13 Reasons Why We Lose Self-Confidence | A Guide to Understanding Self-Esteem

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I remember the days where I felt like I was in the worst times of my life. It’s what people call the quarter-life crisis where I do not have any idea what to do. Some people around me are having success, and here I am, still have nothing to prove. However, the more I understood things about self-confidence, the more I got back on track. Thus, I have decided to write this blog post hoping that someone out there who feels a little bit left behind or has lost their confidence can also get their confidence and self-esteem back.

The main reason why people lose self-confidence is usually from a past or childhood trauma. It may come from bullying or some mistakes they made that caused some major impact on their self-esteem. Furthermore, other causes of lack of confidence include their genes, culture, environment, and negative self-talk.

In this blog post, I will explain more on this topic as I have compiled 13 reasons why we lose self-esteem and confidence. We are going to explain each of them, plus some scientific papers to back things up. The goal is for you to get a deeper understanding of self-confidence and why people lose it. I hope that by knowing the root cause of the lack of self-esteem, it can be easier to find things in order to solve the issue.

1. Being Vulnerable to Self-Criticisms

The first reason might come from a person’s personality.

Some people are just too vulnerable to criticism. They can get hurt easily with comments coming from their own selves.

The thing is, everyone has some sort of self-talk or criticism. It’s what prevents us from making some mistakes that we might make, or it helps us think first before doing something.

The problem is that it can also criticize us, which leads to negative feelings.

These negative feelings might be a feeling of shame, guilt, anger, or sadness.

It might be yourself telling you that you feel ashamed of something, and being vulnerable to this self-criticism makes us lose confidence.

For example, you can question your own ability to finish your work simply because your inner self has some doubts.

Self-criticisms are there to give us some guidance on the things we do. However, listening to it is too much, and trying to just accept everything it says is not our responsibility.

In addition, this is also why most types of meditation try to stop this internal chatter. They are trying to silence it by trying to focus on something else like their breath.

But the point is this.

Sometimes, we just have to take the step to reach success.

Who knows? Maybe that moment you stop listening to your doubts and work instead would be the one that brings you the life you want.

2. Social Factors and Frustrating Relationships

One reason for the lack of self-confidence is a traumatic or frustrating past relationship.

Some bad relationships cause the other party to do whatever it takes to maintain their relationship.

However, due to their relationship being bad, the question of trying to understand if they lack something would always come to mind.

That question of asking why you’re not enough will pile up until it hits your self-esteem and self-confidence.

What happens is that the person becomes less and less confident with themselves and instead becomes helpless.

3. Always Trying to be Perfect

One of the causes of the lack of self-confidence is perfectionism or the constant trying to make things perfect.

The thing here is that always trying to be perfect is a bad idea because there are always things that we can improve.

It is hard to stop the feeling of wanting perfection, but it is also important to know that you can’t really be perfect.

Because of the hard truth that we can’t be perfect, constantly seeking perfection makes us anxious.

That is also why the self-help industry is having problems since people are also seeking perfection. The truth is, the goal of self-improvement is to improve your life.

But it doesn’t mean that you should be seeking perfection.

In fact, there are just days where we aren’t in the mood to do things, and that’s normal.

So try not to seek perfection. Try to have some gratitude and satisfaction with your life, and you can slowly start building your confidence again.

For a guide on building some gratitude and satisfaction, I recommend you read my guide on effective self-reflection. I made sure that it would be 100% beginner-friendly, and you will get all the benefits of self-reflection in just 5 minutes. Here is the link: How to Reflect on your day

4. Feeling of Hopelessness

One of the roadblocks to self-confidence is the feeling of hopelessness.

It might come from past mistakes that caused us to fully doubt our abilities.

For example, when my first business failed, I lost my hope to start again. I was 25 at that time.

But after trying to overcome this feeling and understanding that we all have our own timelines, I started again.

I am proud to say that as of writing this blog post, my website is slowly growing.

My point here is that the feeling of hopelessness is normal when we experience some mistakes. But it shouldn’t prevent us from trying again.

Our mistakes give us valuable learnings that we can use in the future.

As they always say, experience is the best teacher.

5. Not Caring for Wellbeing

Not caring for your own wellbeing can be a major cause of losing confidence.

Let me give an example to explain this.

For example, you started not caring for your well-being. You started to not sleep at night, eat junk foods, not taking care of your hygiene, and not exercising.

After a few weeks, you might see your body looking weak. Because of not having enough sleep, you can feel that your personality has changed since you’re always in a bad mood.

Because of that, you might start doubting yourself since you now see yourself as someone who has a skin problem, a weak body, and so much more.

What happens is that since you’ve already lost your confidence, you will continue down this path of hating and not taking care of yourself.

Thus, you start hating yourself more, and you lose your confidence.

That’s why we should be responsible for ourselves. We own our bodies, and we should take care of them.

Imagine how your life would be better when you start to eat right, sleep on time, take care of your hygiene, read books, and all of that.

By seeing constant improvement, your confidence will also grow alongside your improvements.

That’s why we should always take care of ourselves.

6. The Fear of Being Judged or Rejected

Sometimes, it is fear that blocks us from having confidence.

We might just fear rejection or being judged, which prevents us from doing the things we want.

For example, after graduating with honors, I was scared of being judged for not using my degree since I graduated with honors, but I didn’t like my job.

For that, I tried to work, but ultimately, I decided to quit.

The fear of being judged prevented me from doing the things I love. But I realized that I might have many regrets, so I started to just try things out.

The act of not caring what others think is hard to do, but once you learn how to do it, it is one of the best things you can give to yourself.

This is because it helps us feel free.

7. Physical and Emotional Pain

Physical and emotional pain can cause a person to lose self-confidence.

The reason is that they feel helpless with their pain.

For example, I was born with asthma, and the truth is, I have lots of relatives having the same problem.

The thing is that their current situation prevents them from trying things out since some limit themselves too much, like they don’t want to exercise because they might have asthma.

While I am lucky enough to just have asthma, some people who experience too much pain in their bodies can make them lost their confidence.

Some might feel that they are already useless since they aren’t as strong as they used to be.

Pain is a cause of losing someone’s self-esteem, especially if your body is the one preventing you from doing something.

8. Current Stressful Situations

Sometimes, it is not the past that makes us lose confidence.

It can be caused by current situations such as losing a loved one, being fired, and so much more.

What you need to understand in these cases is that life just goes on.

It is normal to feel sad in some current situations, but it is also important to note that we all have the power to move on.

9. Genetic Make-Up

A journal from the European Journal of Personality stated that genetic influences on self-esteem are substantial. [1]

This means that genetics play a huge role in a person’s capability to handle stress and, of course, self-esteem and confidence.

There are many factors to these, usually hormonal and their sensitivity to these hormones.

Notable of which as dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin.

But take note that while this may be the case, there are things that we can control, and we should focus on that.

We all have the right to be confident and be happy.

10. Traumatic Past

One of the reasons I lost confidence when I was really young is that I am prone to bullying.

Since I was so thin when I was in elementary, many people, especially the ones older and trying to bully me.

Because of that, I lost my confidence for quite some time.

What would someone who has poor grades and a small body do?

Because of that, I just accepted that fact and instead went to just play games.

You see, childhood trauma and bullying is one of the main cause of a person losing self-confidence.

That’s why I fully support anti-bullying since I know what it feels like to be bullied.

11. Comparison due to our Modern Environment

According to a journal from the Journal of Research on Adolescence, they have found out that sociocultural factors like exposure to unrealistic body images significantly affected the self-esteem of girls aged 11-16. [2]

With the advent of social media apps, our environment is filled with people who seem to be more successful than us.

For example, it is easy to see pictures of people who have perfect bodies on Instagram or people who are millionaires in their teenage years.

The thing is that these make us compare ourselves to others. It makes us feel left behind in life and can cause intense dissatisfaction with ourselves.

That’s why it is important to note that it is okay to have some break from social media from time to time.

While our modern environment gives us access to any information with just a few clicks, it also has negative consequences if we don’t use it correctly.

That’s why in one of my YouTube videos, I explained that we all have a timeline and told my personal story on how I felt really left behind. You can find the video here.

But the main point here is that comparison can really cause us to lose our self-confidence.

That’s why it is important to stop comparing yourself to others and understand that we all have our own timelines.

12. Past Mistakes and Bad Choices

Have you been prevented by past mistakes and bad choices?

Don’t worry, many people do.

But we have to understand that past mistakes should never define us.

We all make mistakes and what we have to do is to learn from these mistakes.

We have to be free from the shackles of our mistakes if we want to bring our confidence.

Confident people also make mistakes but what makes them confident is that they accept everything about themselves, including their mistakes.

I am not talking about people faking their confidence here. I am talking about genuinely confident people who are fully responsible for their own selves, including their mistakes.

13. Too Much Negative Self Talk

In reason number 1, I talked about the vulnerability to self-talk.

In here, I am talking about too much negative self-talk.

Even if you are not vulnerable to self-talk, once you start having too much self-talk and self-doubt, you may lose your confidence.

That’s why many meditating gurus always instruct their students to focus on their breathe and remove any mind chatter.

The reason is that we tend to overthink and can cause stress.

I have to admit that I put it here because it is currently one of the things I am having trouble fixing.

I know that I have to try some means to calm my mind down. And I know that you should too.

Only the things I love.

If you’re following me, you’ll know that I believe it is essential to have some tools, whether it’s for personal development or lifestyle in general.

So, here are the things I love.

YouTube

If you want to learn things for free, then I recommend you to watch my YouTube Channel. Click the Button Below to go straight into my Channel. 🙂

Okay, let me first explain my Channel.

I believe that I really can’t explain everything too well on my blog. That’s why I created a YouTube Channel so I can easily explain a lot of things. Plus, I believe that Video Sharing is the future.

Recommended Books

The next thing is books. Books are, for me, one of the cheapest ways to get invaluable information. We can learn personal development, finance, career, relationships, and many more from books.

Here, I will be listing my favorite books in different categories.

  1. For Beginners7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey – Personal development has a lot of concepts and ideas to learn. Thus it can be really hard for beginners to know where to start. Thus, I recommend this book since all the basic concepts of personal development are here(except finance, check what I recommended for that)
  2. ProductivityThe One Thing by Gary Keller – This book teaches us the power of focusing on one thing which is the ultimate source of productivity. The concepts taught are what I am using to constantly publish YouTube videos while maintaining this website.
  3. Busy?Make Time by Jack Knapp – This book teaches us how to make time for the things we love. The concept is really simple but I think that makes it a book worth reading.
  4. HealthLifespan by Dr.Sinclair – This Book teaches about the latest scientific research on lifespan. In his book, he has shared numerous things he is doing to slow down his aging process. This can be as easy as eating less which he recommends.
  5. FinanceThe Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason – Perhaps one of the first books I’ve read about Finance, this book for me is the best if we are talking about learning basic finance such as basic saving and investing. The concepts are very simple but effective.

Audiobooks

Take this advice as a grain of salt.

I don’t recommend buying Audiobooks one by one. I mean, audiobooks can be quickly finished by listening while working out or doing some mindless tasks.

So here is to save you some money. Just go for a monthly subscription to Audible. I believe that you will save a lot of money with that plus, they usually give freebies to anyone starting.

My Audiobook Recommendation will always be the same as my book recommendations, but I personally like The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins. I like how she is so casual while reading her book.

Sources:

  1. Neiss, Michelle B., et al. “Self‐esteem: A Behavioural Genetic Perspective.European Journal of Personality, vol. 16, no. 5, 2002, pp. 351–67. Crossref, doi:10.1002/per.456.
  2. Clay, Daniel, et al. “Body Image and Self-Esteem Among Adolescent Girls: Testing the Influence of Sociocultural Factors.Journal of Research on Adolescence, vol. 15, no. 4, 2005, pp. 451–77. Crossref, doi:10.1111/j.1532-7795.2005.00107.x.

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