Causes of Low Self-Esteem
The causes of low self-esteem are as many as there are individuals. It begins in the mother’s womb. Gestational studies have shown that human foetuses react to music, sounds and vibrations while in the womb. Negative vibrations of the mother is felt and owned by these growing babies.
If the birth is difficult or if the labour is prolonged, if the baby is abandoned after birth, it affects that individual’s self-esteem. To illustrate, a recent article from a professional counselor, who had achieved success in relationships and career always felt his self-esteem was low as he did not feel he belonged.
He felt that the reason for that was he was an adopted child (he was not told he was adopted) when he finally had the courage to ask his mother, she stated he was adopted as a baby. He realized then that his issues with self-esteem stemmed from that.
How parents treat a child in the early years with words, attitudes and gestures play an important part in the self-esteem arena.
The school age child’s self-esteem formation continues with the teachers and other students. Is he/she bullied? Were there positive or negative reinforcements? Does the child go to church or Sunday school? Was that a positive experience?
If the general atmosphere of home and school is positive, with constructive criticism as well as praise for the child’s achievements, the child will develop a good level of self-esteem.
Bullying, excessive teasing, harsh criticism of the child’s failures or character flaws will create self-esteem issues. Does the child accomplishes each stage of psychologist Erik Erikson’s Developmental Stages successfully? These stages cover the whole spectrum of one’s life.
Other factors that contribute to low self-esteem are abuse, addictions, perceived or actual rejection by peers, job loss, separation, divorce, business as well as relationship failures and chronic illnesses. Society in general play a role in forming one’s self-esteem. Sometimes, "humor" is used to ridicule another person and shred their self-esteem! Some personalities are more prone to have their self-esteem eroded as they are extremely sensitive.
Tomorrow we will look at the effects of poor self-esteem.