You do
not do well enough and should do better. You worry about not being a good
parent, not keeping up with family responsibilities, not living up to the
expectations of others, and a myriad of other minor to major, trivial to
important things. Your child frets about failing, not being accepted by peers,
not doing well in sports and other activities, or messing everything up. Your
spouse expects to be fired or passed over at work. You are a failure and will
never succeed.


Self-esteem is an important ingredient in trying new things,
taking a chance, working on difficult problems, and hanging in there when the
going gets rough. It is your little voice saying, “You can do it; you will
succeed.”


When your self-esteem is low, your little voice’s message
changes. Expecting to succeed changes to expecting to fail. You do not start
new projects or try new things. You will not venture out because things will
turn out badly anyway. Why bother? If you do try, you quit at the first
obstacle. When the going gets tough, you throw in the towel.


For you, low self-esteem is more than fearing failure and
giving up too easily. You think you are not attractive and have serious doubts
about yourself sexually. Your children think they will never be as good as
others their age. Your adolescent’s normal self doubt becomes a chronic sense
of not fitting in and being a developmental reject who will never have friends
and never be part of the group.


You do not like yourself and believe others share your bad
opinion of you. “I’m sorry,” is something you say a lot. If something
bad happens or things do not work out, it is your fault. Just being you is
reason enough to apologize. You put yourself down and can point out a thousand
reasons why people do not like you and are just tolerating you. You might as
well say how it is with you. It is true; and others are having the same
thoughts about you anyway. If you do not fit in, you do not fit in. That is the
way it is. That is the way you are.


You believe you are not an important part of your family.
You do not belong there or anywhere else for that matter. You are not someone
others love, others can love, others want to love. Why? It is obvious; and
anyone who tells you it is not true is lying, is just trying to be nice. Why
would anyone try to be nice to you? You honestly believe you are not worth the
bother.