Low self-regard is not something that only teenagers deal with. Adults struggle with many of the same issues that adolescents do, with regards to their self-image. Adulthood is full of opportunities, challenges, and experiences that affect this. Everyone should be aware of how it can affect different areas of their life and relationships with others.
How self-esteem affects your life
You may not realize how important self-respect is. Your career, relationships, and your overall happiness depend upon the level of confidence you have in yourself. The amount of success you have in your career will be a direct result of your efforts. Your efforts will be proportionate to the faith you have in yourself to achieve your goals. Basically, if you do not believe that you have what it takes to succeed, you won't succeed. That promotion, raise, or new business opportunity will remain distant dreams until you develop the boldness and the drive to pursue them. Self-confidence makes the difference between an unhappy desk clerk and the CEO of the company.
Dissatisfaction in relationships can be a result of a low self-esteem as well. Your sex life and how well you get along with your partner can be lacking simply because of your poor self worth. Distrust, jealousy, and trouble with intimacy are all related to having a negative image of yourself. These issues can lead to injured feelings and painful arguments.
Generally speaking, it is difficult to experience true happiness if you don't feel good about yourself. Negative thoughts about 'who you are' hinder creativity, rob you of simple joy, and stop you from seeing your own potential for greatness. No matter how good things around you may be, complete wholeness and happiness cannot come unless you have a healthy, positive image of yourself.
How your self-esteem affects others
It is difficult to enjoy a romantic relationship with someone who cannot see the beauty that you see. Relationships are particularly tough when your significant other is overly jealous or suspicious, regardless of how much love you may show them. Put yourself in the other person's situation. People who do not love themselves are very difficult to love. Having respect for yourself, and confidence enough to know that you are worthy of another's love can improve your relationship.
If you have children, it is even more crucial that you have healthy self-regard. Young children can develop the bad habit of negative commentary about themselves just by watching you. It is also incredibly harmful to either talk down to your children because it makes you feel better, or to dote on them so much that they develop an unhealthy ego. Your children will learn from your example, and their image of themselves depends a great deal on how you treat yourself and them. The early developmental stages and the teenage years shape the adult years. Teach your kids to respect you, to respect others, and to respect themselves. Encourage them to be who they are and to pursue their dreams. Balance that with a little humility, and they should be fine.
Friends, family, and colleagues are affected by your self-worth, too. Sometimes people with a poor self-image put others down to make themselves feel better, and this is harmful to them and the other person. Even if this doesn't happen, your low confidence can push people away. It is hard to be around someone who is negative towards themselves. Close friendships can be difficult, because low self-regard can create fear of intimacy, even on a platonic level. You could be hurting someone who truly cares for you simply, because you are too insecure to let them get close to you.
If you are an adult struggling with this problem, get help. You don't have to deal with this issue alone. Your confidence is vital to your emotional health. Taking steps to heal and become more self-assured will change your life.