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Day 26 Origins of Low Self Esteem

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by MSZ812, Apr 23, 2017.

  1. MSZ812

    MSZ812 Well known member

    Today's journal activity revolved around the idea of exploring the "WHY" question of our different personality traits. I chose to investigate my low self esteem. I'm sure that it began around the age of 12. I was obsessed with sports from a very young age. Every hour I wasn't stuck in a classroom, at Sunday School, or doing household chores, I was playing sports. Basketball, football, baseball, hockey. I couldn't get enough of it. It was my sole passion at the time. My friends also enjoyed sports, but for them, it was one of many different interests. I fell behind, socially speaking. By the time we were 12/13 years old, they were into girls, and I was still enamored with sports. I liked girls too, but I wasn't in a hurry. I just didn't give it much thought. I remember Friday and Saturday nights during my Freshman year of high school. My buddies would be out at parties, and I would be at the local rec center playing in 3-on-3 basketball tournaments. I went to a small, private school. The school was 70% boys and 30% girls. The competition was strong, as there were maybe 10-15 girls in my grade who were dating at the time. I wasn't all that popular, either. I hung around the popular kids, but was clearly on the low end of the totem pool. Looking back, I would've been much happier hanging around the other, less popular groups. Hanging around the popular kids, I felt inadequate. They knew more, experienced more, and most importantly, they bonded outside of school. I was on the outside of the in-jokes. While I was a good student and a good kid, those qualities don't have much social currency. My high school years would get worse, as my parents divorced when I was 16. That didn't help my self esteem either (big understatement!). I suffered a particularly bad foot injury, which took sports away from me for many months. As I tried to shift my focus into "catching up" to my friends, I started feeling like I was WAY behind them. That's when I really noticed my low self esteem. I've struggled with that feeling ever since, as I'm now in my late 20s.

    I don't write this as a sad story. I believe much of my TMS problems revolve around self loathing, and I very much want to look forward with a positive attitude. Having spoken to high school friends in recent years, I've realized that we ALL had insecurities back then. It's a part of puberty and growing up in general.

    For those of you that have low self esteem, did it stem from your early childhood experiences or later (like me)?
  2. If 6 was 9

    If 6 was 9 Peer Supporter

    In my case I think the seed was planted in my personality traits (shy, observer rather than a doer, introvert etc) then by my life experiences. But even then it doesn't explain why my self esteem suffered as compared to someone else who had those personality traits who went on to feel just fine with him/herself. I think along the way you get the wrong sort of messages from your parents, your peers, the media and your culture, and some of us take them too much to heart.

    Low self-esteem comes from continually measuring yourself against other people. It's completely understandable in your teenage years to feel it keenly, especially if you see these so-called popular kids so deftly interacting with the other sex. But when you leave school you realise it's a completely different ballgame and the rules are a lot more relaxed, and the pecking order is not so evident, if not non-existent. Who would want their heyday to be while they were in school? Those are the people who end up all washed up by the time they're 30 and not able so well to let go of their school days.

    I found an audio book helpful by Tara Brach called Radical Self Acceptance (you could also get it in paper form if that's what you prefer). It's from a Buddhist perspective but you don't have to be a convert to understand it. I found it really helped. The reason why I mention it is because you talk about self-loathing. She refers to it as self-aversion, and is dominated by the emotion of shame, which I believe ties in with low self-esteem.
    MSZ812 likes this.

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