Is It Your Environment That Needs To Change?
By Helen Godfrey, MA, NCC, BCC, LPC
Low self-esteem and a lack of confidence can be caused by a number of things. Many people think that to fix low self-esteem, you have to look inside yourself. While it’s true that there are internal things that cause low self-esteem, there are also external factors that can contribute to low self-esteem.
Instead of looking inside for all the reasons you're not more confident or successful, let's look at the space you live in. Ask yourself these questions and spend some time thinking about your answers.
Are You Playing Small?
Sometimes we feel small because we're living small. This doesn’t mean that you have to drop everything and go backpacking through Europe right now or that every moment of your life has to be an epic adventure.
But for many people with low self-esteem, it’s easy to get into a rut. You start believing that you can’t do better and so you stop trying. You create a self-fulfilling prophecy without realizing it. Look at your life right now. What limitations have you accepted without challenging them? What areas of your life have you accepted as “good enough”?
Are You Encouraged and Uplifted by Your Friends and Family?
We are deeply influenced by the people we spend time with. This can be a good thing if you’re spending time with positive people. But if your friends and family are unkind or negative, that same attitude can rub off on you.
Ask yourself how you’d feel if you didn’t speak to a certain friend or family member for a week. Would you feel relieved at the thought of missing Aunt Sylvia’s rants about the job she hates? Would you feel sad if you missed that call from your sister who helps you see the best in the world?
If there’s someone negative in your life, you don’t have to cut them out completely. But do look for ways to limit your time together and don’t be afraid to change the topic of conversation if things take a negative turn.
Are You Pursuing New Experiences?
Often a lack of confidence and self-esteem can be caused by becoming too comfortable. You do the same things in the same way every single day. You don’t change things up. You don’t challenge yourself to experience new things and you don’t go beyond what’s safe and comfortable. This can cause you to stop growing as a person.
When you go outside your normal and look for new experience, you open yourself up. You discover new ways to do things. You find solutions that you wouldn’t have come up with any other way. You learn more about yourself and the world around you.
You can find new experiences into your life just by looking for opportunities outside of your comfort zone. Try a different type of cuisine. Drive a different route to work. Volunteer at an organization that you wouldn’t typically support. Take a weekend road trip and see where you end up.
Your environment shapes your self-confidence, so don’t be afraid to look around at your life and make some changes. Surround yourself with people and experiences that build up your self-esteem and make you happy.