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Understanding Self-Esteem and Its Significance in the Workplace

25 June 2021

If you are always concerned about your appearance, second-guessing your actions, and doubting how everyone else views you, you may lack self-esteem. It's natural to feel insecure in scenarios outside of your comfort bubble or doubt your ability when faced with a new project. Low self-esteem affects every one of us at times. However, if your self-worth is so low that you cannot cope, it can have a detrimental impact on your mental health and daily life.

What is self-esteem?

Self-esteem, also called self-respect or self-worth, is your assessment of your significance as a person. A sense of worthiness is frequently derived from believing that you have admirable attributes and have accomplished good things. Furthermore, self-worth refers to the essential and persistent aspects of your personality. It is critical to counter negative self-talk with affirmation that you are enough and valued to accept your worthiness.

Your self-esteem comprises many beliefs about yourself, including how you look, feel, and how you evaluate your triumphs and shortcomings. If you have healthy self-esteem, you are more likely to feel confident in your talents and to have a more positive outlook on life in general. In contrast, research has connected low self-esteem to various difficulties that can affect anything from how you view your work to how you handle your relationships.


Low self-esteem is a collection of internal behaviors, emotions, and beliefs rather than a diagnosis. While there are some common indicators of low self-esteem, everyone displays them distinctively. 

  • Overthinking
  • Self-hate
  • Unable to trust your judgment
  • You're harsh on yourself, yet you're gentle on others.
  • Afraid of facing challenges because you're worried you won't overcome them
  • Anxiety and mental anguish
  • Having imposter syndrome or feeling like you don't belong
  • Feeling that you don't deserve your accomplishments and that they were just accidents
  • Doubting or second-guessing oneself
  • Feeling like a burden
  • Negative body image
  • Lack of personal boundaries
  • Perfectionism
  • Difficulty learning new skills or concepts
  • People-pleasing
  • Not pursuing what you desire, not requesting what you require
  • Difficulties forming new connections or increasing reliance on old friends
  • Oversensitivity
  • Avoidance of conflict
  • Disempowered body language (droopy shoulders, guarded postures, and minimal eye contact)
  • Disengage from social situations
  • Anger/rage
  • Overachieving/underachieving
  • Being a workaholic

Low self-esteem may signal a mental health issue.

The self-perception of a person is intimately related to their mental wellbeing. Many of the indicators of low self-esteem are similar to those of other mental health problems, including depression. If you believe your low self-esteem is a symptom of a deeper mental health issue, we strongly advise you to get professional help.


Your foundational level of self-esteem develops predominantly during your formative years, from childhood and adolescence to early adulthood. This is the stage in your life when you create your self-identity and grasp how you belong to the bigger picture. The experiences you encounter as a child might have a long-term impact on how you consider yourself. If you did not receive adequate care or attention as a youngster, you might develop feelings of inadequacy as an adult. If your parents have low levels of self-esteem, you may unknowingly mirror their feelings about yourself.

Cultural influences such as classism, racism, misogyny, and ableism can all impact how we perceive ourselves. These power structures affect us from many angles, from damaging media portrayal to bullying in school to microaggressions from neighbors. While many of us can survive various sorts of prejudice while maintaining our self-esteem, this is not the case for everybody.

Here are some examples of environmental influences that can have an impact on our self-esteem:

  • Too much criticism from influential adults as a child
  • Guardians or parents that are inattentive or uninvolved
  • Bullying
  • Medical and mental health issues
  • Negative life occurrences
  • Abuse and trauma

It's also worth noting that poor self-esteem can emerge in adulthood. No matter our age, dramatic life changes such as the ending of a meaningful relationship or the onset of a physical illness can impact our self-worth. Biology also has an influence. Some of us are just designed to experience emotions stronger. As a result, we may recall or cling to occurrences in our lives that other people would dismiss.


  • It can give your employers the impression that you are incompetent and not talented.
  • It can make you confuse misinterpret love.
  • It can give you a disadvantage in a relationship.
  • It can lead to depression.

Self-esteem in the workplace

In the workplace, having a solid sense of self-worth can improve your job performance in a wide range of aspects. High self-esteem frequently relates to self-confidence, which is believing in one's capabilities, traits, and wisdom. Acknowledging your worth can boost your work engagement, resulting in higher productivity and better connections with teammates. Believing in yourself allows you to trust your judgment and make good decisions, which are crucial leadership traits that can give you an edge in your profession.

How you can build your self-esteem at work

Employees who respect themselves tend to be more focused and find their jobs more rewarding. Below are some suggestions to boost your level of self-worth at work and improve your performance at work:

Have a purpose

Understand the characteristics of you to let others notice about you. Establish career goals using these and then devise a strategy for accomplishing them. If you believe you are working diligently toward attaining your goals, your self-esteem will most likely flourish.

Recognize your worth

Assign the value to your abilities and knowledge. This could involve charging the total amount for your skills or displaying confidence when interacting with colleagues. You can limit how much work you take on to alleviate stress and optimize the tasks you accomplish.

Identify strengths and weaknesses.

When did you feel like you were the best representation of yourself, and when did you feel like you continued to grow? Once you've identified your skills, you may use them to your advantage in the workplace. Instead of dwelling on your flaws, you should devise a strategy to overcome them. You should accept yourself as you are and allow yourself more time to reach your goals. Embracing yourself for who you are is a critical step in discovering your worth.

Look back at your triumphs.

Take some time to reflect on what you have already accomplished. You might also keep a progress report or a journal of your endeavors. Even if you don't meet a significant target, establish a list of three goals each day and accomplish them.

Take on tasks that are significant to you.

You could try to shift your emphasis away from performance to discover your passion. If finding purpose in your regular job is difficult, try incorporating something relevant to your work, such as suggesting that your office be more environmentally responsible or organizing fundraising for your local pet shelter.

Build relationships

Cultivating great relationships with your management and colleagues might help you feel more confident. Creating a profile or networking in your workplace will boost your exposure to your company and help you understand that you are a significant person.

Ask for feedbacks

Ask with your bosses and teammates about what they believe you excel in. Positive comments can boost your self-esteem, while constructive criticism can be used to help you develop.

Focus on yourself

Analyze how you behave when employees speak to you and whether your reactions demonstrate your value. You can practice interacting with others in a way that reflects your self-respect by speaking confidently and maintaining good posture. Think about starting your day with compliments about who you are and what you contribute to the community.

Self-esteem is something that develops gradually over time. There are different approaches to enhance your self-respect that you may apply daily. Taking care of oneself allows you to love yourself more. We are all worthy in our unique ways.