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Everyone knows what is meant by self-esteem.  What is less known or understood is what causes low self-esteem or worth, and how to reverse this and grow positive feelings about the self. 

It might surprise some to know that low self-esteem is widespread and many who struggle with their self-esteem appear to have it all, achievements, success and the accompanying benefits. Despite their successes these people do not feel as positive about themselves as might be expected.

There is still much to be learnt about how self-esteem develops.  Low self-esteem is always present in those who have been abused or neglected, which is perhaps easy to comprehend.  It is harder to understand when abuse does not appear to have been a factor, and the number of people who fit into this category is significant.

Self-esteem is affected by the quality of our interactions with others. This occurs throughout our lives, but how we are responded to in our formative years is especially important.  At the centre of developing healthy self-esteem is the human need to feel we are loved and an okay person.  How we are related to is a crucial part of this.  Sometimes this can go awry when a parent or significant other, sometimes unwittingly, repeatedly fails to notice, mirror or value the emerging and unique qualities and emotions of the child in front of them.  Sometimes this can be so pervasive it is damaging.  It can cause problems for a child, and later an adult, in knowing who they are and in being able to feel good about who they are.  Or it may be that the child is repeatedly criticised, made fun of or treated with disdain, thus affecting self-esteem in a major way.  

As an adult we know how it feels when we meet someone who is interested in us, who “gets us” and is on the same wavelength.  We feel good, kind of whole and lifted.  This is not a coincidence; it is an important part of the self-esteem issue.