- The opinion of others about us
- Our experiences (both failures and successes)
- Our faith/ religion and
- The source of our informative development
The opinions of others play a major role in determining our self-esteem, especially in our teenage and impressionable years (although it also works throughout our lifetime). We care so much about what people think of us and we tend to model our lives, looks and mannerism to please others. This is especially common among cliques and clubs. Everyone wants to be and accepted as ‘cool’ (cool being whatever the self-proclaimed leaders say is cool).
Our successes make us confident and secure while our failures make us timid and insecure. If we have more experiences of failures than of successes in our lives, the tendency is that we will develop a low self-esteem, especially if we don’t have a support system that would encourage us at those times.
Our religious tenets tend to insist on what we should think of ourselves. By establishing right and wrong standards, it sets a platform for our self-judgement. If we meet the required standard, we are justified and this gives us a psychological high and an esteem boost. On the other hand, if we fail to meet the faith standard, we feel condemned and crash in our esteem.
The books we read, movies and programs we watch, magazines and social networks we follow affect our self-esteem by setting a social standard that we have to strive to meet. If our social media showcase a certain look and size as the ‘in thing’ everyone wants to be and look like that, and the more we try to look and act like our social role models and fail, the less we think of ourselves. So our self-esteem depends now on how much we can kowtow to the image that has been approved by the media.
Also on the same level, is the opinions of our life models, parents, teachers, mentors etc who always voice what they think is best for us. Your father wants you to be in the military because as he claims, it’s the only noble profession (what he does not tell you is that he missed his chance of being in the army and wants to live his dream through you). So he rides you for wanting to be an artist, and you eventually develop a low self esteem because you’re now in booth camp, hating it and sucking at it.