Is There a Link Between Self-Esteem And Social Anxiety Disorder?

Last Update on November 3, 2023 : Published on November 6, 2023

In this complicated world, where a person’s status is judged by their social standing, it can be hard to leave the clutches of social anxiety. Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is a mental health condition that impacts a majority of people, worldwide. You may experience SAD when you have an intense fear of social situations and a persistent fear of being judged and publicly embarrassed.

While social anxiety disorder can have various causes and triggers, one of the primary concerns that contribute hugely to social anxiety is self-esteem. The relationship between self-esteem and anxiety is almost an intricate dance where one cannot glide without the other.

In this blog, we’re taking a look at how our self-perception and self-esteem can affect social anxiety disorder and vice versa, before learning how to overcome anxiety and boost self-esteem in social situations.

The Role of Self-Esteem in Social Anxiety Disorder

Self-esteem is the overall perception that we have of ourselves and involves self-worth, self-confidence, and even self-acceptance. Self-esteem gives us the courage to navigate social situations with confidence and assertiveness while keeping a sense of safety and resilience intact.

Now, if you have low self-esteem, then it can undermine your ability to cope with social situations and awkwardness, often worsening the symptoms of social anxiety and social anxiety disorder.

If you live with social anxiety disorder, then you’re likely to have certain core beliefs about yourself that keep feeding your anxiety instead of helping you move past it. Now, in many situations, we can bounce back from making mistakes almost instantly, but on the other hand, people with low self-esteem have low perceptions of themselves, and one mistake or a misstep can make them spiral downwards in negativity.

Not only that, but low self-esteem can make you more susceptible to criticism and negative self-feedback. You may look at one failure as confirmation that you are not worthy.

Low self-esteem can also amplify your fear of rejection and when thrown in with SAD, it can become quite harmful to your confidence and worthiness as people with SAD often believe that they are not worthy of belonging.

But! If you have healthy self-esteem, then you can easily assess yourself – strengths, weaknesses, and all – and know that you are deserving and confident.

How Healthy Self-Esteem Impacts Social Anxiety

Healthy self-esteem, on the other hand, can leave some impact on your social anxiety disorder (positively, mind you!) Here’s, how;

  • Better Resilience: When you have healthy self-esteem, it can act as a foundation of self-acceptance and self-confidence, allowing you to easily bounce back from setbacks. Self-esteem can also help you develop a sense of worthiness and lower the impact of negative core beliefs.
  • Reframed Thoughts: Having positive beliefs about yourself can also help reframe negative thought patterns that often coexist with social anxiety disorder. When you learn to replace self-critical thoughts with realistic and more compassionate ones, you can lower your social anxiety symptoms.
  • Better Coping Skills: Healthy self-esteem can also help you develop and utilize effective coping skills when you’re stuck in a stressful social situation.
  • Better Social Support: Healthy self-esteem also allows you to foster better social relationships. As someone with a strong sense of self-worth, you’re likely to seek supportive people and maintain healthy connections with empathetic and understanding people during social situations.

How to Boost Self-Esteem And Lower Anxiety?

If you’re struggling with low self-esteem, then you need to know that you can overcome it and practice healthy self-esteem. Making small changes can help you improve your self-perception and beliefs. Here are some things you can do to lower your social anxiety and improve your self-esteem;

1. Question Your Inner Voice

Listen to what you have to say about yourself. When you are being too critical of yourself, acknowledge that voice, but then question it further. Instead of blindly believing that you’re wrong somehow, challenge your inner critic to give proof that you are wrong. If you don’t get the evidence, move on.

2. Develop Self-Compassion

To counter social anxiety and increase self-esteem, develop self-compassion. Treat yourself kindly as you would a friend in need and say kind and loving words to yourself instead of criticizing yourself or berating yourself. Practicing self-compassion can help you develop healthy self-esteem.

3. Practice Mindfulness

Learn to see past your faults and focus on the present instead. Try to focus on your now and not on what’s been or what’s to come. You can’t change what’s in the past nor can you predict the future, but you can focus on the present and go with the flow. Just take a deep breath and be.

4. Learn to Let Go

When something holds you back, learn to let go of it if it’s of no use to you or your self-esteem. Whatever happened, happened. You need to move on and look ahead. If you can’t find yourself moving on, then it’s time you forgive yourself.

5. Seek Professional Support

When nothing seems to work, you can reach out and seek professional help and support. Therapy techniques and approaches such as CBT, ACT or acceptance and commitment therapy, and psychodynamic therapy can all help you increase self-esteem and reduce symptoms of social anxiety.


The relationship between self-esteem and social anxiety disorder is a complex one, where low self-esteem can bind you to feel fear and insecurity always. However, once you develop healthy self-esteem, you can move on to have confident social interactions and break free from social anxiety disorder and its clutches.

Healthy self-esteem can contribute to your well-being by empowering you to develop resilience and cultivate healthy relationships with others. Working on developing self-compassion, challenging your negative beliefs, being mindful, and letting go of past regrets can all help you move on in your journey and live life with confidence and comfort.

I hope this blog helped you learn the complexities between self-esteem and social anxiety disorder. For more write to us at or share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

Take Care!

About The Author

Swarnakshi Sharma
Swarnakshi Sharma

Swarnakshi is a content writer at Calm sage, who believes in a healthier lifestyle for mind and body. A fighter and survivor of depression, she strives to reach and help spread awareness on ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. A spiritual person at heart, she believes in destiny and the power of Self. She is an avid reader and writer and likes to spend her free time baking and learning about world cultures.

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