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Why we lose self-esteem and how to remedy it


Many people deal with fluctuating self-esteem and swing between confidence and self-doubt, in just a few hours. Here are some practical tips crafted by psychologists to help you to understand and remedy any sudden dips in your self-esteem.

1.Understand why you have a dip in your self-esteem

When we experience a sudden loss of confidence, more often than not there is a valid reason behind it. Are you nearing a big-stakes deadline? Are you about to make a speech in front of very important people? Humans are largely designed to react to any kind of “uncertainty” or “mixed signals” with anxiety.

If you fall into the category of “uncertainty” i.e you don’t know how your audience will react to your speech, then give yourself a break, it’s normal, just swallow the anxiety and use it as energy to get you through the time. However, if you fall into the “mixed signals” category, this needs to be explored further. This category applies to you if your self-doubt is based on negative feedback or a negative event that has actually occurred (i.e instead of you imagining it). If you’re swamped with self-doubt because 1 person out of 10 gave you negative feedback then you should rationalize yourself back to self-confidence – whilst taking on board any constructive criticism that was offered. However, if you experienced an undesired consequence, for example, because you were taking too many risks, or because you made a mistake and/or oversight than your self-doubt may actually be trying to tell you something and you need to listen.

Whichever scenario applies to you, you can be sure that by understanding the root of the dip in your self-esteem, you are on your way to resolving the problem.

2. Be productive with your loss of self-esteem

Once you have understood why your self-esteem has dipped, your next steps are very important. Alice Boyes behaviour psychologist, explains in her article on self-esteem that peoples’ responses to losing confidence usually fall into the broad categories of “freeze” (e.g., crying, avoiding), “flight” (e.g. denial of a problem, task switching), or “fight” (e.g. working harder, arguing, defensiveness).

The worst thing you can do is freeze, the best thing you can do is find the sweet spot between distraction (i.e healthy movement of negative thoughts to positive ones) and fight (don’t allow self-doubt to shape your success) quite frankly, if you are reading this blog, you are not the type to freeze – you can face and want to tackle any internal problems head-on.

3. Accept and be kind to yourself

Strong emotions are part of our evolved warning system.  All emotions have a positive, productive reason if you constructively listen to them of course! The system sometimes gets confused (e.g., as in the case of panic attacks or depression). However, fundamentally your emotions exist to help and guide you. Sometimes the worst thing you can do is fight them, the best thing you can do is give yourself credit. If you have a sudden loss of confidence, unpick why. Use your reason and logic to understand whether it’s serious and in every event use it to make you a better person and self-develop.