidence, they have an image of self that is distorted; they belief they are inadequate, unloving, undeserving, unworthy and/or incompetent.

As you read through these symptoms and behaviors or as you are getting the results to the test, remember, you can rid yourself of these feelings of lack of confidence.

Low Self Esteem Symptoms and Behaviors

Fear and Anxiety

When you have low self confidence you are afraid to make a mistake, afraid to be rejected and fear to look foolish or inadequate. Anxiety attacks in these areas are no uncommon. This feeling of anxiety can permeates ones life preventing a person to make the right decisions, respond to an emergency, bounce back from misfortune, learn from mistakes and even from having healthy self introspective.

Extreme Neediness

Low self confidence people are always unsure of them selves and questioning if they are lovable. Therefor they are constantly looking to others around them for answers to this question on how to become lovable. They can become obsessed with listening to others, how people behave, speak, what they wear. Often they take on the behaviors of others that they think is going to give them feeling of being lovable. Desperately they are seeking the reassurance that they are ok. This can show up in being overly pleasing and nice. A person with a low self esteem is often disappointed with the people around them due to their unreasonable expectations, their irrational storytelling, the constant need for reinforcement and an inability to look at their own issues.


People with a lack of self esteem can get easily defensive. They might have just been asked their opinion or some input or what their view is on the matter, and it sets the person straight in the defense. This stems from the fear or being rejected, disapproved of or being criticized in some way. When criticized, a person with low self esteem might become offensive, deny the matter and is unable to admit to a mistake.

Self Sabotage

Self sabotage, which is acting no in ones own good interest, is a common problem in people with a lack of self esteem. It can show up in the form of an eating disorder. I can manifest by going through life without direction or taking charge of your life. Your unworthiness keeps you in destructive patterns of abusive relationships or underpaid jobs. Or it can show up as being an overachiever, a workaholic that can't stop and neglects having a personal life.


Most people that suffer from depression can track it back to having low self esteem. This type of depression mostly can get healed without the need of medication. Handling the lack of self esteem as the root of the problem of the depression will handle the depression along the way.

Mixed Emotions

People with a low self esteem often are emotionally shut down, they are unable to recognize what they feel. As their sense of self is so distorted, they are not able to recognize and trust their feelings anymore. Emotions seem to come to the surface without warning and they feel literally they are riding a roller coaster, unable to trust their emotions and be guided by them. On the other hand lack of self esteem can also lead to becoming hyper sensitive. They seem to get their feeling hurt easily. They tend to be overly self-focused and can appear insensitive to the feelings of others or can inaccurately look as though they are narcissistic.

Inability to control the mind

Discouragement, negative thinking and judgments are a major problem in their minds. For a person with low self esteem it is difficult to not listen to these voices of illusion and to change their thinking to more positive thoughts. This also leads to not being to discern who they can trust, what to distrust and when to trust. People with lack of self esteem also can become over critical of themselves and others. This can also show up as having many unrealistic expectations.

Low self confidence can also lead to making up stories in their mind about other people's behaviors, intent, actions, thoughts and feelings. They make up conclusions of what the person really meant, what they really thought without checking in with themselves or the other what the true facts are. People with low self esteem are often guilty of gossip, assumptions and rumors and adding their own spin on things.

Inability to enjoy a healthy relationship

Naturally those with low self esteem suffer from being depressed, withholding, inability to share their true emotions, inability to trust, being defensive...this makes it almost impossible to have any healthy relationships where closeness, intimacy and honesty are crucial to build a sustaining relationship.

Problems with sexuality

People with lack of self esteem, feeling themselves as unvaluable, often use sex to get attention and approval from others. They are trying to prove to themselves that they are lovable. This happens a lot to those that have gotten the low self esteem as a result of sexual abuse during child hood. The problem is that the feeling of being loved often goes by the end of the act of sex and thus the need to find the next sex partner knocks on the door. This promiscuous behavior is difficult to stop because it comes often with a big load of self hatred and shame.

Interestingly, physicians are finding that anxiety is the primary cause of impotence in men and the inability to reach orgasm in woman. No wonder these problems show up frequently in people with low self esteem.

Self Esteem Test of Dr. Rosenberg

The Rosenberg self-esteem scale was developed by Morris Rosenberg, Ph.D. (deceased) in 1965. (Reference: Society and The adolescent Self-Image. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.)

Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (Rosenberg, 1965)

The scale is a ten item Likert scale with items answered on a four point scale - from strongly agrees to strongly disagree.

Instructions: Below is a list of statements dealing with your general feelings about yourself.

If you strongly agree, circle SA.

If you agree with the statement, circle A.

If you disagree, circle D.

If you strongly disagree, circle SD.

  1.  On the whole, I am satisfied with myself. 
  2. * At times, I think I am no good at all.
  3.  I feel that I have a number of good qualities.
  4.  I am able to do things as well as most other people.
  5.  * I feel I do not have much to be proud of.
  6.  * I certainly feel useless at times.
  7.  I feel that I’m a person of worth, at least on an equal plane with others.
  8. * I wish I could have more respect for myself.
  9. * All in all, I am inclined to feel that I am a failure.
  10. I take a positive attitude toward myself.

SA -A -D -SD

SA -A -D -SD

SA -A -D -SD

SA -A -D -SD

SA -A -D -SD

SA -A -D -SD

SA -A -D -SD

SA -A -D -SD

SA -A -D -SD

SA -A -D -SD


SA=3, A=2, D=1, SD=0.

Items with an asterisk are reverse scored, that is, SA=0, A=1, D=2, SD=3.

Sum the scores for the 10 items.

The higher the score, the higher the self-esteem.

Scores below 15 suggest low self-esteem.

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