Insecurity and negative self-image

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About insecurity and low self-esteem
You have a certain image of the people around you. You find someone nice, helpful, friendly, smart, but you can also not like someone at all, clumsy or dishonest. In addition to an image of other people, you also have an image of yourself as a person, this is also called your self-image.

What is low self-esteem?
Everyone feels insecure at times: see I look good, did I pass that difficult exam, was my presentation interesting enough, etc. This is quite normal and nothing to worry about. But if the insecurity starts to control your life and behavior, and the negative thoughts erode your self-esteem and confidence, you may be suffering from low self-esteem. Low self-esteem is also referred to as a negative self-image or an inferiority complex.

If you have low self-esteem, you tend to see yourself, the world and your future more negatively and critically than they actually are is. When you face challenges, you doubt your ability to succeed, and you may avoid them. People with low self-esteem have difficulty naming a good quality and emphasize their negative qualities, such as u2018I’m uninterestingu2019, u2018I can’t do anythingu2019 or u2018I can’t manageu2019. This can make you feel anxious, sad or depressed.

The negative self-image can relate to your inner self (stupid, boring, uninteresting), to your appearance (too fat, too thin, not pretty enough) , on your qualities (nothing works, never do well) or on yourself as a whole (worthless, loser).

What is a healthy self-image?
People with a negative or low self-image think can’t do anything, don’t believe in themselves and keep putting themselves down. People with a (too) positive self-image always find themselves very attractive and the smartest and best of everyone. A healthy self-image is a realistic picture of who you are and is somewhere between these two extremes. With a healthy self-image, you have enough self-confidence, enough self-esteem (self-esteem) and you accept yourself as you are (with your positive qualities and your less positive qualities).

If you have enough self-esteem, it is easier to good relationships, you tend to think positively about yourself and optimistic about life in general. When faced with challenges, you feel confident that you can handle the task. People with a healthy self-esteem know they are valuable and can at least name some of their positive qualities, such as u2018I am a loyal friendu2019, u2018I am honestu2019 or u2018I am a good motheru2019.

Causes of low self-esteem
Low self-esteem can be formed early on. Within the family there may have been too little appreciation from the parents or there was a lot of criticism, disapproval or punishment. But negative experiences in primary or secondary school can also negatively affect your self-image, such as being bullied, hurt or ignored. The image in the (social) media can also play a role. It seems that everyone is beautiful, slim, successful and perfectly happy. This can give you the impression that you are less beautiful, fun or successful than others. However, it is not always possible to identify a clear cause of an inferiority complex.

Symptoms of low self-esteem
You can recognize low self-esteem (or inferiority complex) by the following signs:
You are always criticizing yourself. You put your negative qualities under a magnifying glass and you have little or no eye for your positive ones characteristics.

You feel very insecure, have little confidence in yourself and that things will work out.
You are not proud of yourself, you keep putting yourself down. If something has gone well, you tend to diminish this success (it is not because of your actions, but because of others).
You are very sensitive to criticism, you also consider non-critical comments as negative criticism . While you are looking for appreciation.
You constantly compare yourself to others. Social media is full of nothing but success stories, not a realistic picture, but an ideal picture. It seems as if others live happy, perfect and successful lives without worries or problems. This gives you the feeling that others are better or have it better than you.
Consequences of low self-esteem
Low self-esteem often influences your behavior. Some are very modest and withdrawn, don’t dare to stand up for themselves and don’t dare to try new things. While others overcompensate for low self-esteem and insecurity by pretending to be more confident than they really are.

A negative self-image can influence the choices you make, such as your choice of study or career. If you (wrongly) think that the chance of failure is high because you are less smart than others, you can choose a study or profession below your level.

Because of the constant comparison with others, you can It happens that you set the bar for yourself very high or even too high. This makes it almost impossible to achieve your own goals, which can lead to fear of failure. You start avoiding challenges or new situations for fear of failure. And if this is unavoidable, your performance will be negatively affected by uncertainty and tension.

An inferiority complex hinders your daily life, but can also be harmful to your health and can lead to other psychological complaints such as gloominess, fears, eating problems, worrying and physical complaints (stomach ache, headache, muscle pain, etc.).

Treatment of uncertainty and low self-esteem
During the treatment we discuss how low self-esteem affects your daily life affects and what you would like to change. The goal is to break the negative spiral and to make sure that you are less bothered by negative thoughts about yourself. In addition, we investigate what your positive characteristics and qualities are, how you can gain more insight into what is going well, so that your self-confidence and self-esteem can grow.

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