It seems everywhere you go all you see is the dangers and disadvantages low self-esteem brings but low self-esteem is not all bad just like everything else.
Some benefits can be gotten from low self-esteem. This does not mean people should desire low self-esteem to get these benefits but for those of us already suffering from low self-esteem, rather than just complaining and regretting, we can take advantage of these benefits while we work on building high self-esteem.
Advantages of Low Self-Esteem
1. Low self-esteem can lead you to work on yourself and produce better results
Before any solution can be gotten, there must first be the acknowledgment of a problem. Also, before any noticeable improvement can be made, there must first be a conscious effort toward making that improvement.
As one with low self-esteem, you are always aware of a problem even when there is none. Because of this awareness, you keep on making conscious efforts to fix something about yourself. This can lead you to become exceptionally better than those with high self-esteem who can easily appreciate their work.
Because you don’t see yourself as good, you wouldn’t appreciate your work even when it’s good and you keep working until it becomes excellent just for it to be good enough based on your judgment.
One of the hidden symptoms of low self-esteem is perfectionism. Although this perfectionistic nature has its disadvantages too, at least it gives higher quality output than would have been gotten if low self-esteem hasn’t caused that drive.
With time, because you have continued to produce better-quality work than others, you might begin to appreciate yourself and your self-esteem will increase.
2. Low self-esteem will help you learn more because you are not speaking
People with low self-esteem mostly don’t speak in social situations even when they have what to say because they think what they would say wouldn’t be valuable since they aren’t really valuable.
As a result of this, they tend to listen more. From listening, they pick everybody’s brain, critique it and become smarter than those who always do the talking.
Because they rarely get to talk, their level of knowledge is mostly never seen by anyone. I have noticed this both for myself and several people with low self-esteem.
At times when they talk, people get astonished, “so you know all of this”
But there’s a downside to this. All they have learned will not be fully refined because they don’t give it out. There is a level of refining that comes with bringing out what is inside you: you can find fault that you wouldn’t have found if you just kept it within.
So if those with low self-esteem only talk a little more, their natural tendency to listen will become more priceless than it is currently; they will now be able to listen more and refine their knowledge more.
3. Low self-esteem can make you appreciate the works of others more
People with high self-esteem have a higher tendency to normalize success as seen in the Self-Esteem Work Output Board. People with high self-esteem always have “I can do it” playing in their minds. Because of this, they might not appreciate the effort and sacrifices of others because they think they can do it too.
The ability to appreciate the efforts of others becomes very useful in relationships, both spousal, family, and organizational. People become motivated to put more effort into their work when their efforts are appreciated.
However, on the other hand, rather than being appreciative of the works of others, low self-esteem can lead to jealousy, but this only happens when there is a mixture of low self-esteem and pride which is very commonplace.
4. Low self-esteem will save you from low self-esteem
This might sound like a no-brainer but it is true. The one who has low self-esteem already has low self-esteem and wouldn’t be afraid his self-esteem would diminish.
However, the one who has high self-esteem might go through experiences that will diminish the positive view he has about himself as explained in the article How High Self-Esteem Is Overrated.
Individuals with high self-esteem might have had that esteem built on lies rather than their true worth. On discovering that they are not truly worth what they have estimated themselves to worth, the individual will develop diminished self-esteem and will find it more difficult to develop high self-esteem than the one who has always had low self-esteem because they begin to see anyone or anything trying to convince them that they are worthy as lying based on their experience.
5. Low self-esteem can help you build the self-esteem of others
This is looking at a sheer disadvantage from the other side. People with low self-esteem always see themselves as inferior and see others as superior. Sometimes, they go ahead to communicate a sense of superiority they have of the person to that person.
If the individual isn’t protective or gets irritated by the disposition of the one with low self-esteem, they might take on the sense of superiority or at least value and build their estimation of themselves on that.
In simple terms, the individual around someone with low self-esteem will say to himself “since Mr. Low Self-Esteem keeps saying I’m so valuable it means I’m truly valuable,” and it might be true that they are more valuable than they had always thought but needed someone to point it out to them.
6. Low self-esteem can save you from embarrassment
This is quite on a lighter note but it is true. The one who has low self-esteem will not take on responsibilities that they cannot do, will not try to show expertise that they do not possess, or will not claim to be higher than who they really are.
The one with high self-esteem, on the other hand, might be tempted to drift into all of these because they always have a positive outlook on themselves. Times when they fall into that temptation, it ends as embarrassment as against the one with low self-esteem who wouldn’t try it in the first place because they don’t see positivity in themselves.
This tendency to drift into what you are not is not to be confused with the effort to get better than you were. This is when the individual totally leaves the confines of who they are and tries something bigger than them, think of a first-time novice boxer trying to fight a heavyweight champion.
All this being said, I am not saying anyone should desire low self-esteem because of these benefits. Surely, there are many more benefits that come from high self-esteem and all of these listed benefits can also be gotten even if you have high self-esteem.
All I’m saying is if you have found yourself to have low self-esteem, rather than just regretting and wishing it isn’t so, you can take advantage of these benefits while you work on building your self-esteem. It is one of the keys to living a life of gratitude and freedom from depression.
High self-esteem is overrated, low self-esteem is unhealthy. What is needed is true self-esteem. What is true self-esteem?
Olusegun Iyejare is a career coach and certified counselor. He helps individuals discover and maximize their potential to live satisfying lives regardless of obvious limitations holding them back.