Understanding Poor Self Esteem
Traits associated with poor self esteem include:
- identification of self worth through quantity of work done rather than quality of life lived
- constantly looking to others for approval, thereby focusing on pleasing others rather than self
- lack of enjoyment in own achievements
Three Causes of Low Self Esteem
- The person has not learned that aligning actions with values is what builds healthy self esteem.
The development of
high self esteem
has sometimes been misunderstood, and therefore not supported. Since healthy self esteem means a person feels good about themselves, some believed it was:
- important to only give approval to children/people so that they could feel good about themselves. The claim was that by cultivating warm and fuzzy 'you are great' feelings in someone, then they would develop healthy self esteem and self concept.
- important to discourage competition. Proponents pointed out, competition would create losers and thereby diminish or instill poor self esteem.
This philosophy omitted the acknowledgment of two fundamental aspects of healthy self esteem:
- Developing self esteem
is based on an internal measure of self. Each of us assess our own performance in relation to our beliefs and values. It is not developed 'in comparison to another', and true self esteem cannot be instilled by adopting another persons opinion of oneself.
- When an individual applies themselves to a task to the best of their ability, then they are a winner. So whether they come in first or last in a competition is irrelevant. If they performed to the best of their ability in line with their beliefs and values, they will be
boosting their self esteem.
Anyone, child or adult, is innately aware when performing an activity, whether they are trying 'just a little bit', or applying every fiber of their being to the pursuit. There is often also an inner awareness of whether that activity is in line with their beliefs and values. If a child has no beliefs and values, then this would be the place for parents and teachers to begin the foundation for developing self esteem.
Jumping the fundamental step of nurturing an individuals set of beliefs and values, and instead just claiming that the person is great is counter-productive. It is a bit like weaving 'the emporers' new clothes'. Once he's attired in them, everyone realizes that 'the emporer is wearing NO clothes'!
Encouragement and kind words from others feel great, and play a terrific support role for personal development. Another's approval does not provide the necessary substance to weather ones own personal storms, nor to achieve
- The person is not acting in alignment with their personal core values.
Not acting in line with
will create inner conflict and poor self esteem. For example, if a person holds a high value on being trustworthy, and then finds themselves in a situation where they feel it's necessary to lie, this will create ripples of low self esteem.
Personal leadership development
will help the person identify the problem, and then change the behavior to be in line with their highest values.
- The person is harboring negative beliefs about themselves and their capabilities, rather than positive supportive beliefs.
Negative beliefs contributing to poor self esteem can be quite sneaky some times. The person may be repeating
and appearing to do everything to support themselves. The
may be holding on tightly to some negative belief and fighting not to let go. Clearing this contrary mindset will help the person move forward easily.
Personal Development Home from Poor Self Esteem