Roots of Self-esteem


I'm in my mid thirties, a parent of two early
adolescents, and I have always struggled with selfesteem
issues. Some times are definitely worse than
others, and I really thought I would have outgrown this
by now. However, my main concern is that it looks like
my children are beginning to struggle with the same
problems. I had always believed that my problems came
from the way my mother treated me as a child, but now
I'm wondering. Can you offer some insight?


It is true that childhood is the primary time for healthy
self-esteem to be established. Not often does a well
adjusted child mature into an adult then one day wakes
up with a poor self image. An infant needs loads of
tender physical and verbal attention during waking
hours from their parents, and older children require
daily deposits of love and attention balanced with firm
boundaries and limits. A consistent deficit of these
basics can trigger problems with self-worth.
However, the way one sees themselves can be
changed. First it is important to realize that our society
is obsessed with "self-image" and the importance of
"me". Self-absorption often accompanies poor self
esteem. We tend to turn the "me factor" into a false
God by focusing on our own needs and desires. Soon
we find we are owners of a faulty value system which
states that personal fulfillment, money, prestige,
control, and power are what counts. Our true worth is
rooted in the fact that our Heavenly Father loved us
enough to sacrifice his Son for us. A second important
influence on how we see ourselves, is our personal daily
conduct. Are we proud of our activities, and our thought
A healthy self-image will begin to emerge as we grasp
hold of the truth of God's love for us. Our worth and
value do not change but our feelings do. Secondly enter
into activities that are other centered. Your children will
greatly benefit from this also. Do things for people with
no expectation of gratitude. Nursing homes, hospitals,
secret pals, churches, and community organizations,
can really use you! As you ask God for help and
direction your growth process will begin.

The professionals at the Rice Clinic are ready to
assist your family's needs.

Answered by: Robert Rice, M.D.