Low Self Esteem isn’t Seen in Newborn Babies
You will never see a newborn baby with a self-esteem problem. We have no concept, yet, of other people’s expectations. As we grow up we start observing, and interacting with, the world and the people in it, and our personal belief systems begin to develop. In a very real sense, it’s our interactions with other people that are the root causes of low self esteem. Since we cannot avoid interacting with people, we have to learn how to identify these causes and stop them from affecting us.
The People You Know
Parents lay the foundation for our self image. A child’s self-worth is based, in part, on the expectations of the parents and how well the child can meet those expectations. It is important for parents to realise the extent to which they can push their offspring to excellence. Also, criticism and snide comments can be internalized and become part of the child’s belief system and this will be held throughout their adult life. We cannot change our past, and we cannot blame our parents for wanting us to succeed, but what we can change is the way we look at it. Acknowledge the love, learn to set aside the disappointment, forgive where necessary, and move on. The entire field of positive motivation and daily affirmations is designed to combat those internalized feelings and beliefs and allow us to grow past them.
Your partner has certain expectations regarding your relationship, so it is important that communication about expectations is open, honest, and clear. Failing to meet an ideal that you do not even know about can be very damaging to a relationship as well as our own self image. The same principle applies to friends and relatives and our relationships with them. We need to be sure that we can clarify our role and understand what they expect of us.
Our self-image can also be affected by our relationships at work. On the one hand, the general expectations of the people around us are usually pretty clear. On the other hand, this clarity also makes in easier to point out our shortcomings and all all know people who are willing to do that pointing. What’s important here is to be aware that a job can be looked at as an chance for growth. If you do no have the required skills to grow at your job, yet, identify them so you can acquire them and meet your goals.
Comments, Real or Otherwise, From Strangers
The opinions of total strangers affect all of us to a certain degree. Perhaps we overhear comments of people as we walk down the street. We may think they’re about us, though they usually aren’t. Or perhaps we may read comments written in blogs or articles (especially when we actively participate in those blogged discussions. ) Perhaps we identify with certain groups that are discussed/dissed in the media, such as on TV or in magazine articles.
Judgments from people who do not know us can sometimes be more devastating than from those close to us. We may feel unfairly judged or belittled. Worse, we may even partially agree with these negative pronouncements. What is important here is to identify these feelings and examine their causes. If we cannot dispute a negative observation, perhaps we can change our mistake (did I forget to shower today? oops!) and also look for positive affirmations to counter the negative feelings. Sometimes the people who do know us can help (if they’re not part of the problem.) Many resources, both online and in print, can prove these judgments wrong or help us change them and our view of them..
As you can see, our perception of failing other people’s expectations is the seed from which poor self image sprouts. These causes of low self esteem are ubiquitous and unavoidable so you must learn to guard against them if you want to grow. Learning to deal with yourself and other people in a positive way is the one sure path to confidence and a good self image.