Fairfield County Hypnosis, LLC


CAUSES OF POOR SELF-ESTEEM


Self-esteem is one of the fundamental influences on nearly everything you do. When your self-esteem is low, almost all areas of your life—working, socializing, loving—are made more difficult.

Because a loss of self-esteem does not suddenly occur as a symptom at age 21 or 34 or 56, it is often not met head-on. You may be extremely critical of yourself. You may be afraid to attempt anything new. You may even excuse any success you have by saying, “I was just lucky,” or “They made a mistake,” or “Anybody could do that.”

This kind of self-depreciation is not an accident; it does not materialize out of nowhere. It reflects a condition that is rooted in the past. The major cause of poor self-esteem is past negative programming that is the product of judgmental parents.

Because most parents are judgmental to some degree, it is necessary at this point to define the type of judgment that creates the problem. The parent who serves up a categorical classification at every turn, one who decides what you do is either good or bad, right or wrong, is one who fits this definition. You took 17 credits at college and got four B’s and one C, but you didn’t get any A’s, and so your grades are bad. When you were up to bat, you didn’t get any hits, and even though you caught the fly ball that broke the other team’s scoring streak, you were a lousy player.

A parent who continually uses one-dimensional generalizations similar to the ones above is a global labeler. For example, let’s say you are a junior high student who has been playing basketball with your friends since coming home from school. When you come in to dinner, your father asks if your homework is done and you answer no. Then your father says, “You are the laziest kid I’ve ever seen, just lazy.” Your father could have said, “I’m worried about how you’ll do in school when you don’t put your homework ahead of being with your friends.” Instead, you have been indicted, dismissed in a total way. In this case you are lazy. In other cases, you might be classified as sloppy, clumsy, dumb, mean, cheap, and so on.

Of course, the list of labels varies from person to person, and sometimes the labels that are the most condemning to you are those that seem to be most successfully buried and forgotten. But they are there, somewhere in your subconscious, contributing to the way you perceive yourself, influencing the degree to which you can exhibit self-esteem.

You inherit the “thinking style” of your judgmental parent. You acquire a critical inner voice that produces an internal fear. It may be a fear to try anything new, a fear to change, or even a fear to perform your daily activities.

Fear of failure is an immobilizing emotional condition. It too is a product of past negative programming. You fear that you will not be able to accomplish something because you are not worthy of accomplishing it. Further, you tell yourself that if you do happen to succeed at one level, you will have to continue to succeed at higher levels. But each success will only make the inevitable failure harder to bear. You resolve this problem by telling yourself, “It’s better to fail right now and get it over with.” The anticipation of continued success would be much too hard to cope with. Thus, you can see that fear of success is actually the same as fear of failure. It is a condition that impedes personal progress.

Finally, your self-esteem may suffer from the way you perceive your physical self. This perception may cause you to miscalculate your overall potential. If, for example, you view your appearance as a negative factor, you will reflect that view in your behavior and actions, in the self deprecating words you use, in your body language, and in the opinions you express (or fail to express). “I’m an outsider in this group, so these people won’t have any interest in what I think”. Instead of acknowledging your physical limitations and then mentally counteracting whatever may seem negative, you see your whole self as a negative. Your way of thinking illustrates a lack of self-acceptance in respect to appearance.

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