20 and virgin

Constant social interaction and intense media conditioning can intensify the effects of social pressures on a person. An increase in societal expectations, or what are perceived to be so, can be overwhelming for some people and lead to anxiety, stress and withdrawal. One’s sense of self worth should not be based on conforming to social norms. For instance, there is absolutely nothing wrong with choosing to remain a virgin after 20, without succumbing to social pressures. However, if one has issues such as low self confidence, which are affecting their life and stopping them from achieving fully, it is important to address these issues. A therapist or counsellor can help to overcome feelings of low self worth and to live life to the fullest.

Anxiety and the media

Young people nowadays face an immense number of social pressures. Social networking sites and constant social interaction mean that young people are always in an environment of judging and being judged. Digital platforms that allow you to ‘stage’ your life in public and allow you to ‘like’ aspects of others people’s lives only serve to stoke this culture of insecurity. It is not surprising therefore that rising anxiety among young people is a worldwide concern. There are cases of children as young as eight and nine who need counselling from a therapist for low self esteem and anxiety caused by social interactions.

Often a social norm or expectation that one fails to meet can become the focal point of distress and anxiety. For instance, still being a virgin at a certain age, especially for men, can be a cause of great stress, frustration and anxiety. Being unable to remedy the situation due to personal limitations can only add to the frustration, causing the problem to worsen. The stress can escalate and eventually it can impact on your day-to-day life. It could even lead to other more serious problems which could make it necessary to seek help from a therapist or psychiatrist. The underlying cause of such anxiety is usually low self esteem, and increased anxiety due to social pressures.

The area that low self esteem affects the most is interpersonal relationships. In order to form meaningful and successful relationships, it is important to have a healthy sense of self worth. Having a low opinion of yourself can lead to self sabotaging behaviour which can make it difficult to form real lasting relationships. People who see a therapist for relationship counselling often discover that at the root of their problems with each other often lies a problem of self worth or self perception. Our view of ourselves essentially guides us and shapes our life.

Low self esteem directly affects the level of confidence. Self worth is something that is developed over time and is being constantly renewed based on current experiences and actions. Once your mind accepts that you are only ‘worthy’ of certain things, you make life choices that conform to this idea of yourself, thereby creating a vicious cycle. Low self esteem is therefore not something that can be overcome by using quick fix techniques. A therapist can help you understand the root causes of your beliefs about yourself and help you break out of the cycle.

Some low self esteem symptoms

Some symptoms of low self esteem include anxiety, low self confidence, and avoidance of social interaction, not able to take up new challenges or quitting things constantly. These signs should not be ignored or confused with shyness. While shyness is a personality trait, low self esteem has to do with your sense of worth. Persistent self esteem issues could lead to conditions such as major depressive disorder, borderline personality disorder, eating disorders such as bulimia etc., symptoms of low self esteem can be telling of an existing underlying condition.

Whether it is a specific issue such as being unable to interact with women of your own age, or a general problem with low self esteem, it is important to address the issue and not ignore it. As mentioned earlier in this article, self esteem issues are self perpetuating and can go on worsening if not dealt with. Just discussing your feelings and your perceived limitations with a therapist can be a cathartic experience, as it allows you to acknowledge yourself to another person in a non judgemental setting. This act itself is a good starting point and the therapist can build on it to help you find the causes of your low self worth and work on them.

Images on Creative Commons license courtesy of Gullig, Daniela Vladimirova, garryknight

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