Preview: Easy Ways to Build Assertiveness, Confidence, Self-esteem
WHAT IS SELF-ESTEEM?
It is the way we see and think about ourselves. Whether or not we like who we are, approve of who we are and accept ourselves unconditionally. That means accepting our imperfections.
Self-esteem is formed between the ages of 0-6. Some will say it is partly formed whilst in the womb. Certain aspects of our self-esteem may be in our genes and that is where the argument nature or nurture comes into question.
Some self-esteem may be genetic. The rest will be formed in accordance with the environment in which a child lives their formative years. If children live in an emotionally secure and safe environment with a balance of praise and discipline, knowing they are loved unconditionally, then they should grow to acquire a healthy self-esteem.
For children raised by those with a low self-esteem, it is inevitable they will emulate the behaviour. If there is a lack of praise and support with an imbalance of discipline, fairness plus inappropriate treatment then children may display a low sense of self-worth with emotions such as anger, fear and guilt. They will grow to be judgemental in their view of themselves, aiming for perfection in order to be liked.
Regularly I am asked the question can I improve my self-esteem as an adult? Although we may not be able to change totally behaviour learnt in childhood, we can learn new skills in how to accept who we are and how to be confident in our values and core-beliefs. We can learn how either to change them or build on them. At times we may revert to our default mechanism but we can learn to cope with relapses as will be explained further in the book.