I had low self-esteem and was very insecure; with me, it carried over to my adult life just as it does with so many. I did not feel inferior until others made me feel that way. In my heart I knew I was not but it was very hard to fight off that feeling of being less than. I have provided below an excerpt from my book manuscript that I posted before on my blog (itishowyouthink.com).
I hope that you will read this post and that it will be of comfort to you, your love ones or someone you may know. It is rather long though I felt it would be best left intact. If you feel that this does not pertain to your experience, it may help you to understand someone you know, better.
Your husband or wife does not cause our pain. Neither your employer nor your friends are the cause of the pain that you feel. The pain that you feel is caused by no one other than you. It does not matter from where it came; you allow it to do what it does. It is not the job, the neighbor or anyone else or thing. The source of the pain is your thinking.
Stressful experiences in early childhood can have long-lasting impacts on kids’ health that persist well beyond the resolution of the situation. For me, my entire childhood and much of my adult life, no matter the bright spots, was filled with pain. I could not be me for any length of time. My mind would not let me. What was wrong had to be made right and what was wrong was in me. I had known from when I was a small child—three or four, maybe—that my thoughts and how I would think them was adding to my pain. My heart would ache and my soul would scream, why me. These were times when little was known about why we do the things that we do. We now know more about emotional trauma and abuse in childhood and its effect on the mind, this is good.
What is not so good is that those who know do not know what they should. It seems that what no one wants to admit, and we (society) will not own up to, is what we are doing to us. I ask myself, what is the end game. Does anyone know? A childhood of pain and hurt can only lead to one thing, a life of the same. That is, if we do not listen to what we hear. And it is difficult to do that when you are still clinging on to debris from your childhood. A cluttered mind leaves no place for good things to go. You let pain you did not cause, cause you to suffer from pain you did cause. When how you think and act is the result of the pain you feel, you must trace your pain to where it leads. That would be your childhood.
Your childhood is real and the affect that it has on you—good or bad— is real, as well. You must look back one last time. First, though, you have to let down your defense, drop your guard, maybe, for the first time. If the trip is difficult to take, try being me and I will be you. To see life the way that I saw it—even though not through my eyes—will help you to understand how the millions who suffer here, and around the world may feel. How they act is a way to learn about you. When you change how you think, it can be done. Yes, many of us have been hurt. Our pain has its roots in and grows from a life being interfered with. You have to go back to this point. It is where your path to a right way of thinking begins.
It is the thoughts of your childhood that hurts. If it is not you who you see when you look, you are likely to recognize someone you know and possibly love. Or someone you just care about. Maybe it is someone you have empathy for, never knowing why they act the way they do. There is someone you know here—whether you knew it or not. Now you will know and have a better understanding of them and yourself. It is a matter of self-awareness, which simply means feeling good about yourself. Knowing who you are and being the real you; the person you were meant to be. That goes for all of us, you, them and me. It is a journey that begins with the first step, and the first step always begins in early childhood where the basis of our personality and sensitivities are formed. What comes next is the product of our environment. It is there in our mental and physical environment where our thoughts are formed by way of the senses and are molded in the image of the messages we receive through awareness and perception.
My self-esteem, which most of the time ran low, caused me not to do my best. It was not that I could not be my best. I just would not let myself do it. I was weak though I acted strong, and that is not pretty and fools no one. It is not likely that we can have a productive life without a heavy dose of self-esteem. We all need it. You have to be Self-aware it will never leave you; it is with you for life. It is how a child develops a healthy sense of self-worth. This is when you can I am “somebody” and mean it. And it does not always happen when it should.
What has the most negative impact on our lives is when our self-esteem does not develop at all. You need it to live an emotionally mature life. It is not likely that you can have a productive life without a heavy dose of self-esteem. We all need it. If this does not happen in early childhood, it will cause you to think, feel and act in ways you would rather not. Life will be difficult, at best. It can take years, if ever, to gain what you never had, but always needed.
That your view may be clouded by time and the hurt that you felt does not change a thing. You were a child in an adult world. You must first be aware of something before you can have thoughts about it, and our thoughts are based on perception. Life is understood and lived through our senses, and for each sense that is lost, there is a reduction in the ability to perceive and interact with the world around us.
We allow ourselves to be reminded of things long past that serve no useful purpose in our life today. A memory from our childhood can be one of them. The best place for a child to grow up is a place that nurtures and cares. It is there where childhoods grow. As well as being nurtured, we are born to this world to nurture. We are born with an instinct to live. It is in our nature though it does not always show.
The American Academy of Pediatrics in a Healthy Children article defines self-esteem as “the way in which an individual perceives herself—in other words, her own thoughts and feelings about herself and her ability to achieve in ways that are important to her. This self-esteem is shaped by not only a child’s own perceptions and expectations, but also by the perceptions and expectations of significant people in her life—how she is thought of and treated by parents, teachers and friends. The closer her perceived self (how she sees herself) comes to her ideal self (how she would like to be) the higher her self-esteem.”