What affects self-esteem depends on the way we were raised, and the way we perceive life and circumstances. Most of us are more likely to have low self-esteem than our peers, and are likely to live unhappy and unfulfilled lives. Low self-esteem is based on our responses to life and our childhood experiences. If we were lucky, we might have been able to turn our low self-esteem around, but the truth is that most of us were not.
One of the key factors that affect self-esteem is your childhood experience. People who grew up in stable families and in settings where they were treated respectfully tend to be more confident and feel more positive about themselves. Over time, they become oriented to the social roles that promote their sense of worth and increase their self-esteem. As you get older, this pattern becomes less prominent, but you can help to shift it by making an effort to get out into the world and meet new people.
Children with low self-esteem tend to have a negative self-talk, filled with words like “lazy”, “not good enough” and “not nice”. The messages penetrate into their minds and they carry them into adulthood, affecting their performance in school and in other areas of life. By contrast, children with high self-esteem get positive experiences and positive thoughts, which create the momentum needed for them to become successful. This is the so-called maturity principle.
Another factor that affects self-esteem is the strength of their faith in their own ability and abilities. Those who are doubting their own ability or those with a history of low self-esteem tend to see their performance in school and in life as a result of other people’s failures and are not very confident in their own ability. They therefore focus on their weaknesses and try to improve on those areas. This reduces self-esteem in the short term but creates a deeper-seated self-defeating pattern in the long term.
In addition to focusing on one’s weaknesses, low self-esteem also reflects a general lack of confidence. In recent years there has been a great deal of research on how our attitudes about ourselves and others affect our achievement in academic and social arenas. One of the areas that this research has been most interested in is how our attitude towards certain specific domains relates to our level of achievement. If we are already successful in one domain, then our general self-esteem may reflect that, if not, we may need to strengthen our domain of achievement in order to attain more success in other areas.
So what kinds of things lead to a good self-image? A number of recent studies have explored what makes some people more self-confident than others. Generally they find that characteristics like the following, which relate to assertive behavior, seem to help: high self-esteem, low perceived demand, high social desirability, high visual aspect, high emotional intelligence, high intellectual curiosity, high persistence, and high persistence. People with low self-esteem seem to be more inhibited and are less likely to take risks, have low self-confidence, and have lower self-control. While some of these traits do not necessarily lead to a low self-esteem, many do.
Another area that researchers have explored is how the physical appearance of an individual relates to his or her self-esteem. Generally, physically attractive people are seen as more mature and more capable in everyday situations than are those who are considered unattractive. The physical appearance self-esteem myth therefore perpetuates itself because even if a person is older and doesn’t have perfect skin and hair, it is believed that they still have the ability to look younger than their actual age. This is related to the general self-esteem concept because a person’s outward attributes have a lot to do with how that person feels about themselves inside.
When you get older, your self-image will also change. There are several different reasons why this happens, but one thing that does affect self-esteem is aging. One way to fight this is to use your general self-esteem to convince yourself that others are wrong about you, and to convince yourself that your current appearance is normal. However, regardless of the type of self-esteem myths that you have, these myths have been proven to be harmful if they are not checked out and eliminated.