Improving Low Self Esteem

Understanding ourselves is the means to improving low self esteem.

Having awareness about why we feel the way we do and where our negative feelings originate can give us tremendous power to change our lives.

The journey towards authenticity involves self acceptance and for us to really accept ourselves, we need to understand our feelings of low self esteem.

improving low self esteem

The great novelist, John Steinbeck, wrote about it like this:

The greatest terror a child can have is that he is not loved, and rejection is the hell he fears.

John Steinbeck, East of Eden

Improving Low Self Esteem – The Early Years

We develop our sense of self in our very early years.

We need to know that we are loved and wanted, that we are special and important to the people who are the most important to us.

living a healthy life

However, the early years are filled with knocks and blows to our innocent self to many and varying degrees.

It is all the more difficult if we know we are loved by the very people who are delivering these knocks. We develop a sense that we are not quite right – a sense of worthlessness forms deep within.

If we are continually pushed away and rejected, or crushed and ridiculed, we naturally develop the notion that there is something very wrong with us rather than with the people delivering this message to us.

We feel that we must be less than adequate, that we don’t measure up, and in some way we know this is hugely shameful, so we hide this knowledge deep inside.

Improving Low Self Esteem - Our Sense of Self

This unacknowledged, hidden, secret pool of feelings constitutes our sense of self worth.

improving low self esteem

Into this pool is also added the good things that we feel about ourselves – any praise, affection, security, and value – these positive attributes temper the negative attributes and together make up our sense of self.

This is the basis of our self esteem

For some, the mixture includes more positive than negative, and when mixed with an optimistic nature, the outcome is usually an affirmative sense of wellbeing. However, there are some who grow up in particular family circumstances where the pool of worthlessness is continually fed.

In our adult life, the habit of self criticism, which comes from a wounded sense of self, has its beginnings in our very early childhood as a survival mechanism. Proven studies indicate that the parenting style during the first formative years determines the amount of self esteem that children start out with.

Improving Low Self Esteem – The Pain of Low Self Esteem

Low self esteem causes huge amounts of misery through the volume of self doubt, judgment and criticism we heap on ourselves.

improving low self esteem

We deny ourselves, reject ourselves and blame ourselves. Our self limiting outlook means that we devalue our goodness, our possibilities and our abilities.

We see ourselves as less than others socially, emotionally, spiritually and physically, often compensating through harsh defense or inflated boasting.

We hide our low sense of self behind a social facade or mask, so that our ‘real’ self cannot be seen – hidden from both ourselves and from others.

improving low self esteem
We fear that others may see us as we ‘really are’ – as worthless and inadequate - and so if someone criticizes, ridicules or rejects us, we feel they have seen through us.

This hurt only intensifies the childhood trauma we have buried – often so deeply that we have no name for it.

When others make us feel bad, we see that as their fault, and blame them for creating uncomfortable feelings within us. When we feel hurt we either lash out by attacking others, or by attacking ourselves, or by avoiding confrontation and running away from the feelings.

However, we don’t usually have much awareness that this is how we are thinking. We’re not inclined to have either an internal or external conversation where we express our sense of self in this way.

Mostly, we are in a state of denial about these awful feelings hidden deep within.

Improving Low Self Esteem – Our Hidden Sense of Self

improving low self esteem

Because of the hidden nature of our sense of self, as our personality and characteristics grow and develop, we are inclined to believe that our external circumstances are responsible for our self esteem.

We believe that if we had more qualifications, a better job, higher income, a loving partner, or a better lifestyle we would have higher self esteem. We believe that if we were taller, thinner, with longer legs, had a nose job or straightened our hair, we would have higher self esteem.

We think that if we could change any of these variables we would have better self esteem. However, these circumstances are only indirectly related to our sense of self

Improving Low Self Esteem – Stepping Towards Authenticity

What really determines how we see ourselves is our thoughts - what we think about ourselves, what our self perceptions are and our self beliefs.

Our thoughts are the greatest determining factor in improving low self esteem.

Because we have spent a lifetime in defense by attacking ourselves, believing that there is something wrong with us, we become addicted to this patterned response in our thinking.

Imagine if someone suggested to you that you can change your life just by changing your thoughts? Do you know that this is true?

Eleanor Roosevelt famously said,

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

~ Eleanor Roosevelt

How can we change?

By seeing ourselves – by facing the truth about ourselves.

By changing our core beliefs and perceptions.

By taking one step at a time towards being our true authentic self.

By coming out of hiding and facing our darkness.

By learning, through self acceptance to be true.

By facing our fears and accepting ourselves completely just where we are right now.

The past does not need to be the future. Yes, it takes time and effort to change and yes, the rewards are monumental!

I recommend these sites:

Self Help Collective  I encourage you to read more on this topic from a site I greatly enjoy.
What is low self esteem? Ah, that's a good question, and one that is answered on this page. Basically, if you feel guilty all the time, let fear rule your life, are hindered by perfectionism, and if trust is an issue for you then you're probably suffering from low self-esteem. This is your self-esteem, self confidence building website. My goal is to give you as much help as you need to build your self-esteem, to be more confident and to live a happy, prosperous life you deserve. I will provide you with lots of useful information, techniques, articles, affirmations and exercises about how to have a rock solid foundation for your self-esteem.

Self Development It is only by connecting with your authentic self that you can allow yourself to look, feel and hear your truth. Then that opens the way to heal your truth. By taking an honest look at yourself with your heart, (through your feelings and not through your thinking, beliefs and habits) we begin to enable change on many levels.

What is Our Self Identity? Within us all lies the deep yearning to know and to be known. From this comes the question of self identity, who am I? This question lies at the root of all searching on the journey towards meaning and purpose for our lives.

Until you make the unconscious conscious,

it will direct your life and you will call it fate ~
Carl Jung

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