There are a number of factors that affect self-esteem; they range from the way we were brought up to the current situation that we find ourselves in. For some people it is the situation that they find themselves currently in. The way we were brought up can make a huge difference to how high self-esteem we have or we can have a low self-esteem and still be happy. On the other hand there are people who lack a positive feedback from their parents that either suffer from low self-esteem or from a lack of self worth. These people will always struggle with aspects of their life that other people take for granted.
One of the things that affects self-esteem is how we were brought up. It has been established that being brought up as a child by your mother or father has a profound effect on how you feel about yourself and your future. Your level of self-worth and your confidence will rise as you get older and learn more about yourself through your upbringing. People have theories about what happens to children when they grow up and go into adulthood, one of these theories talks about the maturity principle, which says that adults should not only set high standards for themselves but that they should set higher standards for their children to aspire to. Children do not know how to do this and so will never reach the maturity principle.
In order to help children become mature and confident adults, they need to learn how to set and achieve high standards. This means that they learn to have self-talk and self-belief. One of the things that affect self-esteem is how well we understand the messages that we send to ourselves through our childhood experiences. If we have had a good enough family life then we are more likely to grow up to be confident and self-respecting adults than if we had a bad family life.
Childhood experiences can have a lasting effect on our lives and self-esteem even though it may not be relevantly felt at the time. For example, how we feel like we look, the color that we are or the size of our body all affect our self-talk and self-belief. We often talk negatively about how we look or about being fat or about our body size even when it doesn’t matter. If we get older and enter middle or high school we start to discuss more in depth how we feel about ourselves and this negativity starts to affect our self-esteem.
Relationships also affects self-esteem and this is probably the reason why most teenagers tend to feel like they are not good enough for love. They will speak negatively of their own parents, sisters or friends and we will listen with our whole heart. The thing that affects self-esteem most is a toxic relationship. A toxic relationship will affect us by destroying our sense of self-worth, our confidence and our ability to make good decisions.
Another study on relationships shows that genetics may play a role in the process by which we build general self-esteem. Specifically the study by Johnson and Gurian found that identical twins, who share both genes, tend to have the same general self-esteem but different responses to challenges. This suggests that there is a genetic component that allows us to feel good about ourselves when we have high self-esteem even if we do not know how to put our own life in order. In addition to this research from Gurian and Johnson there is new research out in journals that shows that the way we think about and treat our body has an effect on our overall self-esteem and this may explain why some people seem to be more successful than others. Specifically, the journal Nature Reviews shows that people who are more overweight or obese are more likely to perceive their bodies as unattractive and treat them badly. This suggests that our bodies are the result of a distorted view of our appearance and this leads to stress and unhappiness and therefore to poor health and a poor self-image.
One other study that is quite interesting is that which suggests that the effects of our childhood experiences will directly affect how we feel about ourselves and our lives. Specifically the researchers suggest that childhood experiences such as violence or sexual abuse can have long-term affects on our self-esteem and therefore it is essential that we understand these factors when looking at the causes of low self-esteem. The reason for this is because the way children view themselves will have a long-term impact on how they see the world around them and how they feel about themselves in the future. As well as this the research suggests that childhood experiences such as traumatic events can also have long term impacts on our sense of self worth and this may mean that we become less confident as we grow older. This would then reflect on our confidence level and our self-image, which would ultimately lead to low self-esteem.
These three studies all indicate that there may be a link between your sense of self worth, your self-image and how you feel about yourself. However, all three of these studies only looked at the effects of one single factor. So it is possible that there are other factors and processes that directly relate to how we perceive and evaluate ourselves but it is impossible to say for sure what they are. In short the truth is that there are many things that you have direct control over including your physical appearance, your personality, your behavior, your education and also your life experiences and all of these things have an effect on how you think and feel about yourself but it is impossible to say for sure what they are.