How a Lack of Self-Acceptance Causes Self-Esteem Problems

Megan Smith
 min read

This article will explain how a lack of self-acceptance causes self-esteem problems.

How a Lack of Self-Acceptance Causes Self-Esteem ProblemsIt is essential to love and accept ourselves as we are to feel good about ourselves. The importance of self-love and self-acceptance is the key to psychological well-being.

When we have trouble accepting ourselves, it can lead to self-esteem problems. Negative thoughts about ourselves can lower our self-esteem and cause problems in our lives. Unsuccessfully wanting to drive out negative thoughts or ruminating on them causes emotional discomfort and behavioral change.

Read on to discover the link between the not accepting yourself and the problems related to self-esteem.

How a lack of self-acceptance causes self-esteem problems: Introduction

Sometimes, self-esteem problems will correspond to thoughts or emotions of self-denial.

When we say to ourselves:

“I’m never going to make it, I’m too bad, and I hate myself.”

It is not only this thought that will make us suffer but the fact that after it, another thought will appear.

The emotions that follow from this thought will be mainly anger, shame, or sadness.

The relationship between self-esteem problems and not accepting yourself

What do you do when you face the pain of these negative thoughts or when you don’t feel up to it?

Generally, there are two spontaneous reactions:

  • First, we will try to chase these thoughts from our minds.
  • Or we’ll give in to them and brood over them.

These two strategies are often found in research that has studied this phenomenon.

Driving out negative thoughts

Trying to chase away negative thoughts by saying:

“Ok, now I won’t think about it.”

or by distracting yourself is only effective in the short term.

Indeed, sometimes there is a “rebound” effect of the thoughts that have been dismissed. This occurs especially in people with low self-esteem: the repressed thoughts reappear later and with more force.

Even without this rebound effect, this type of mental functioning (i.e., trying to suppress troublesome thoughts) can cause significant emotional discomfort.

Source: Purdon & Clark, Suppression of obsession-like thoughts in nonclinical individuals: impact on thought frequency, appraisal and mood state, Behaviour Research and Therapy, 2001

Ruminating on negative thoughts

Ruminations can be defined as the repetition of dark thoughts or images that focus on negative aspects of oneself or the world.

Ruminations about oneself are very common when one has self-esteem problems.

Indeed, they often occupy an important place in the minds of people with low self-esteem.

When these people have experienced an event that destabilizes their self-esteem, they will continue to act or talk, and a sort of little “rumination mill” will start up. Sometimes they are aware of it, but most often they are not.

Therefore, these ruminations of negative thoughts will disrupt their way of being and thinking.

Examples of challenging situations for our self-acceptance

There is a whole series of situations where one is confronted with his limits. Here are some examples:

Losing a game, not being able to do your work, a recipe, or a craft easily

In this situation, we:

  • don’t accept ourselves for being so “stupid,”
  • get easily annoyed with ourselves, and
  • think we are bad because we believe we have behaved stupidly.

Being with people we think are better than us

In some situations, you find yourself among people you think are more intelligent, refined, educated, or even more important.

We don’t think we have the right to speak unless we have something new, funny, or original to say.

Therefore, in front of them, we prefer to remain silent for fear of revealing our shortcomings or saying something silly. In front of these people, we do not accept ourselves.

Wanting to have the correct answer at all costs

If we are asked a question and don’t know the correct answer directly, we may feel offended, humiliated, belittled, or incompetent.

In this situation, we don’t accept being caught in the act of ignorance.

Being criticized or teased

Some people are terrified of being the butt of jokes. During parties, these people may do everything to avoid people who could possibly criticize or tease them.

They feel they are incapable of witty replies or don’t have the authority to dissuade or retaliate against them if they are criticized.

In all these situations, why couldn’t people with low self-esteem simply say:

  • “What do you mean by that?”
  • “I don’t know.”
  • “I’m sorry, I can’t do it.”
  • “I don’t understand anything”?

Why don’t these people accept themselves?

Generally, they do not accept themselves because they are convinced that there are dangers:

  • Dangers to oneself where they think that “to accept oneself is to lose control.”
  • Dangers from others where they believe that “accepting oneself as vulnerable and fragile means exposing oneself to criticism, judgment, and rejection.”

Not accepting yourself is avoidance. And as in all avoidance, we think we are preserving ourselves because we believe that we will be in danger if we reveal our limits and weaknesses.

How a lack of self-acceptance causes self-esteem problems: Conclusion

Therefore, a lack of self-acceptance is at the root of self-esteem problems.

Not accepting ourselves in certain situations can lower our self-esteem and, consequently, our self-confidence.

It is essential to accept that no one is perfect and that it is important to love oneself with one’s weaknesses and limitations.

About Megan Smith

Megan has been fighting overweight and her plus size since her teenage years. After trying all types of remedies without success, she started doing her own research. Megan founded Plus Size Zeal to share her findings. She also developed various detailed buying guides for plus-size people in order to make their lives easier and more comfortable. Read More