In an article entitled “Where Does Self-Esteem Come From and How Can I Develop it? by Caty Harris and featured on GoodTherapy, Caty takes the mystery of self-esteem and explains it through a nature and nurture lens. “Self-esteem is influenced by evolution, childhood, rejection, social group stability, and, most importantly, beliefs.”
Two points that especially stood out to me: how beliefs and rejection can hinder a child’s ability to form a well developed self-esteem. As a child, we have magical thinking which can often affect how our experiences get cemented into our belief system. She explains how “the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) begins to develop at the age of 2-3 and it serves as a key region in understanding ourselves as well as others; our ability to make positive judgments about ourselves is rooted in our childhood.” (loosely quoted)
She also talks about why acceptance is so important to us from an evolutionary perspective and how rejection can trigger a physical response which includes a decrease in heart rate and the production of cortisol, the stress hormone. “Our brains hold tightly to memories connected with negative emotions and experiences, especially those where we feel unsafe, criticized, or rejected.”
Knowing this can help us to understand how our self-esteem developed in childhood and the steps we can take to move towards self-acceptance and creating a more accurate view of who we are based on our qualities and attributes.
To read the full article (you will really appreciate it!): https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/where-does-self-esteem-come-from-how-can-i-develop-it-0703184
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Photo Credit: http://Photo by Laura Briedis on Unsplash