Causes of Low Self-Esteem

Causes of Low Self-Esteem

During your school years, you may encounter things that can cause you to experience a low self-esteem. Maybe you find flaws in your body image and feel like others are also judging you. Or perhaps one major failure leads you to think you are not good at anything. Or maybe you struggle to meet unrealistic expectations set by you or your parents. With these tips, you can learn how to avoid and remedy low self-esteem.

1. Body Image

Teens tend to over-worry about how their bodies look. Having a body that slightly differs from the societal norm can hurt your confidence. This can be exasperated if you start comparing yourself to others with what you think is the “ideal” body type. According to, having low self-esteem paired with a poor self-image can lead to more challenges, such as dangerous shortcuts to losing weight and eating disorders like anorexia nervosa or depression.

Fortunately, there are ways you can improve your confidence in your body image. For instance, focus instead on developing your character by regularly reflecting on your positive values and attributes. You can also make healthy eating a part of your daily life, so you feel good. And remember to be proud of all that your body can do, for it is truly a miraculous machine! Improving your confidence starts from the inside out.

self esteem

2. Socialization

Another element contributing to a teenager’s low self-esteem is feeling socially isolated. As reported by, students who are harassed or bullied may prefer to stay home, away from others. If you are in a situation where you are being bullied, recommends that you tell a trusted adult. If you are experiencing cyberbullying, do not respond to messages and screenshot them as evidence.

Isolation can also result from spending too much time on social media, creating superficial connections online rather than in person. So limit your time on social media and instead find an in-person activity or club to make friends with people with similar interests. Also, do not be afraid to seek professional counseling so you can have an appropriate outlet, gain understanding from another perspective, and plan to become more open.

Constantly moving and changing schools can also make you feel isolated since you are forced to leave old bonds behind. However, you can maintain those bonds by staying in contact via text and video chat. You can also create fresh bonds by making new friends in your new neighborhood.

self esteem

3. Thought Patterns

Whenever you fail at something, you may find yourself obsessing over it. Focusing on those failures can cause negative thought patterns, also known as cognitive distortions. These distortions could result in a pessimistic view in which you may begin to think you will never improve, which can cause low self-esteem. As argued by, this way of thinking often leads to a pattern of predicting that, no matter what happens in the future, something is going to go wrong. Thinking this way can also hurt your motivation because if you believe there will always be a negative outcome, you may not bother putting any effort into anything.

To combat negative thought patterns, keep your mind off your mistakes by keeping yourself busy with extracurricular activities, like sports or volunteer work. You can also process your feelings by writing regularly in a journal. For instance, you can write about what led up to your mistake and how you felt about it. As you write in your journal, reflect on what you can learn from your failures and how to improve yourself further. With that improvement comes a boost to your confidence.

self esteem

4. Expectations

Having unrealistic goals can be highly stressful. Perhaps these expectations come from your parents about academic achievement, or maybe they are expectations for perfection that you place on yourself. If you fail to meet them, you feel criticism, which can negatively impact your confidence. Criticism from your parents may make you feel uncertain, anxious, and dependent on them. Self-criticism can cause you to feel shame or frustration with yourself.

To lighten the heavy expectations placed by your parents, start by understanding that they are likely coming to a good place; they want you to have a successful life. However, their ideas of success may differ from yours. So it is crucial to have an open conversation with your parents regarding your goals in your life. Find the right moment to talk with your parents (preferably during a period of low stress) and explain your concerns. Tell them how you feel about the future, even if you are unsure of what you want. This step shows your parents that you are thinking about what comes next. Finally, listen to what they say, and if you cannot reach an agreement, then agree to disagree.

But maybe these high expectations are coming from you. As reported by, students who internalize these challenging objectives often adopt a grind culture mindset where they believe every moment they are not studying is wasted time. They would rather live for future achievements than present enjoyment. They also constantly compare themselves to others in their class. If this describes you, know that you are at risk of adverse effects such as burnout, low self-worth, anxiety, and lack of sleep.

Focus on your value

To avoid this, focus on your value as a person, separate from your school achievements. What makes you you? Why are you unique and valuable? What do people love about you? What do you love about yourself? By focusing on who you are, rather than what you have achieved, you can build an innate sense of self-confidence. Remember, you are enough just the way you are!

self esteem


During your school years, you will encounter many challenges that can cause low self-esteem. Problems associated with your body image, socialization, thought patterns, and expectations may hurt your confidence. However, there are ways to avoid these and come out with a more positive outlook an your life.

WorldWise Tutoring can help put things in perspective with our Learning and Life Skills services. Know you are not alone and support is just a click away!

Written by Xavien Timoll

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