What affects self-esteem can be determined by examining several different factors that affect a person’s self-image and sense of worth. Several factors including childhood experiences, relationships with peers, the level of confidence people have and general life circumstances are all considered when trying to evaluate what affects self-esteem. It is important to keep in mind that how one feels about themselves is a direct result of their beliefs and values regarding their self-image. Any low self-esteem can be overcome if a person has a strong belief in their own abilities.
The maturity principle in regards to what affects self-esteem is an important factor that should be examined. Research on the effects of peer pressure in relation to self-esteem has shown that those who were more socially active during their childhood had higher self-esteem as they got older. More recent studies on the subject of self-esteem have indicated that the degree of parental support is also related to the level of self-esteem a person develops through adulthood.
Other factors that may lead to low self-esteem include negative childhood experiences. For instance, if a person was repeatedly teased or criticized as a child, they may develop a negative self-talk that includes words such as “that I can’t do” and “that I’m not good enough”. These thoughts become rooted in the psyche and can affect a person’s self-image for years to come. Positive experiences early on in life can offset these negative thoughts and help a person to grow into a confident and secure adult. It is important to remember that negative childhood experiences don’t have to continue into adulthood.
Another area that leads to low self-esteem is related to the person’s physical appearance. Self-esteem is often affected by how we feel about our physical appearance. If we feel that we are unattractive or awkward, it can affect our general self-esteem. In studies that controlled for physical appearance, women with higher self-esteem who were also physically attractive had significant decreases in their social anxiety compared to those with lower self-esteem but identical physical appearance.
Another area that has been specifically explored in relation to aging is with what happens to our general self-esteem when we experience negative events. In research done by Frances Rauscher of the University of California-Davis, participants were asked to imagine certain negative events over the course of two weeks. Interestingly, people not only felt bad about themselves, but their friends did too. In particular, those who experienced two bad news events tended to rate their overall self-esteem lower than those who did not. Those who did not experience any bad news had similar levels of self-esteem to those who did.
Finally, we turn to the topic of physical appearance and the potential impact it can have on our self-esteem as we age. Many years ago, people were very quick to judge others based solely on their physical appearance. Today, people still judge others primarily on their physical appearance, but the impact on self-esteem may be much greater. Researchers have found that those who get older and whose physical appearance doesn’t change remain less happy and confident than those who don’t get older and whose physical appearance changes for the better.
So what does this all mean for those of us who are getting older? It means that your attitude and self-image are much more important than they were when you were younger. You absolutely must work at rebuilding your self-image or your general self-esteem. In fact, many people report that they don’t even believe in themselves anymore when they’re older because they feel as though everyone knows that they’re not as good as they used to be. However, it’s important to note that this doesn’t have to happen. What affects your self-image and your self-esteem is whether or not you believe in yourself and your abilities.
You can make changes in how you look and in how you feel about yourself without having to change your body or your appearance. You do not need to lose weight or shave your head to make a difference in how you feel about yourself. There are many small things that you can do to improve your self-esteem and to change your perception of your own self-image and your own worth. Your attitude and your self-image are rooted in your physical appearance. Therefore, as you age you should begin to make changes in how you perceive yourself and in how you feel about yourself so that your self-esteem and your sense of self-worth remain intact. As we get older, we also begin to notice changes in our physical appearance, but these changes do not necessarily affect our self-esteem.