What affects self-esteem is a question that has long been debated by psychologists and other people interested in mental health. The consensus seems to be that it depends upon the person, what they do and how they deal with their difficulties. It is also dependent upon circumstances and people’s perceptions of those situations. The more we know about what affects self-esteem, the better we can understand who we are and how we fit into the world. It is the ability to see oneself and the world through rose-colored glasses that keeps us on track and functioning in the society.
Many people will enter adulthood with a sense that they have reached a certain level of maturity, when really the opposite may be true. We know that as we age, we sometimes have to change our outlook and do things differently in order to cope with new stresses and changes that come along. If someone did not have good enough self-talk is growing up, it is very likely that as an adult they will not be able to get older without negative self-talk, and if they were lucky to get out of that environment and start a new one, they may not be able to get it back.
One of the common effects of what affects self-esteem is when a person becomes depressed or has low self-esteem because of childhood experiences. Many children have a sense of themselves when they are small, a sense of worthiness and self-confidence. Childhood experiences such as being sexually abused, being neglected, not receiving love and attention early on, never being valued and having to tolerate other people’s behavior especially in their peer group, all affect their self-image and belief in their capabilities. As teenagers go through these same experiences, they may not feel as good about themselves, have problems coping with anxiety and depression and may develop low self-esteem. It is important to remember that all of these feelings will fade over time.
What affects self-esteem in adulthood is also caused by toxic relationships. A toxic relationship can cause low self-esteem and can affect how people feel about themselves, particularly if the toxic relationship was from a childhood experience that carries over into adulthood. The most common example of this is physical abuse. If a child has suffered from physical or sexual abuse at any point in their life, chances are they will carry this over into adulthood and will feel like they need to compensate for that with some sort of unhealthy coping mechanism. Low self-esteem can then be developed through toxic relationships.
Another example is maturity. Maturity comes with age and getting older. As people get older and mature, they have less tolerance for impulsive and spontaneous behavior and tend to hold back a bit so that they do not hurt or offend others. Their general self-esteem will then drop as they become less spontaneous.
What affects self-esteem in childhood can also be the result of bad experiences early on in life. If a parent was abusive as a child, chances are their overall self-esteem will not be very high. However, if that same parent gives their child with low self-esteem as a child, chances are that the child will carry that over into adulthood and will then have a very low self-image and low self-esteem. It could then follow that the child who had the self-image and low self-esteem as a child may end up having a poor self-image and low self-esteem as an adult, because they did not get to grow out of that childhood trauma.
What affects self-esteem in adulthood is also related to one’s physical appearance. People with a physically attractive appearance tend to have a higher self-image than those who are not attractive, even though they do not have perfect physical appearance. Physical appearance also affects self-esteem in specific domains. For example, people who are considered attractive by all measures do better at work and in their social circles than those who are not.
The final domain in which what affects self-esteem as you get older is related to emotional development. Emotional development refers to the ability to manage pain, such as anger or sadness. In fact, it is this domain in which the self-esteem maturity principle really shows its effects. People who are more mature tend to be better able to deal with emotional pain than those who are younger. This may make sense intuitively – if you are older, you know how to handle pain and other kinds of negative emotions better. New research settings this fact out not only through new research on MRI scans, but also through behavioral studies with groups of college students.