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The Cost Of Living With Low Self-Esteem

Written by: Andrée Funnell, Senior Level Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Many people live their entire lives without getting to the source of what originally caused their feelings of low self-esteem. Getting to the nub of the issue will avoid pain, heartache, lack of fulfilment and success throughout your life. If you are unaware of how you can heal your painful past and reframe the circumstances that originally resulted in interpretations of being unworthy, unlovable, or deficient in some way then you will meander through life feeling dissatisfied or frustrated. Rather than face up to the issue and identify the source, most people instead resort to finding ways to distract themselves from the unpleasant sensations that accompany feeling inferior.

A shot of sad girl in the mirror.

The Inner Critic

Instead of effectively silencing the inner critic, they seek out distractions to help them temporarily forget about their lacking confidence and deficient self-image. Five of the more common ways to relieve the pain of low self-esteem and poor self-confidence involve excessive attention to work, food, sports, or even shopping. Like all addictions, they help to distract from but do not resolve the underlying problem and so one is still plagued by feelings that will continually require greater efforts from which to hide.

Diverting your Attention

1. Workaholism

In our culture, work is usually an acceptable means of diverting our attention. Through hard work, we busy ourselves to the extent that we lack the free time needed to brood over our sorrows. Those who work excessively are often too tired to worry about a lacking social life or the pursuit of fun pastimes that they often likewise believe they do not deserve to experience. Work provides rewards such as money, recognition, and a feeling of accomplishment, all of which help to compensate for feelings of failure in other areas of life.

It’s not that a commitment to work is bad. It is quite admirable as just one component of a well-balanced life. However, when pursued to excess, it doesn’t allow for the honouring of other equally important elements such as a commitment to family, friends, fun, recreation, personal and spiritual development, etc. An obsession with work can take its toll on health, relationships, and missed opportunities for other equally valuable pursuits.

Moreover, when work is undertaken from the perspective that ‘I’m ‘not good enough' in one or more aspects of your being, it can’t be fully enjoyed. Feelings of low self-confidence and little self-esteem diminish your energy by consuming attention. Its attention that could have been spent more productively in the joyful pursuit of your goals and passions, rather than as a distraction from persistent negative self-talk (the inner critic).

2. Identity with Food ‒ Over-Eating

Like working excessively, an obsession with food is often a common escape from feelings of unworthiness. Eating can serve both as a distraction and a way to make ourselves feel better. However, food is an instant distraction and after we have eaten, we then feel guilty about doing so.

We often seek from food the emotional connection that we are lacking in close, intimate relationships. Frequently, food is linked in our minds to happy times with family or friends. Perhaps we experienced food rewards from our parents or authority figures for achievements in our early years. For many, food has become synonymous with love. And so in times of stress, fear, and loneliness, many turn to food to fill a void that only love and self-fulfilment can satisfy.

Habitual overeating also results in being out of shape, overweight, and generally unattractive in modern culture. The more you eat as a substitute for missing self-love and intimacy with others, the more obese you are likely to become. This in turn reinforces the feeling that the heavier you become, the less you fit in and the lower your self-esteem and self-confidence plummets. As the feeling of loneliness and low self-esteem increases the more likely you are to turn to comfort food. These foods are usually high in carbohydrates, high fat, and high in comfort variety. This creates a vicious cycle ensuring more weight gain and lower self-esteem.

3. Sports and Other Physical Outlets

Some people run to overcome feelings of loneliness, boredom, depression or lacking self-worth. Some pump iron, play golf or work out at the gym while others find their unique way to divert their focus through exercise, hobbies, or sports. Many would argue that such a diversion is a healthy way to funnel energy into an activity that contributes to good physical health. However, like any obsession, when taken to the extreme to divert attention from issues in need of resolution, it can become an unhealthy means of avoiding areas in serious need of attention.

4. Shopping

Another common obsession to compensate for a low self-image is shopping. While some find temporary comfort in making themselves feel more attractive by purchasing the latest, most stylish clothes, shoes, accessories, or even cars and other expensive toys if their budget allows (and many times even if it does not!), compulsive shoppers find that the comfort they seek in material items is typically short-lived. They often fool themselves into thinking that the next new outfit or perfume purchase will make the difference they seek in having them feel better about themselves.

Sadly, it never does. However, all too often such excessive spending sprees send the shopaholic deeper into debt. This further reinforces or worsens the failure interpretation they already possessed and continues to diminish their self-esteem and confidence level.

5. Other Addictions

There are countless other addictions that people resort to find meaning in life when their self-worth is lacking. Whether it is compulsive gambling, studying, hobbies, decorating the house, or whatever other diversion, those who lack inner peace will not soon find it externally with a focus that seeks to cover up feelings of being unworthy or unlovable.

Below I have identified six ways to help you eradicate feelings of low self-esteem and confidence.

Six Ways to Eradicate Feelings of Low Self-Esteem and Confidence

Thankfully, there is a way to reclaim one’s self-worth and restore self-esteem and confidence to a high level providing internal comfort and fulfilment.

  1. Facing the issue rather than using distractions to avoid it.

  2. Identify the nub of the issue when and where it began.

  3. Identify what impact it has had in your life.

  4. Identify what damage your inner critic (limiting beliefs) has done over the years and develop empowering beliefs and positive self-talk.

  5. Find yourself a professional coach – ideally someone who works at a deep level to help you build your confidence and self-esteem.

  6. Develop a strategy or road map to take you on that journey of self-discovery to find out what you can achieve and help you skyrocket your career and your life.

And if you’re still reading, you know that it’s no longer acceptable to continue living your life with low Self-Esteem and Confidence. I can help you do to map out a strategy and get the clarity you need to move forward with your life with renewed confidence to achieve the success you deserve and desire.

Call me today at 07702 818665 to arrange a 15-minute Clarity Call to find out how I can help you achieve the success and growth you want in your life. Alternatively, email me at

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, connect with me on LinkedIn and visit my website for more info!


Andrée Funnell, Senior Level Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Andrée is a multi-award-winning Coach, Learning & Development Consultant, best-selling author, and speaker. She is the founder and driving force behind the success of Aspiring Future Competence (AFC). Since its inception in 2002, AFC has helped clients across a wide range of business sectors to get visible, get heard, and get ahead by applying inspirational ways to bring about positive change and empowerment. She has over 20 years of HR & training experience working in corporate organizations and a further 18 years delivering development solutions that make a difference to people’s careers and lives. She is a qualified coach, professional trainer, and NLP Practitioner. She discovered that Authenticity is the key to happiness, fulfillment, and success and is keen to get the message out there to others. ‘Behind the Mask’ is Andrée’s literary debut about ‘Authenticity.’ It’s an essential interactive step-by-step guide to turning your life around and achieving the kind of life you deserve by living authentically.



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