There are some signs of low self-esteem that show up in the choice of words and phrases you may be using on a regular basis.

Anyone that has an interest in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) will know that the words and phrases we use have an important effect, not only on ourselves but the people around us.

Studies have shown that people with high self-esteem will tend to use more positive words that encourage growth and improvement. Low self-esteem has been associated with negative outcomes and a focus on mistakes and criticism.

The first signs of low self-esteem tend to show up in childhood.

Our environment and the people in it all give us clues about our identity. Low self-esteem can affect people in many different ways. They might become withdrawn from society, avoid challenging situations and get stuck in abusive relationships.

Research has concluded that the words and phrases we use to describe ourselves and the environment can be signs of low self-esteem. A person with low self-esteem will have negative ideas about themselves and use words and phrases that reflect this.

If you think you might be suffering from low self-esteem, look at the list below and see if you use any of the following phrases too often:

1. ‘I can’t’

As soon as you say that you can’t do something, you are setting yourself up for failure. Top athletes and sportsmen and woman are known to visualise success by imagining that they are beating all the other competitors in a race or event. Swap ‘I can’t’ with ‘I’ll try’ and see if it makes a difference.

2. ‘It’s impossible’

Is it really impossible or does it just feel overwhelming at the moment? If a task feels impossible try breaking it down into manageable goals and don’t focus too much on the bigger picture. Saying that something is impossible before you have even tried suggests you don’t have the confidence to attempt it.

3. ‘I hate the way I look’

Society is focussed on our appearances with the media and celebrity culture emphasising the importance of looking good at all times. You’ll find that most people don’t like an aspect of themselves. Try to imagine a world where appearances are immaterial and people are judged on their deeds instead.

4. ‘I’m not good enough’

Imagine that every time you say a negative comment like ‘I’m not good enough,’ you are putting a physical barrier between you and success, like a hurdles race. Replace negative barriers with ‘I’ll try my best’ or ‘I’m going to give it a go’ and visualise these barriers falling away.

5. ‘I’m not worth it’

No one is going to fall in love with you if you don’t love and respect yourself. Life isn’t a charity gig after all. When someone displays the symptoms of low self-esteem and a lack of confidence, it just pushes people away. Try faking confidence for a while and see if that makes a difference. Or recognise your accomplishments and good points.

6. ‘I can’t say no’

It can be tempting to be a people pleaser, but those with low self-esteem could get taken advantage of.

Saying no sometimes doesn’t mean people are going to stop liking you so don’t be afraid to say it. Although you might get a boost of confidence at the start by helping someone, do it all the time and you’ll end up feeling like a doormat.

7. ‘I’m not as good as…’

No one knows what someone else’s life is like. Just because they might look as if they are living the highlife and don’t have to worry about anything, think about the celebrities that have taken their own lives. Comparing yourself to others is not helpful. Concentrate on your own life and try and make the best of that instead of worrying about everyone else.

8. ‘I don’t deserve…’

You are just as entitled to live a successful life as the next person. Everyone deserves love, happiness and success. Even if you don’t believe it at first, recognizing the signs of low self-esteem and accepting it is the first step to working on your self-esteem issues.

9. ‘I’m sorry’

Someone that says sorry a lot of the time could be apologising because they feel they are not good enough. It is important to apologise if you have done something wrong or made a mistake. But if you find you are saying sorry for no good reason, then it’s time to recognise that you might have low self-esteem.

10. ‘I can’t decide’

Decisive people make their choices and live with them. This is a sign that they are confident in their decision. If you find that you are unable to make a decision, explore whether it is because there are particularly hard choices or that you just don’t want to make the wrong decision.

Remember, saying negative things about yourself only serves to reinforce your low self-esteem. Words are important and can affect us more deeply than we can imagine. By changing the way you speak about yourself, you are not only altering how others see you, but you are separating yourself from any negativity and boosting your self-confidence.



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