Origins of High Self Esteem

Origins of Poor Self Esteem.

The Upside

Low Self Image Profiles

How to Build Confidence


Q &A

Next Month


This is the April/08 issue of Powerful Living, the newsletter that delivers monthly tips and strategies from

The topic for this month is increasing self esteem – which is simply the feeling that we have of our competence based on our experiences and events that have gone on in our lives. Childhood plays an important role in shaping basic self-esteem. That’s why it’s important to encourage a child and not diminish, or call them names. How others treat our successes and failures contribute to the creation of our basic self esteem.

Origins of High Self Esteem

Being praised in childhood

Being listened to in childhood

Having trusted childhood friends

Achievement in. sports or school etc.

Positive attention, love, hugs

Being respected.

Origins of Poor Self Esteem.

Expectations of perfection


Name calling, yelling or being beaten

Failure in school or sports etc.

When you have poor self esteem, you feel your failure is not due to the situation. You take failure personally. You believe, without doubt, you’re the reason for failure

The Upside –

Childhood self esteem can change, depending on different perceptions and feelings that develop as you grow older. A perfect example of this is school failure. If you fail academically you’ll avoid that particular area in your life, believing that you ‘can’t’ or ‘you’re stupid’. If life shows you that you’re not stupid, you may want to take a course, which may lead to going back to school and achieve success. This success will cancel out the feeling of former failure.

When you have healthy self-esteem the little voice in your head is positive (it’s also internalized as a feeling). This can push you forward, to do whatever you want to do. It gives you confidence – ex: you say to yourself. “I can do it”, “I’ll be OK.”

When you have low self esteem, you criticize yourself.. You punish and discount your achievements, saying things like “anyone could do this.” “I lost weight, but I’ll gain it back.” You believe you can’t be successful.

Having low self esteem in one area, doesn’t mean it’s in all aspects of your life. You can be very confident in the work place and feel you’re not good enough in a social situation – and so on…….. and it can even seem that you have high self- esteem but in reality, it’s not the case..

Low Self Image Profiles

1) The actor

The actor acts happy, successful etc. but he/she is really terrified that they will be revealed. Actors need ongoing successes to maintain their act. This can lead to procrastinating, competitive behavior and perfectionism. They can also suffer burnout.

2) The Loner

The loner acts as if the opinions or suggestions of others are of no concern. The loner is angry and needs to prove that other people’s judgments and criticism doesn’t affect them. But it does. Their anger can lead to rule breaking, fighting authority in the workplace and in personal relationships, as well as in the law.

3) The Victim

This is the person we usually think of with an esteem problem. Victims use self pity or act as if they don’t care, to shield themselves against responsibility for their lives. The victim acts helpless, can’t cope and waits for a rescuer to help them. They’re always asking advice, which leads to under-achievement and over dependency on others.

How to Build Confidence

Listen to your inner voice and

challenge it.

Be fair, not hard on yourself.

Be specific. It’s easy to over generalize.

Challenge illogical thinking.

Be objective. Don’t be a drama queen.

Rebutting that inner voice is important, but you must also care of yourself and treat yourself as a worthwhile person.


Plan fun and relax (something just for yourself).

Remind yourself of your strengths and achievements.

Nurture yourself even if you feel you don’t deserve it.

Forgive yourself, even if you haven’t done everything you would’ve liked.

Ask for help. If you lack confidence in a specific area, take classes or try new activities to improve yourself ex. join a gym, take dance lessons.

Talk to a friend, ask someone who cares to listen while you vent.

Ask for a hug.

Sometimes having low self esteem feels very painful or too difficult to challenge. A professional therapist or counselor can help you here.

Contact me if you need advice.

Q &A

The question in Q & A was one of many I received, on last month’s topic in Powerful Living – Relationships. It has been published with the writer’s permission.

Dear Bev,

What do you do if you think that your Dad is having an affair with another woman?

I believe that this has been going on for a few years. My dad travels for work and is often in Hong Kong. He’s been on the phone late at night and goes down to the garage to talk. He says he does this because he doesn’t want to bother the family, but I think it’s more than that. My mother has looked at the phone bill but all we know is it’s an international call. Last week, he told us he was off the Dominican for a week, as a reward from his company. But my mom was suspicious. Now she found out that he was in Hong Kong for the week.

Is there anything I can do to stop what’s going on?


Hi Amanda,

It does seem suspicious, but one thing for certain, he’s lied about being in the Dominican. I know this is hurtful and you want this to stop, but try to be objective. Talk to your dad, but don’t accuse him or he’ll become defensive. Tell him you know about his trip to Hong Kong. But don’t condemn. This is a relationship problem between your parents and it may not be too late for them to get counseling and work things out. Tell Mom that you addressed the situation with Dad, but she has to talk to him about her feelings and see if they can work things out between themselves. Be supportive, especially to Mom. She in particular will need to know that you’re there for her.


How’s your self esteem today? Did your confidence get lower or higher since childhood? Got a question on for yourself or your kids? Tell me and with your permission, You can share it on the zine.

Next Month

How do you get rid of anxiety?

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