The Far-Reaching Impact of Self-Esteem Wounds

When a child experiences neglect, harsh or frequent criticism or abuse, his self-esteem is wounded. Since all childrenperson_in_crowd are egocentric, he will blame himself for his negative treatment. If the child is neglected or ignored, he will conclude that he is not lovable or likeable. If he is overly criticized, he will conclude that he is inadequate or incompetent. If he is abused, he will believe that he is bad, defective or even cursed. Thus, a wound to the self-esteem is inflicted, or what I call a “wound of the heart.”

No child is immune. Any child will respond to such negative experiences with similar conclusions. The difference between the child with low self-esteem and the one with a more healthy self-esteem is a difference in experience, not a difference in the strength or in the abilities of the child.

Further, without some intervention, the self-esteem wound will stay with the person throughout life. A child who believes she is unlovable or unimportant will usually maintain those beliefs in adulthood as well. The child who questions his abilities will doubt himself as an adult as well.

In this four-part series, we will examine the far-reaching impact of self-esteem wounds. We will look at the wound’s impact on (a) personal mental health and quality of life, (b) interpersonal relationships, and (c) educational and career performance.

In some ways, a self-esteem wound is similar to metastasized cancer. Over time, it spreads into all aspects of the victim’s life. The wound alters the person’s functioning and perception of every experience. Over time, it tends to impact everything.

In the next article, we will examine the impact of self-esteem wounds on the individual’s personal mental health and quality of life. We will look at the impact on mood, anxiety, and perception. We will explore the pain created by such wounds.


Question: Can you think of any other areas where self-esteem wounds have an impact that I need to cover? Thank you for your comments!

The Power of Your Thinking

Young Woman Biting Her Finger NailAs a man thinks in his heart, so is he.
Proverbs 23:7

You talk to yourself all day. All your waking hours, you are thinking in words and sentences. You carry on an internal conversation with yourself. You comment on events, ask yourself questions and then answer them. This is normal. We all do it, but we usually aren’t aware that we’re doing it.

Have you ever stopped to consider the impact of all this internal chatter? You might be surprised at the degree to which your thoughts influence your mood, guide your perceptions and direct your behaviors. We would all do well to pay attention to the content of our thoughts, and consider their influence on our mood and choices. Have negative thought patterns caused you to experience unnecessary pain or make unhealthy choices?

The power of our thinking is magnified by the sheer volume of thoughts that go through our minds each day. Thousands of words, hundreds of phrases, judging thoughts, assuming thoughts, emotionally charged thoughts, all passing unquestioned into our minds and hearts.

A little internal observation will reveal that we all have habitual patterns of thinking. Some of us tend to think optimistic thoughts and some pessimistic thoughts. Some people are kind to themselves in their thoughts and some are very self-critical. Some people tend to be skeptical of others and some trusting in their thoughts.

This week, pay attention to your thoughts. Notice what you are saying to yourself. Particularly, notice any repeated patterns of negative thinking. Also, notice how your thoughts influence your mood and your behaviors. Was a negative or irritable mood preceded by negative thinking? Was a depressed mood preceded by self-critical or pessimistic thoughts? I believe that a little self-examination will reveal a connection between your self-talk and your life experience.
There are many forms of negative thinking can hurt us. In future posts, I will be addressing several specific types of negative thinking and providing tools we can use to change our thinking and improve our lives. For now, just notice the internal conversation as you go through your day. Become aware of your thoughts, your assumptions and your attributions. Awareness is the beginning of change.

Question: What techniques have you found to be helpful in monitoring your self-talk? Can you see a connection between the quality of your daily life experience and the thoughts that are going through your head?

Comparing Ourselves With Others

… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,    Romans 3:23


When we experience self-esteem wounds, we tend to feel alone. We assume that other people don’t have the samegirl_looking_in_mirror thoughts, feel the same feelings or experience the same failings. We feel “less than” when we compare ourselves to those around us.

And we do compare. We compare physical appearance; more wrinkles, more weight, less hair. We compare possessions; smaller house, older car, cheaper clothes. We compare our relative successes; less status, less salary, more failures. We compare, even when we try not to compare.

And we find ourselves lacking. Others look like they have it all together. They act happier and more confident. They seem more comfortable in social situations. They don’t look insecure, uncertain or full of self-doubt.

Its’ not surprising that we see others this way. It’s because almost everyone works so hard to act like they have it all together. It deludes us into thinking that they really do. We then are left with the misguided conclusion that our troubles, insecurities, doubts and fears are unique and a testament to our defects and weaknesses. Of course, we then feel forced to work harder to act like we have it all together. We hide our doubts and insecurities so we will look good.

So do they.

To be human is, by definition, to be imperfect. All humans have faults, imperfections, doubts, fears, insecurities and failures. As Paul said, “all have sinned and fail short…”

Comparison with others is a trap. Any comparison with others will mess you up. If you see yourself as superior, you will become vein and prideful. If you see yourself as inferior, you will become ashamed and depressed. Either way you lose.

The truth is we are neither, better or worse. We are the same. We are all in the same boat. We have “all sinned and fall short…” No one is any better than you, and no one is any worse. Recognizing that fact, knowing it in your heart, is strangely comforting.

It is a fact. You are not less than any other human being. The only choice now is whether or not you choose to accept and believe it.


Question: Tell us your thoughts on this tendency to compare ourselves with others. Also, please share any techniques you found successful to stop the comparisons.

Is There Life After Birth?

This is a facinating twist on an old argument that makes you think. I saw this on Facebook and just wanted to share. Is mom real?I hope you enjoy it.

In a mother’s womb were two babies. One asked the other: “Do you believe in life after delivery?” The other replied, “Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.”

“Nonsense” said the first. There is no life after delivery. What kind of life would that be?””

The second said, “I don’t know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths. Maybe we will have other senses that we can’t understand now.”

The first replied, “That is absurd. Walking is impossible. And eating with our mouths? Ridiculous! The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we need. But the umbilical cord is so short. Life after delivery is to be logically excluded.”

The second insisted, “Well I think there is something and maybe it’s different than it is here. Maybe we won’t need this physical cord anymore.”
The first replied, “Nonsense. And moreover if there is life, then why has no one ever come back from there? Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery there is nothing but darkness and silence and oblivion. It takes us nowhere.”

“Well, I don’t know,” said the second, “but certainly we will meet Mother and she will take care of us.”

The first replied “Mother? You actually believe in Mother? That’s laughable. If Mother exists then where is She now?”

The second said, “She is all around us. We are surrounded by her. We are of Her. It is in Her that we live. Without Her this world would not and could not exist.”

Said the first: “Well I don’t see Her, so it is only logical that She doesn’t exist.”

To which the second replied, “Sometimes, when you’re in silence and you focus and you really listen, you can perceive Her presence, and you can hear Her loving voice, calling down from above.” – Útmutató a Léleknek