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What is self esteem

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The most important thing for you. Self esteem decides how you feel. This is the source of being happy or not. This is the reason if people walk all over you or not.

Three things are involved in this. Everybody has none or some of this.

  1. Not believing in yourself.
  2. Believing in yourself.
  3. Over estimating yourself.

What is self esteem?

This is easy to explain. Self esteem is how you see yourself. Or better said, how you have starting to see yourself. Nobody is born with low self esteem. Nobody came to this world doubting him or herself.

And there are no genes for low self esteem. No child had for instance the doubt if he or she could learn the very complicated thing of walking.

As soon as the child was ready, it gave it first try. It fell down. Got up and tried again. It fell again, etc. It never thought "I will never learn to walk. Too complicated for me. I give up. I'll stay down here for the rest of my life. I am not capable of this."

Everybody has learned to walk because there was no doubt about the self esteem yet. But during growing up, things slowly start getting wrong.

Reasons for low self esteem.

Most of the time it is more a girl thing. Boys have manhood to believe in. It is a kind of alternative self esteem.

The first reason is facing to many negative influences during growing up. If you are not taking serious as a person very often, you are starting to doubt yourself. If someone tells a little child it is stupid, it doesn't do much damage. It isn't good, but this is something to get over.

But if a child hears this too often, things go slowly wrong. Low self esteem is slowly getting inside the brain.

How does low self esteem starts.

The child starts to think something like "I must be stupid, because it has been told to me so often." The strongest influence are the parents. An outsider can do harm, but parents are the main influence for a child.

A child can do stupid things, but is never stupid. There is a huge difference between these two. Do you feel the difference when your boss is saying you did something stupid, versus you are stupid. The last one hurts, because it is personal.

A child has the natural habit of trusting parents. And parents are a lot around. That is why the parents influence is so strong. And that is why the damage can be severe. I am not saying parents want a child to start doubting itself, because this is rarely the case.

The thing is, most parents don't realize how wrong and hurtful some thing can be. Calling a child stupid, is an attack on their self esteem. If it is done over and over again, damage on the self esteem must occur.

There are more wrong influences.

Another reason for starting to doubt oneself, is the way parents communicate with their children. Many parents hardly talk with their children. They are only saying what a child should do or think, because "dad or mom knows it all."

It is a bit like "I know it all and you have to be like me. What I think is right. You only have to listen. Don't argue" That is not communication. It is more like controlling a puppet on a string. How do you think the puppet is feeling?

Parents should be real parents.

Many parents think they are always right and are not capable of admitting that their child could know something better. It is a one way street and good communication is impossible. A child starts doubting itself if it is always corrected. "Probably I am not saying anything right. It looks like I know nothing."

It is not very complicated to have a normal talk to a child, but somehow many parents are not capable of it. For good communication you need two people who respect each other. If one feels superior to the other, a good open talk is not possible.

There is a difference between knowing more and feeling superior to someone else. Many supervisors and parents think this way. This causes tension and problems.

When it gets a real problem.

This is when a child starts to accept there is something wrong with him or her. If one starts believing the attacks on the self esteem, it slowly goes downhill. "I am nothing." The resistance is broken.

Why children don't want to speak.

This is what a child could start thinking if parents don't list or talk to him or her. "Well, probably I am not saying anything valuable, so I better do not speak my mind anymore." The result will be children and the later adult, who are afraid of speaking there mind.

Those will be the silent ones. Out of self protection ("because nobody takes me serious"), they don't reveal what's inside them. If you don't speak, you can't get interrupted and be disagreed or laughed at.

Think about this example.

When I was much younger I was speaking for the first time to teenage girl who was always quiet and never said a word in the group. She turned out to be a very nice girl and was not shy at all to me. So I asked her why she was so talkative to me. She said: "It depends to whom I am talking."

So she had no problem with talking, but only when she feels comfortable. In other words, she has had many uncomfortable experiences. She had nice parents, but obviously they didn't understand how to communicate the right way with her.

Talking to children seems complicated.

It sounds easy to talk to children, but many parents are not capable of it. It looks like parents want to overrule their children because they are afraid of loosing control. It is a bit like a captain versus sailors. He could think if I don't keep them under my thumb, they could take over the ship. So I have to keep a large distance between them.

Being familiar is not possible for dominant people. And they really don't like disagreement. This is fear. Being afraid of loosing control. A good respectful communication is not possible.

Self esteem scale.

So in other words, low self esteem is how you have starting to see yourself, because there were too many influences that have dented your natural self esteem. You are not the confident child anymore that got up every time it fell.

Maybe the percentage scale thing is good way for better clarification. You were born with hundred percent confidence; no doubt about your self esteem. But because of external influences, you slowly started doubting yourself.

And now you are lower as your original hundred percent. Where you are depends on the influences and your fighting spirit. Some have no confidence at all anymore.

If one is afraid of crossing an open square, means self esteem is almost at bottom level. On less lower levels you find for instance fear for riding a bike, but not a car. I can't give exact percentages, but most of the time it is a lot below hundred.

The opposite of the self esteem scale also exists. The maximum of self esteem is hundred percent (no doubt about yourself). Some people think (this is an ego thing), they are absolutely perfect. They never mistakes. They are always right and not afraid of anything.

Some behave as if they are two hundred percent people (more as others). But that is what they think. The reality is the opposite. For instance, admitting you are wrong is not a weakness as they think, but a strength. They are afraid of not being perfect because that means the collapse of their world. And because they are afraid of giving in, it is a weakness. A real strong person has no problem admitting he or she is wrong.

Can self esteem be improved?

Yes. It is not something is broken. It is only damaged. You can get back to your original hundred percent. The lower you are, the longer it will takes. But it is possible.

This article explains why you have a problem with your self esteem. It is the first step. Now you can understand why you are doubting yourself. Understanding the problem is the only way to get uphill again.

So don't think you are the way you are. You are the way you have become. And you can go back up. This site is a good start.