Causes of Low Self Esteem

What are some of the possible causes of low self esteem? Lack of confidence and self esteem seems to be such a common issue for so many of us.

Many experts believe that self esteem issues arise from our experiences as a child, and so let's take a look at some of the childhood situations that can lead to low self esteem as an adult.

Some Causes of Low Self Esteem

1. Your Parents Were Highly Critical

I had a father who never said a good word about me, and let me know that nothing I ever did was good enough. Academically I was a high achiever, yet he still criticised my efforts.

Did you have parents who were overly critical and didn't like to dish out the praise and encouragement? Then there's a good chance you grew up with low self esteem, as I did. I often felt as though I had to get everything perfect to try and make up for feeling inferior and unworthy,

If your parents, or even just one parent, had impossibly high expectations that you could never achieve and as an adult you continue to feel inadequate, then it's time to start rebuilding your sense of worthiness.

2. Your Parents Abused You

Abuse can be physical, sexual or emotional and can cause extreme damage to your sense of self. There is no doubting the long term negative effects of any form of abuse on a child's self esteem.

3. You Were Unwanted or Rejected by Your Parents

If you are aware that you came from an unwanted pregnancy, this can have a great impact on your ability to feel accepted and appreciated. Even with planned pregnancies, some parents give off the vibe to their children that they are unwanted.

Children desperately seek their parents approval, and so to feel rejected by your parents is incredibly harmful to a child's sense of worth. That child is likely to grow into an adult who feels unworthy and rejected by the world at large.

4. You Didn't Receive much Attention from Your Parents

If your parents were always too busy to give you the attention and nurturing you needed, then it's possible you grew up feeling insecure, unworthy and alone. Those who were neglected as children tend to then neglect themselves as adults.

5. There was Alcoholism or Drug Abuse in Your Family

Substance abuse in a family is one of the major causes of low self esteem. It creates a fearful and unstable home environment, and so it is difficult for the child to feel secure and develop a sense of trust. Studies demonstrate that these children grow up with poor self esteem and feelings of insecurity.

6. Your Parents were Over-Protective

Strange as it may sound, having parents who were overprotective is also one of the causes of low self esteem. If a child is protected too much from the outside world, they may feel the world is an unsafe place and that they don't have the skills, confidence or independence to venture too far.

(Please be aware that even though I refer to parents in this list, the above causes can relate to the behaviour of anyone significant in your life).


So can you relate to any of the above scenarios? If so, then perhaps it's time to start building your confidence and self esteem. And the healing process doesn't involve pointing the finger at your parents.

Identifying with any of the above causes of low self esteem is not so that you can blame your parents for what "they did" to you. It's about acknowledging and accepting a set of circumstances that are now in the past.

Being angry with and placing blame on your parents (or anyone else) will only hold you back. They probably did the best they could, and it's likely they experienced similar circumstances in their childhoods.

I believe forgiveness is a big part of overcoming low self esteem. Remembering your past allows you to release old emotions, forgive those involved and start rebuilding your present. Staying in the past and continuing to replay bad memories will keep you caught up in anger and resentment.

Overcoming Low Self Esteem

Now that you may have identified some causes of your low self esteem, it's time to start building up your confidence and self esteem again.

I experienced several of the above scenarios in my childhood, and so grew up with very low self esteem and confidence. So now I would like to share with you some of the ways I have helped myself to build self esteem and develop a sense of self-worth.

Have a look at my page on overcoming low self esteem. Here I show you the steps I took to release the negative emotions related to my past and how I began to increase my self esteem and sense of worth.

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