Root Causes That Can Influence Your Self Esteem

If you have ever had a time in your life when you have felt that your self esteem has hit a low point then you can relate to that sense of despair, feeling of inadequacy and doubting yourself about everything. These feelings then influence your behaviour, sometimes you behave timidly, indecisively, unassertively or just become overly sensitive to legitimate criticism. It’s not a great place to be. Life has to go on, and so just to keep yourself functioning, you put on a front, acting as if everything is ok (when you know its not). This in turn leads to “imposter syndrome”, that sense of feeling like a fraud, because you know deep down you are not being authentic in the image you are trying to present to others. What a tangled web we weave.

These feelings don’t always arise “out of the ether”, but can be rooted in our personal history and our current reality. Having some understanding of these roots can be the first steps in actually gaining a deeper self understanding, which can then empower you to deal with the deeper issues, gain an acceptance of yourself and ultimately begin living your life in an authentic way and becoming more of who you truly are deep down.

Authority figures in our lives, like parents, teachers or bosses can have a powerful influence on our self esteem. If your parents suffered from low self esteem, then the role modelling and developmental interactions that you had with your parents can influence your self esteem hugely negative way. If your parents limited the amount of positive encouragement, exercised excessive control or just kept projecting who you should be without giving you some space to define yourself, then they could have inadvertently caused more harm than good. There is also a strong impact from traumatic experiences such as divorce, where many children feel like they are in some way to blame for such events.

Teachers, especially teachers that have an influencing role in a child’s formative years can also have a hugely detrimental impact on self esteem. Teachers that come across as uncaring, preventing children from expressing their thoughts and ideas, are insecure in themselves and generally badly organised have been projecting their own feelings of inadequacy on the children under their care have a clear responsibility in eroding the self esteem of the children under their care. Yes, children need boundaries and self discipline, but they also need encouragement, care and someone to believe in them.

The third authority figure I would like to discuss in this short article is your boss. Some bosses, unfortunately, are very unskilled at providing feedback, and creating a motivated and highly confident team. On the contrary, demands on increased pace of work, increased amount of working hours, aggression, rudeness and lack of training and support will slowly stack up on top of each other and erode your self esteem. This can lead to stress in the first instant and lead to depression over a sustained period.

You can learn about other causes that influence your self esteem in this blog post. The good news is that there is something that can be done about any of these issues, but having an awareness and some self reflection on what the root causes might be for you is the first step.