When Self-Esteem is Low

When self-esteem is low, we live in a state of constant agitation and fear.  Fear of reality, to which we feel inadequate.  Fear of the revelation of facts about ourselves that we have denied, disowned or repressed.  Fear of the collapse of our pretenses.  Fear of the humiliation of failure and, sometimes, the responsibilities of success.  We live more to avoid pain than to experience joy.

When Self-Esteem is Low

The base and motor of poor self-esteem is fear, not confidence.  Joy and fulfillment are rendered ancillary goals, stifled and shoved aside in a futile attempt to escape the terror of life. Surviving each day – rather than thriving – becomes life’s main pursuit.  What is sought from others is not the chance to experience real human contact but a promise of forgiveness and acceptance.

Poor self-esteem not only inhibits thought, it tends to distort it.  We become prisoners of our negative self-image.  We allow it to dictate our actions, and define ourselves as mediocre, weak, cowardly or ineffectual.  Invariably, our performance comes to reflect this definition.

If high self-esteem seeks new frontiers, low self-esteem dreads the unknown and unfamiliar.  If high self-esteem seeks out and needs challenges, low self-esteem does everything possible to avoid them.  If high self-esteem looks for an opportunity to admire, low self-esteem looks for a chance to be absolved.