Low Self-Esteem is much more common than you may think and is one of the main risk factors for developing a mental health problem, in particular Depression, Anxiety, an Eating Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Also, if you don’t address low self-esteem, any treatment that you received for a mental health problem is unlikely to have a long lasting effect, with symptoms returning often within months of the treatment ending.

So, how do you work out if you are suffering from low self-esteem? Ask yourself these questions:

1. Are you very critical of yourself?

2. Do you hold yourself to a standard that you don’t expect from anyone else?

3. Do you struggle to admit you are wrong?

4. Do you struggle to apologise?

5. Do you expect other people to criticise you?

6. Do you expect others not to like you?

7. Do you bend over backwards for other people (more often strangers than those close to you) to ensure that they like you?

8. Do you beat yourself up when you make mistakes?

9. Would you or others describe you as a perfectionist?

10. Do you put other people before yourself most of the time?

11. Do you rarely ask for what you need?

12. Are you very critical of others?

13. Do you struggle to forgive others for their mistakes?

14. Do you take things very personally?

15. Do you often feel very anxious, depressed and/or angry?

16. Do you drink alcohol or use drugs to get some respite from yourself?

17. Do you eat to comfort yourself?

18. Do you diet to comfort yourself?

19. Do you keep yourself very busy and feel uncomfortable when you stop and try to relax?

20. Do you often feel regret, guilt or shame?

21. Do you have no confidence in yourself?

22. Would you struggle to explain why someone would like you?

All the issues covered in these questions can indicate low self-esteem. The broad range shows just how common low self-esteem is so, if you have answered ‘yes’ to one of the questions, keep in mind that most people will. However, if you have answered ‘yes’ to two or more of these questions, it is worth considering getting some help to strengthen your self-esteem.

Here is a good starting point: BCBT/low-self-esteem/

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