Are Anxiety and Low Self-Esteem Related?

People with low self-esteem, who doubt themselves, and feed a negative inner dialogue gradually build the prison of anxiety. It's the result of insecurity that limits a person's enjoyment of life and that stems from anguish and restlessness.
Are Anxiety and Low Self-Esteem Related?
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 15 November, 2021

The relationship between anxiety and low self-esteem has a direct impact on other dimensions, such as your mood or any projects you undertake. You may limit yourself to using certain techniques to manage stress and anxiety disorders and, as a result, overlook specific triggers. Behind that anguish, restlessness, and adverse symptomatology dwells a mind used to sabotaging itself.

Cognitive psychotherapist Albert Ellis rightly pointed out that self-demand is one of the most common causes of anxiety. The anxious mind is always afraid of not reaching certain goals, failing, or being vulnerable or imperfect. It’s easy to progressively believe that you don’t reach certain goals because you either can’t or just don’t deserve them.

In many cases, anxiety is followed by helplessness. This is something to keep in mind because a fractured self-concept leads to fears, insecurities, and the inability to manage your own life.

“Insecure people only eclipse your sun because they’re jealous of your daylight and tired of their dark, starless nights.”

-Shannon L. Alder-

A seemingly upset man.

Anxiety and low self-esteem are the causes behind this relationship

You’d discover several things if you could immerse in your thoughts and the internal dialogue that flows in your mind.

You could say things such as “I can’t control my anxiety”, “I don’t have the skills to cope with this”, “I better avoid doing this because it’s not worth it and I’ll probably fail”, o “I don’t like my body” to yourself.

In fact, many people hide behind their anxiety to avoid dealing with their low self-esteem, the root cause of the problem.

Thus, it’s common for them to make comments such as:

  • “I’m not going to that job interview because it makes me anxious.”
  • “I’m not going to write to the person I like because my anxiety will ruin everything.”

In these cases, they’re not aware that the original root causes of the anxiety and of those thoughts are their own insecurity and low self-esteem.

Continue reading for more explanations that justify the relationship between anxiety and low self-esteem.

Anxiety and low self-esteem – the eternal fear of rejection

An enhancer of self-esteem is a proper upbringing. This is because a positive attachment with parents and feeling secure and loved are all essential nutrients. This undoubtedly generates a positive self-concept.

However, almost everything falls apart when this fails. Having had a difficult childhood and even being a victim of bullying often lead to an eternal fear of rejection. That anguish, the fear of being rejected time and again (either at a personal or professional level), ends up shaping any subsequent anxiety disorders.

A woman enjoying the view.

The relationship between low self-esteem and perfectionism

Researchers conducted an interesting study at Curtin University in Australia. Dr. Sarah Egan showed there’s a significant relationship between perfectionism, anxiety, and low self-esteem. Moreover, this link is often present in eating disorders.

The need to do everything well is a reflection of anxiety and low self-esteem. However, doubts and insecurity soon appear, as well as the self-doubt of those who doubt themselves and what they’ve done with great effort. All these situations lead to frustration and anxiety.

A mind that only focuses on the negative side of things

The mind is often captive to that cognitive and emotional focus through which light, courage, or optimism rarely enter. It’s that tunnel vision where there’s no perspective other than fatalism or failure. Behind this personal perspective lies the seed of low self-esteem, which progressively builds the prison of anxiety.

It isn’t easy to emerge from these psychological states. Often, anxiety and low self-esteem create a vicious cycle that’s difficult to get out of. It isn’t easy to break that mold and show the person that it’s up to them to change and improve their well-being.

However, anyone can do it, and the way to start improving is by working on self-appreciation. Thus, you should work on your self-perspective. Your fears and anxiety will disappear as soon as you begin to bet on yourself. All you have to do is add a touch of confidence, security, illusion, and a vital purpose to your daily life.

Everyone has the capacity and potential to invest in this process. Self-esteem is, after all, the muscle that moves the world and keeps you motivated.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.