I believe that low self esteem doesn’t come out of the blue. Something or someone, and events that happen over time alter how you feel about yourself. Ever since school I have had a low self esteem, and after life experiences my self esteem got worse. The good news is that I have a refound respect for myself and I no longer look at myself in such a negative light. In this post I want to explain circumstances that may have altered your views on yourself and how to heal those wounds. I hope this article will allow you to open your eyes so that you can see yourself for the wonderful person that you really are or have the potential to be.
Having parents with different expectations for you than your own
I believe that your brain is conditioned to think and feel a certain way from childhood. Every belief you start off with in life comes from how you were raised. You are told what’s right and wrong, and in a way that can condition your train of thought mainly due to how your caretakers were raised or believe. This could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on the situation. If you were raised to be very humble, meek, and mild you will have a lot more respect for other people. However if you weren’t taught about boundaries this could lead to you getting taken advantage of or pushed around, which will effect your self esteem. The way your guardians treat you will also have an effect on how you look at yourself. If you grew up in a very loving home where you were praised for doing good, uplifted, and encouraged more than likely you will start out a very happy child. However, if you grew up in a toxic environment where you were pushed to the side, belittled, and disrespected you’re not going to feel very good about yourself and expect other people to treat you the same way. This is a case where you have to look back with a clear mind, reflect on what was hurtful and helpful, and then choose to learn from your past with your head held high. You can’t help the way you were raised, but you can learn from it instead of following the same path and living a life that brings you unhappiness.
Being bullied at school
School is where things can get really tough, because you are now being exposed to many other children who come from different home lives and are going to treat others based on what they’ve learned at home. I was bullied very badly in school and it affected me for many years after I graduated. If you are still in school and you are a victim, know that what the bullies are saying about you doesn’t reflect on who you really are- it’s showing their true colors. If the bullying becomes too much or becomes physical go to your principal and let your parents know. It’s never okay for someone to put their hands on you. If you are afraid to demand respect for yourself, get help because this abuse is not to be tolerated.
Another form of bullying is found in the pressure others can inflict on you concerning your weight. I remember when I was in highschool you were considered “pretty” if you were skinny. This type of bullying may be unintentional but can become very serious, even fatal. Pressuring people concerning weight can lead to eating disorders, I unfortunately feel into this influence and became bulimic at age 16, that disease could have killed me and lasted many years after school. Your size doesn’t not define your beauty! Everyone is built differently, we are all not born to be naturally thin and that is okay! Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, skinny or curvy, you are still beautifully you, embrace it.
Abusive relationships can range from verbal to physical and could stem from a romantic partner, a “friendship”, or a family member. Having someone you love talk down to you, be possessive of you, or being violent towards you can really mess you up mentally. As much as it hurts to come to terms with, you must realize that no matter how much you love this person they don’t really love you back. True love lifts you up, it doesn’t bring you down. If you are currently in an abusive relationship get out now! You can’t change another person who acts on this type of behavior, you are only hurting yourself further by staying. I have been in abusive relationships that mentally affected me for years and even now because one in particular caused me to develop PTSD. I even had a friend who lost her life last year for not leaving an abusive husband, staying in a violent relationship could cost you your life!
Traumatic life experiences
Trauma is detrimental to people’s self esteem. I’ve said this in a past article and I will say it again, you did not ask for what happened to you. This was something someone or something did to you, you didn’t do this to yourself. That being said, whatever happened does not make you any less of a person. Don’t let what happened to you make you feel unlovely, unloveable, or unworthy because you are still YOU. You are still capable of your dreams and of love, feeling any less of yourself is only giving that person/situation more power over you. Take what happened and turn it into motivation to strengthen yourself and push forward to accomplish everything you want out of life.
Being a part of a judgemental community
The people you surround yourself with can effect how you feel about yourself. There are many people who tend Ron be overly judgemental, have no filter when it comes to their words, and may even be self absorbed/selfish. Be very careful who you keep in your circle. If you are surrounded around people who make you feel bad about yourself or paranoid about being yourself, these are not the people you want in your tribe.
Interesting fact, I used to live in a very small country town. There were some wonderful people who also lived there (this isn’t about those people) but I found that there were equally as many judgemental “higher than thou” people that lived there as well. Everyone in town knew each other’s business and word traveled fast. For me it became extremely toxic because I was being judged for my views, my tattoos, etcetera and I felt so oppressed. I knew deep down I didn’t belong there and once I moved I felt so liberated and I’m now surrounded by people who embrace me for who I am. If you find yourself in that situation I highly encourage you to branch out and explore different places. You may find that a change in location can improve your mental state. Once you can afford to leave you will experience a new sense of freedom that will allow you to grow as a person.
Social media can severely effect how you look at yourself. With all the apps focused around editing photos and adding filters it can take your average person to super model status. Because of this many people who are excessively active on photography based apps are more likely to be using these apps to grow their following. When you are an active user on these apps you are going to be exposed to many “flawless” photos of people which can make you become very critical of what you see when you look in the mirror. People mentally handle things differently, but if you are the type of person who sees this content and are extremely negatively affected by it you may want to step back from these types of accounts. Keep in mind that everyone has flaws, no one is perfect. I personally struggled with this at for a period of time and I had to take a break from certain apps, this improved my self confidence immensely. Yes, I still edit my pictures especially for my business but in reality my face is scarred, I get acne, and I have fine lines- but it’s okay! Part of growing older comes with aging and being a teenager usually comes with acne, your “flaws” do not make you any less beautiful.
I want to wrap up this article with a very important message: Be yourself! If people don’t like you for the person you are then they are not the type of people you need in your circle. No matter what has happened to you or what was said about you, you are not defined by those things. You are beautiful, unique, and have the ability to accomplish anything you put your mind to. Don’t let anything keep you from being the truest version of yourself.