Last update: 10 September, 2019
Self-esteem is that part of our self-concept that makes our emotional skin more or less resistant. Loving ourselves unconditionally is, undoubtedly, the cornerstone of psychological well-being, but even if a priori the concept of self-love may seem simple, in reality it is more important than we imagine as regards the achievement of happiness.
It is impossible to be happy if we don't love ourselves. Loving each other, accepting each other, approving and respecting each other, whatever happens, whatever others say and despite failures, is the cement to build a life full of satisfaction, joy and fullness.
We do not know exactly why the human being, as a general rule, loves himself so little. Apparently he has to do with the ego and with the anxiety of standing out on other mortals.
When we want to be special or better than others, we end up embittered; in the end, we discover that we also have shortcomings and limitations and that we are not as unique as we pretended to be.
This allows polarized thought - either black or white - to activate in our mind and create an inner dialogue in us such as: "If I don't distinguish myself from others, then I am absolutely worthless".
Lack of self-esteem and its relationship with some disorders
If we look at some classic psychological disorders, we will quickly realize that their origin is largely influenced by the lack of love for oneself. This lack of esteem will later turn into dysfunctional beliefs, negative emotions and counterproductive behaviors that put the person in a vicious circle.
To understand this better, let's analyze some examples:
Anxious people experience intense fear of the future. Their thoughts are always catastrophic, as they believe that by taking a certain action, they may fail or something terrible may happen to them.
It is evident that beneath this fear there is an immense insecurity. These people do not trust their abilities nor do they believe they have the potential to face adversity alone.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
It is one of the "natural" escape routes of perfectionism taken to the extreme. A person is a perfectionist when he thinks he has to do everything without mistakes. This is nothing other than the result, as already mentioned, of wanting to stand out from the others. The perfectionist often doubts, it is difficult for him to decide, since it is essential that this decision leads him to the correct path; finally, it collapses when he realizes that this longed for perfection is unattainable.
Anorexia and bulimia
In this case, the lack of self-esteem is particularly evident. These people believe that they would be worth much more if their physique respected certain unrealistic canons, established by the prevailing society.. Therefore, they attribute their personal value to a physicist they do not appreciate.
They won't love each other until their physique is right. As with OCD, the obsession is so strong that it terribly deteriorates one's body image: the opposite of what one wanted.
When I think that others are worth more than me or that I am not worthy of esteem, there is a high chance that I will end up being an emotional addict and endure conduct from other people that I otherwise would not tolerate.
The thought of the emotional employee reads as follows: "Since I am worthless and do not deserve love, I am satisfied with the crumbs you leave me and remain at the mercy of what you want to do with me".
Again, the lack of love is clearly visible. Depressed people see themselves as "very small", totally worthless and, therefore, postpone the start of their projects by colliding with this barrier.
They feel guilty, miserable, victims and are convinced every day that they are worthless and that, therefore, no one will appreciate them.
We could mention many other disorders: all those that have to do with impulse control, with the filling of inner voids, personality disorders, etc. We can easily see that the common denominator in all of them is the lack of love and that if, as professionals, we do not work on self-acceptance efficiently, the cure becomes practically impracticable, in fact we would remain at a superficial level.
Having acceptance of oneself as the ultimate goal makes us free: failures lose importance, as does criticism or rejection of others. Perfection ceases to be sought and we allow ourselves to act in accordance with our personal criteria, regardless of everything else.