The importance of self esteem in childhood and adulthood
New blog added 22nd Oct 2016
Self esteem and the importance of self care, nurturing and how parenting is so important
Self esteem,it all begins in childhood
When a person doesn't like themselves their core beliefs can extend back to root causes in early childhood. Those core beliefs can be thoughts that they are " a waste of space" because that is what they are constantly being told.... or that they were a mistake and should never have been born because they had a parent who constantly told them how useless they were. As far as young minds go, even something said once in haste and anger can become traumatic and frightening and something played over and over again in the child's mind becoming bigger and bigger and bigger. Even conversations, perhaps something overheard that a young child wasn't meant to hear can implant the notion of not being loved and cared about. Young children do not have the reasoning abilities that develop into adulthood and how we care and nurture our children is really so very important. Bringing our children up with a balance where they know they are loved and also where they know where those boundaries are so when they do something wrong and are chastised they still know they are loved is so important and I think I can speak from personal experience here as often as a child I didnt feel loved by my mum and dad because of the difficulties they were going through. Fortunately I had two sets of loving grandparents and I spent some time in Guernsey growing up with my aunt and uncle and cousins which helped a lot in developing confidence, resilience and self esteem.
Low self esteem can also start to develop at nursery and school where a child may be bullied and start to suffer peer pressure. The lessons a child learns about themselves in life will often stay with them throughout all of their lives and if the views they hold about themselves leads them to become withdrawn,socially dysfunctional, extreme in their views on people and life then they will drag that around with them all through their life. The hardened views and dysfunctional behaviour may well build a protective shell and help a person cope in what they may view as a very unfair world and their behaviours and actions towards others may well distance them from friendships and social integration. For others who suffer and who do not form a hard exterior they can become depressive, isolated ,sad and lost even putting on a brave exterior face to all the world that they are ok when deep down inside they are crying out for help because their view of themselves is so negative and they dont know what to do. Their view is sadly imprinted on their psyche in early childhood and compounded as they get older as they come to believe that is true because of the feedback they constantly receive. As a young child I was mercilessly bullied and teased because I wasn't as bright academically as the other kids in my peer group and as a quiet shy and retiring kid the playground experience became a daily thing of dread... a battleground
When a child is very young the mind is like a sponge soaking up everything and if the core message surrounding their personal identity is negative then the child will in all probability come to believe this to be true. It's hard to understand how & why a parent may do this to their own child but we all know people have their own issues and crosses to bear and something may well have happened which is quite traumatic to the parent that changed their internal reasoning and behaviour towards the child.
As a young teenager in love I remember one of my girlfriends had this feeling that they were not good enough and it was the fact that the next child her mother had was stillborn and her mother used to tell her from time to time that if She (the girlfriend) had not been born then the next child would not have been stillborn and although no blame was ever attached to her directly she grew up with the firm feeling that in her family as the youngest she was loved the least and that her mother blamed her for the death of her sister. She grew up a moody and troubled teenager whose relationship with her parents was difficult to say the least and who left home at 16. As I got to know her over the time we were together more and more it became apparent that she was a fairly dysfunctional person on many levels being difficult to get to know, quite argumentative and distant a great deal of the time.The very fact that in the time that we were together this subject came up numerous times, looking back now indicates that here was a person who was affected by their past and the messages they had received about their childhood. They were clearly not happy and perhaps somehow reaching out for help. At that time, I did not understand and I also had my own personal issues coming from a broken home.
When a person doesn't like themselves it can make it very difficult for them to behave in a way that endears them to other people because it can sometimes go hand in hand with social dysfunctionality where the person can make themselves difficult to get along with and very hard to get to know. They may even hold quite polarised views of other people.
Both at home and at school, setting our children up with confidence and good self esteem values equips them to feel happy and valued
Over my time as a therapist I have worked with many people who even go so far as hating themselves and think that they are completely unfixable. What often surprises them is how the journey into therapy can help them to effect a complete mind shift of their worldview and how they view themselves and enabling them as people to live a happy fulfilling life....... and that of course is the end aim.
As you can easily realise the journey isn't easy and it can take time, sometimes quite a long time to heal involving several sessions and sometimes more but in that instant when the mind is ready to change that change can take place in an instant. Therapy is not a magic bullet but a very powerful useful set of tools to facilitate personal change and growth.
There is no price that can be put on peace of mind and when you really want to change you will find that peace of mind