We can blame everyone including our parents, but the truth is that self-esteem issues are about… the self. We are responsible for our self-esteem, which is how much we value of ourselves.
Low self-esteem is caused by a lack of:
* Self-acceptance. Nobody’s perfect. We are who we are. We can always be better but the version we are today is the best version possible according to our experiences and our knowledge. When you understand this, intellectually and emotionally, you’ve already made a great step to becoming a better friend to yourself.
* Self-assertiveness. You have to express yourself in this world. You have to know what you want, what are you needs, and express them. If you don’t let the world know, you’ll have 0% chance to get them. If you stay passive and follow, you’ll just help others getting their needs met while you’ll be neglecting yours. You have to express yourself (your self), your truth, you have to be an individual part of this world.
* Personal integrity. Have strong values, and live your life according to them. It will be a compass to guide your decisions. Once you learn how to have your own values and building your life around them while accepting that other people can do the same, you’ll validate yourself instead of seeking for the validation of others. You’ll start not caring about what others think and will start caring about what YOU think of yourself. You’ll do your own life the way you want it, there’s no possibility of going wrong this way. This is living authentically.
* Self-responsibility. When something is not going the way you want or like it in your life and you have control over it, it is your responsibility to change that thing. When you have no control over it, it is your responsibility to accept it. We cannot blame our family, the neighbor, society, the system, etc… And feel powerful at the same time. As soon as we put others as a reason for our misery we also lose our power, and our worth.
* Living consciously. What do you want, what do you need, who do you want to become, where do you see yourself in 1, 5, 10 years, who do you admire, where do you want to live, what would be your perfect life, why do you eat that, etc… If you don’t ask yourself you don’t know. If you don’t know you’ll never go there, and you’ll just keep being pushed around in life, and it will feel like you have no power and control over your own life.
* Living purposefully. What makes you move, what do you want to do, what excites you, what do you dream of, why do you what you do. Find a purpose in your life, and a lot of petty things will not matter anymore.
* Action. Values, principles, ideas, all these things are worthless if they are not expressed through actions. So just do something.
These principles are all about knowing yourself better, and expressing yourself better. These are things that are in your control. Get better at them and you’ll be more authentic, more confident, more accepting (of yourself and others), and you’ll be more able to bring your life and yourself to the place you want. You can’t go wrong with that, you cannot NOT value yourself when you become a person you admire.
And as you can’t eat once for your whole life, you can’t apply these principles once and except them to last forever. It has to become a way of life. It has to be repeated until it becomes second nature.