The Consequences of Low Self-Esteem

Moms Without Capes
The Consequences of Low Self-Esteem

The effects of having low self-esteem are wide and at first glance may be surprising but if we go back to the cognitive model, we can see that what we believe about ourselves dictates most of what we think, feel, and do. Therefore your self-esteem is a major player throughout your life and when you don’t like yourself, or your self-esteem level is on the lower end, then much of what you are thinking, feeling, and doing are likely not serving you.


So, how does low self-esteem affect you? Some of its consequences may appear to be positive and mistakenly not attributed to low self-esteem, such as the drive for success. There is a large handful of overachievers who work to make themselves feel good and significant. They are afraid of letting others know they aren’t good enough (which is the belief they may hold about themselves) so they work twice as hard to prove otherwise. 

Tying your worth to your to-do list may signify you have low self-esteem.


Many Super-Moms struggle with this and attempt to do “all the things” in pursuit of making themselves feel like they are being “good moms.” Their worth gets tied to their to-do lists which keeps them trapped in a perpetual cycle of people-pleasing and poor boundaries. This, of course, leaves them with little time for themselves and that familiar feeling of having lost themselves.


Many Super-moms who have low self-esteem also struggle with perfectionistic tendencies. Believing that you have to be perfect or do things perfectly feeds the belief of not being enough simply because it is impossible to be perfect.  These unrealistic expectations tend to leave you with a constant feeling of failure and perhaps thinking you “are a mistake” instead of “making a mistake.” 


One effect of low self-esteem which may not be as surprising as the others is people-pleasing behaviors. This is different from helping people with healthy boundaries in place. People-pleasing crosses the line to helping people at the expense of your own needs and wants and comes from the need to make yourself feel more important or worthy.

Moms with low self-esteem tend to struggle with healthy boundary setting.


When you hold the belief that you do not deserve to be worthy and successful, you may self-sabotage by procrastinating on tasks. You keep playing small because you fear not succeeding and ultimately end up not succeeding at all, reinforcing the belief you hold. Those with low self-esteem are afraid of letting others know they aren’t good enough and so they go to great lengths to avoid making mistakes to cover their defects.


More surprising may be the inability to accept compliments, gifts, or help from others because you feel unworthy of receiving goodness. You may fear that doing so will reveal your weaknesses and the belief of not being enough will be reinforced. You also may have doubts about the genuineness of a person’s offer and second guess their motives.


We tend to hold tight to that which supports the beliefs we hold and those with low self-esteem will naturally seek out evidence that they are not enough. Social media especially tends to fan these flames, causing many to feel they do not measure up to others’ wonderful and exciting lives, despite the fact that we are looking at only a small window of people’s lives in our social feeds. Playing the compare game keeps us trapped.


Aside from an increased risk of developing mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety, moms with low self-esteem tend to have more instances of  sadness, shame, fear, anger, loneliness, and stress. The underlying belief of unworthiness feeds the inner mean girl and increases these negative feelings, which perpetuates the belief of not being enough and so the cycle continues until interrupted with intentional action.


When moms struggle with low self-esteem, they are less likely to practice regular self-care. When your self-worth is suffering, it’s likely your self-care is, as well. After all, if you consider yourself as unworthy, you likely don’t think of yourself as important enough to prioritize. Basic self-care can fall by the wayside and may even be replaced by substance use, promiscuity, overeating, and harmful addictions.

When your self-worth is suffering, it’s likely your self-care is, as well.

Want a list of easy, quick self-care practices that you can do in and around your house? Click here to grab your list!


The effects of low self-esteem can extend further than these mentioned consequences and can affect different moms in different ways. As with anything, awareness is key and so it’s important to be aware of how your level of self-esteem is affecting you. Get in touch with your thoughts and feelings and identify the beliefs you hold that are contributing to your actions. Next week, I’ll be sharing some ways to build your self-esteem so that you can overcome these consequences and move towards your best self.

Let's talk about it...

Which, if any of these areas do you find that you struggle with? On a scale of 1 to 10, how do you rate your self-esteem? If you like yourself any less than a 10, how is that showing up in your life? What thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are you exhibiting as a result of your self-esteem?


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