As we go through life, we record our memories and our interpretations, though not necessarily the facts surrounding those memories. From these countless recollections, we have the makings of a movie of our life. Our mind thinks in much the same way as a DVD works — it rewinds and replays past events. This analogy can help explain how we form views of ourself, and how that view is the basis for our behaviour.
Family Environments Influence Self-Esteem
A child’s view of herself begins to form as soon as the child is born. Based on the things she is told, the specific situations she experiences, and how she is treated, a picture of her “self” evolves. If she is praised and encouraged, she likely begins to develop healthy self-esteem: if, however, she is consistently criticized, ridiculed, or told she can’t do things right, she begins to question her competency and adequacy. If her feelings are ignored she begins to feel unimportant; if she is shamed, she starts to feel unworthy.
For people with low self esteem their environment may have caused them to doubt there adequacy and competence when they were just a child. Discouraging remarks, ridicule, and criticism set the stage for the movie of their life in which the stinging bite of their parents’ disapproval remained a key influence. Desperately needing their support and affirmation, children struggle to prove their self-worth by excelling in music, sports, business, but experience countless situations that tell them they are “not good enough”. The scars remain and now, still confused and filled with doubt, they continue to evaluate themselves on the basis of these numerous past incidents, especially when she again receives criticism.
People with low self-esteem have believed the worst about themselves so strongly and for so long that they readily discard any feedback that contradicts their belief. They are unable to trust compliments and praise and often unknowingly twist such comments to mean the opposite. Overly self-conscious, they are easily embarrassed when they are the centre of attention.
Who Suffers From Low Self-Esteem?
We may think that those who have LSE are the down-and-out, unsuccessful in their careers and their relationships. This is not necessarily true for people with low self-esteem are present in all walks of life. They are executives, professionals, entrepreneurs, labourers, skilled workers, teachers, clerks, hair dressers, in fact, people from all occupations. They are highly educated and minimally educated. They are male and female, old and young, wealthy and poor; single, coupled, and divorced; they are of all nationalities.Some seek therapy; some do not. Some are aware they have low self-esteem; many are not.
Recovery from Low Self-Esteem
While our situations in life vary, we each have the capacity to alter the course of our lives. We have the ability to become the captain of our own ship, the person who controls the transitions in our lives. We can take steps that will result in restored hope, stimulated motivation, and renewed confidence: steps that will guarantee a fresh outlook for the future and a new outcome for our lives. We can attain skills not yet mastered; we can learn to face our fears; we can set fresh, fulfilling goals and acquire the means to reach those goals. We do not have to continue being held captive by the chain of low self-esteem.
What is required is a desire to change, a longing and willingness to put focused energy into recovering from the devastating effects of LSE. Some will see this need to change as a challenge, a roadblock that impedes their movement but one they can dislodge; for others, this need to change will represent an insurmountable blockade. In truth, we all have the capacity to change if we want it badly enough. It is a choice. Those who do not opt to work toward change will once again be choosing self-defeating behaviours over those that can enhance and better their lives; they will be choosing to remain stifled, enslaved, and miserable. Those who choose to work at improving their lives, who actively work at improving their self-esteem, will reap the rewards; each step towards recovery will break one link in the chain of low self-esteem.
My question to you today, how badly do you want to change? Only you have the power within you to turn a negative self defeating or destructing habit into a positive one. One that will build you up rather than tear you down. So make a decision today, right now that it is time you empowered yourself. Let go of what is holding you back and take a step into the high esteem category, one that is full of unconditional love and acceptance.
Be kind to yourself is the best therapy ever invented and the great news is, it doesn’t cost you a penny. So what are you waiting for, start your new life today.