Playing a blame game that is oriented toward oneself is easier than speaking out against issues infuriating you. There are no multiple players that can fire back logical replies at you and show you the loopholes in your accusation. Consequently, you’re destined to ace this game and accomplish your goal of demeaning yourself. But did you know that this pastime can have severe consequences on your mental health?
Your self-esteem is the stepping stone that decides if you belittle and blame yourself or you focus on your positives. Low self-esteem, in itself, is not a mental health issue. It is, however closely related to your mental health, specifically, if it climaxes into anxiety, personality disorder, depression or bipolar disorder.
What is self-esteem?
Self-esteem is a delicate bubble that needs to be blown only to a balanced size. Both an abundance and lack of self-esteem can be damaging. Self-worth that kisses the zenith is naturally reprehensible, as is shown in the narcissistic personality disorder. On the other hand, self-worth that lounges at the nadir is linked with poor mental health. This explains the need to attain the right measure of self-worth.
Fundamentally, self-esteem is defined as, “a person’s overall sense of self-worth or personal value.” It is the lens that you use to view yourself and your qualities. Someone with a healthy self-value recognizes his good qualities. But poor self-worth only harbors negative feelings.
Dr. Kevin Solomons, the author of Low Self-Esteem book ‘Born to be Worthless, explains “Self-esteem system mostly moves us to make healthy, constructive and adaptive life decisions, but can go wrong, just as any system can.”
Disturbed feelings naturally follow in the wake of daily ups and downs. However, a person with minimal self-worth takes such matters to his heart and lets negativity take the steering wheel. Surprisingly, about 85% individuals nourish low self-worth. The Huffington Post talked to 13,000 plus folks, and the majority considered themselves not good enough.
How is self-worth connected to mental health?
Several experiences that accompany a diminished self-worth overlap with the symptoms of mental disorders. Some of these are striving with the blues, hating or blaming yourself, getting overwrought about matters, and hopelessness.
If these negative feelings persist, they can easily result in mental health issues like anxiety or depression. Australian clinical psychologist and self-esteem specialist, Dr. Lars Madsen says that self-esteem plays a pivotal role in the development and furtherance of depression. Research shows that depleted levels of self-value can also result in addiction.
The rates of mental illness are already high in the US. 43.5 million or 18.5% of adults in the US suffer from mental illness. Low self-worth adds to the problem. Here is how your sense of self-worth is closely connected to mental health:
1. Plants the Seeds of Depression
Research reviewed ninety-five studies to find the definite link between depression and self-esteem. It found out that the implications of low self-esteem on depression are relatively higher than the other way round. The researchers dug out that people with low self-worth tend to replay negative thoughts over and over again. This puts them at an increased risk of a bad mood too.
2. Leads to Other Mental Illnesses
Low self-worth comes in the same package as mental illness. Research concluded that psychiatric diagnosis and low self-esteem run in a vicious cycle. This means that low self-worth makes you more receptive to psychiatric conditions, specifically, depressive eating, and substance use disorders.
On the flip side, such disorders further add to the obscurity in one’s lens of self-perception.
3. Culminates in Substance Abuse
A study revealed that low self-worth in childhood could reach a finale of addiction in adulthood. The FSU sociology professor, John Taylor, who headed the research elucidated, “Low self-esteem is kind of the spark plug for self-destructive behaviors, and drug use is one of these.”
As children with shrunken self-worth grow, they seek a temporary escape from their negative feelings by relying on drugs. This develops into drug addiction.
4. Increases Suicidal Tendency
The WHO reports that after every 40 seconds, someone around the world snuffs the flame of his life. Every year, US sees the death of 44,965 individuals by suicide. Not so surprisingly, low self-esteem is counted among the major risk factors for suicide. This is because individuals eventually succumb to the despair and dark thoughts that are nourished by zero self-worth. Studies trace the connectivity between dry springs of self-esteem and suicide.
5. Aggravates Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
Weak self-value also multiplies the suffering of people with BPD by intensifying their anger. Self-criticism, self-dislike, and under-confidence that are typical gifts of low self-worth make matters worse.
Dr. Oldham, co-creator of the American Psychiatric Association’s Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients With Borderline Personality Disorder explains this. He says that people with BPD have unstable self-esteem and “Underneath that, there’s a sense of inferiority and incompleteness”.
Key Takeaway: Building a Positive Self-Esteem
Instead of worrying about whether Alzheimer’s is hereditary or not, start with a positive self-perception. Viewing yourself from the positive angle of the picture is critical. Low self-worth is a potential risk factor for developing mental disorders. Already mental health statistics are worsening over time. Mental Health America points out the increase in severe depression from 5.9% (2012) to 8.2% (2015).
In the light of this, any threat to your mental well-being should be immediately tackled to minimize the risk. Research shows that self-worth is closely correlated to wellness. In fact, self-evaluation influences personal goals, social interaction, and aspirations as well. Thus, it is essential that you nurture positive self-esteem.
A good self-perception is linked with not only mental well-being but also academic achievement, happiness, and satisfaction. Painting the deep-seated feelings in an optimistic light is an essential step in the direction of positive self-worth. Avoiding negative self-talk is also fundamental. Often therapy is also recommended in the cases that are almost over the edge.