Why is it that loving ourselves can be so hard? Of course we have people around us who love us, like our friends and family. But, if we don't have self esteem, who can we really count on to do that for us? Not loving yourself can stem from low self esteem. In fact, it can sometimes be the root cause as to why we don't love ourselves. This poses the questions: why do we have low self esteem and where does it come from?
Parents and Loved Ones
Low self esteem can come from a disapproving parent or loved one. Even though it is ideal for these people to be our biggest supporters and confidants, this isn't always the case. This should be the source of our love and validation; when this key component in ones life is missing, it is reasonable for it to cause low self esteem. We grow up with our parents being the most important and influential people on our entire lives. Not seeing their child as good enough or giving them the love and attention, self esteem issues arise.
A common example of this is if a parent has very high expectations, or a certain path they want their child to follow, they often put this pressure on them to live up to it. If the child doesn't, parents will often shame them or make them feel bad. This in turn makes the child feel like they are not good enough. Although parents can be the main source of this, it can also come from an authority figure such as a boss, teacher, or coach.
Unfortunately, society plays a huge part on self esteem, especially in the culture we all live in today that is so hyper focused on appearance. The intense access to information is also a downfall when it comes to comparing ourselves to others. "Why don't I look like that girl on the magazine?" Or "How come I don't have the lifestyle that this person on Instagram does". These all can lead to comparing ourselves and our lives to others which generates low self esteem if we somehow feel inferior. The world has, knowing or unknowingly, shaped us to idealize these aspects of our culture and discern ourselves as inadequate if we don't live up to certain standards.
Trauma Effect Self Esteem
Something else that causes low self esteem, according to Self Esteem Solutions, is a life trauma. These things are usually out of our control and can only be coped with on the back end. Traumas could include things like a loved one dying or being bullied at a young age. Being in an abusive relationship can also slowly spark feelings of low self esteem which can grow deeper and worse if the relationship continues. Sexual assault is also a huge reason for low self esteem, especially in women. In fact, 1 in 5 women has been sexually assaulted, and only 1 in 71 men have been.
Some low self esteem issues we also have to attribute as a fault of our own. We set expectations for ourselves and then beat ourselves up if we can't live up to them. It is very important to strive for excellence and want what is best in life, however, these expectations we put on ourselves cannot be unrealistic, or we will never get to a place where we feel good about ourselves. It can be hard to find the balance in pursuing the best and pushing ourselves while also staying realistic to our situations. However, it is important to be aware of this as to not set ourselves up for failure.
What's the Fix?
Now the question is posed: How can we improve low self esteem? At this point we have probably found a few reasons as to why you may have it, and most people have these feelings to a certain extent. Many people have low self esteem from multiple reasons above as well. Moving past it and working towards a better mindset is the way forward. This is where we have to change our thinking.
According to Psychology Today, there are steps you can take to walk down this better road of loving yourself! First, you have to be mindful of your thoughts and not let negative self talk tear you down constantly. Just like mentioned at the very beginning of this article, we have to love ourselves first and we cant count on anyone else to do that for us. Second, you have to change your story. If you are always feeling sorry for yourself and expressing that to the outside world, then you, as well as everyone around you, will see you in this light.
Third, comparison has to stop. It is one of the hardest things to not compare ourselves to others, but it is the single biggest reason for low self confidence. You were born as you and can only be you. You should only want to be you because there is not a single person on this earth who can fill your shoes. Stop comparing yourself to others and appreciate all you have to bring to the world.
I know you've heard it before, but exercise. For many reasons this can boost self esteem, and not only will you look healthier, but you will feel better. Last, and maybe most important, be kind. Being kind to others and having a soft heart for what others are going through will allow you to have that kind of care for yourself since you are practicing it outwardly.
Learning to love yourself is a work in progress and is naturally easier for some people. That's okay. Take it day by day and understand that it doesn't have to happen in a day or a week. Remember that you are you for a reason, and if no one can see that then the world is missing out on something that was put in place with a purpose.