Self-esteem is the opinion we have about ourselves. We can have high or low self esteem. This can cause problems if it is too far on either end of the spectrum. Healthy self-esteem is when we feel mostly positive about ourselves and life in general. This helps us to be better at dealing with difficult situations in life and handling life's ups and downs. However, when we have low self- esteem this can effect how we view ourselves and our lives. We may start to view them more negatively and become more critical. This in turn can have an effect on the on the way we are able to take on challenges in life as we may feel less able to handle what life throws at us.
Our level of self-esteem can begin in childhood and from the messages we have taken from parents, friends, siblings, teachers, the media about ourselves and carried with us through lives, both positive and negative. However, for some reason it could be that the message that you are not good enough is the one that stays with you. This could happen for different reasons, and personality could also play a part, as some people are more prone to thinking negatively or setting impossibly high standards which contributes to their low self-esteem when they fail to meet them.
This low self-esteem might lead to you keeping yourself away from trying new things, avoiding social situations, and things you find challenging. You may find these behaviours helpful in the short-term because it protects you and makes you feel a lot safer. However, the problem is that in the long-term these behaviours can actually reinforce your doubts and fears and you can therefore learn that the only way to deal with this is by avoiding things. This can also lead to depression and anxiety or coping behaviours such as drinking or smoking too much. A therapist can help you understand the root of the low self-esteem you are experiencing and work with you to gain confidence and achieve your goals.