Languages, colors, cultures and also the way one behaves may differ from one nation to another. Yet, each and every one of us living on the surface of this planet have several things in common. One of these similarities is that we all have a way of regarding our own self. It is believed that a large amount of individuals feel very good about themselves. Nevertheless, from time to time even the best of us get a dose of negative emotions. Very heartbreaking stories about self dislike were told by many depressed teenagers and older people. What are the causes of this kind of low self esteem and how can one person get solutions to outcome them?
Self Esteem is defined as confidence in your own merit as an individual#. Such concepts as self-esteem and self-image have been regarded by some social psychologists as useful, while others have regarded them as unnecessary. There is a considerable amount of research on such topics but it would be very difficult to find the exact definition because volumes have been written about self esteem. Definitions given in self esteem literature run a yard long. But after cutting through all the scientific words, the question of self-esteem really centers down to something quite simple: How do a person feels about his/herself? If the person feels good about him/herself, they have a high self-esteem. If they feel bad about him/herself, they have a low self esteem. Since low self esteem is a worst problem than the higher one, let's examine it to find some solution by investigating a number of low self esteem causes and personal cases.
Individuals with truly high self esteem feel good about themselves and continue believing in themselves regardless of what others think of them. Some people feel good about themselves only as long as others support them and approve them. The moment another person criticizes them, or withdraws her or his support from them, they not only feel bad about themselves, they may even hate themselves. That would be the first step into low self-esteem.


When a person acts like that, life can be hurtful for most of the time and they might find themselves at the mercy of others. When these kind of persons don't have the emotional freedom and independence from the criticism and approval of others, their choice of action is limited. There may be options far superior and promising but they may be too apprehensive to choose them because they primarily depend too much on other people's immediate approval. Thinking that it would be impossible for them to do things right they end-up being incapable to do things accurately.
People who are unsure of themselves have trouble sustaining their relationships because their feelings get easily hurt. They are too quick to read insult and ridicule in the innocent remarks of others. Since they feel insulted, hurt, embarrassed, and ashamed without due cause, their reactions baffle and pushes others away. "They ride an emotional roller coaster and some of them resort to alcohol and drugs."# This problem occurs most likely among teenagers or older young people. This is due because of the limitations that might frustrate them. They are growing up, and often there is a period of awkwardness in which dropping things or bumping into them is a daily embarrassment. Then, too, they simply don't have an adult's experience in bouncing back from disappointments. And because their "perceptive powers" haven't been sufficiently trained "through use", they may not always make the wisest decisions.# At times they may feel that they can't do anything right.

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Failure to meet one's parents' expectations can be another cause of low self-esteem. " If I make an A minus' in school," one youth says, "my folks want to know why it wasn't an A' and forget about appreciating my hard work. After that they even start comparing me unfairly with my older brother." Such kind of unjust comparisons are a good reason for a teenager to develop a low self-esteem. At this level a youth should try to develop a better self-respect. But how is this possible?
First, teens should take an honest look at their assets and liabilities. This should also include an investigation about their selfishness and the way they look at minor people. After trying to overcome these problems, self-respect will surely start to grow. A second step toward self respect is to set goals such as trying learn any kind of musical instrument or another specific skill. A teenager can also dedicate him/herself to do good and serious work. This can include work that we do just to help others without expecting any reward. Picking respectful friends can also play an important role on our own respect. These steps will surely increase our self-esteem but there also are some actions that have to be avoided. One of them can be "developing a false front or facade with which to face the world" or even becoming a boaster#.
Depression, another "close relative" of low self esteem, has a major role. Melanie had always lived up to her mother's ideal perfect child until she turned 17. Then she withdrew from school activities, stopped accepting invitations to parties, and didn't even seem to care when her grades dropped from A's to C's. When her parents gently inquired what was wrong, she stormed away saying, "leave me alone! there's nothing wrong."
Mark, at 14 was impulsive and hostile, with an explosive temper. At school he was fidgety and disruptive. When frustrated or angry, he would race across the dessert on a motorcycle or shoot down steep hills on his skateboard.#
Melanie and Mark both suffered forms of the same malady: depression. Dr. Donald McKnew of the National Institute of Mental Health says that 10 to 15 percent of schoolchildren may suffer mood disorders. A smaller number suffer from severe depression. At times there is a biologic basis for the problem. Some infections or endocrine-system diseases, the hormonal shifts of the menstrual cycle, hypoglycemia, certain meditations, exposure to toxic metals or chemicals, allergic reactions, unbalanced diet and anemia can trigger depression.#
Only in the past two decades has depression in teens been taken very seriously. The depressed teenager may pretend to be sick, refuse to go to school, cling to a parent, or worry that the parent may die. Older teens may sulk, get into trouble at school, be negative, grouchy, and feel misunderstood. Because normal behaviors vary from one childhood stage to another, it can be difficult to tell whether a child is just going through a temporary "phase" or is suffering from depression. Sometimes the parents become worried about how the child's behavior has changed, or a teacher mentions that "your child doesn't seem to be himself." In such a case, the doctor will probably suggest that the child be evaluated, preferably by a psychiatrist who specializes in the treatment of children. If treatment is needed, the doctor may suggest that another therapist, usually a social worker or a psychologist, provide therapy while the psychiatrist will oversee medication if it is needed.
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has identified the use of medications for depression in children as an important area for research. The NIMH-supported Research Units on Pediatric Psychopharmacology (RUPPs) form a network of seven research sites where clinical studies on the effects of medications for mental disorders can be conducted in children and adolescents. Among the medications being studied are antidepressants, some of which have been found to be effective in treating children with depression, and also teens with a high probability of having a low self esteem.
Among the many stressful experiences of living, we may be faced with extraordinary circumstances that leave us feeling terrified, powerless, and/or horrified in the face of threatened or actual injury or death. Examples of traumatic events include: natural disaster, catastrophe caused by human error, catastrophe caused by failed equipment ,physical or sexual assault; rape robbery/mugging etc...
'Three months after our car smashup, I still couldn't stop crying, or sleep through the night. Just leaving the house was terrifying.'-Louise.
LOUISE suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a debilitating malady characterized by recurring and intrusive recollections or dreams of a traumatic event. The person with PTSD may also have an exaggerated startle response. For example, mental-health expert Michael Davis tells of one Vietnam veteran who on the day of his wedding dived into the bushes at the sound of a car backfiring. "There should have been all kinds of signals in the environment that told him everything was okay," says Davis. "It was 25 years later; he was in the United States, not Vietnam; . . . he was wearing a white tuxedo, not battle fatigues. But when that primordial stimulus came through, he ran for cover."
Battlefield trauma is just one cause of PTSD. According to The Harvard Mental Health Letter, the disorder can result from any "event or series of events that involves actual or threatened death or serious injury or a threat to physical integrity. It might be a natural disaster, accident, or human action: flood, fire, earthquake, car crash, bombing, shooting, remember that recovery requires patience. For Louise, quoted at the outset, five months elapsed before she could once again get behind the steering wheel of a car. "Despite the strides I've made," she stated four years after the accident, "driving will never be the pleasant experience it once was for me. It's something I must do, so I do it. But I've come a long way since the helpless time following the accident."
All these factors are helpful for a low self esteemed person. One more thing we should be aware of is loneliness. This feeling can develop low self esteem and lead to committing suicide. this fact doesn't only touch youth.


JOHN AND MARY# are in their late 50's and live in the rural United States in a small house. John is slowly dying of emphysema and congestive heart failure. Mary simply cannot imagine life without John, and she cannot stand the pain of seeing him fade away, one gasping breath at a time. Mary has health problems of her own and has suffered for years from depression. John has been alarmed lately because Mary has been talking about suicide. Her thinking is increasingly confused because of the depression and all the medication she takes. She says that she cannot bear the thought of being alone.

The house is full of medicineheart pills, antidepressants, tranquillizers. In the early hours one morning, Mary goes into the kitchen and just starts taking pills. She doesn't stop until John finds her and takes the pills from her. He calls the rescue squad as she slips into a coma. He prays it is not too late.


Much has been written in recent years about increasing numbers of suicides among the youngand rightly so, for what greater tragedy is there than the needless death of a young person, full of life and promise? Yet, overlooked in the headlines is the fact that the suicide rate in most countries rises steadily with age. This is true whether the overall suicide rate in a given country is high or low, as the box on the preceding page shows. A glance at those statistics also reveals the global nature of this hidden epidemic.

In 1996 the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported that the number of suicides among Americans aged 65 and older had jumped by 36 percent since 1980. Some of this increase was due to the greater numbers of elderly Americansbut not all of it. In 1996 the actual rate of suicide among those over 65 also went up, by 9 percent, for the first time in 40 years. Of injury-related deaths, only falls and motor-vehicle crashes killed more elderly Americans. Actually, even these alarming figures may be too low. "Suicide is suspected of being grossly understated in the statistics based on cause-of-death certification," observes A Handbook for the Study of Suicide. The book adds that some estimate the actual figures to be twice as high as the reported statistics.

As a result the United States, like many other countries, is suffering from the hidden global epidemic of senior-citizen suicide due most of the time loneliness and low self esteem. Dr. Herbert Hendin, an expert on the subject, notes: "Despite the fact that the suicide rate in the United States rises consistently and markedly with age, suicide among older people has received little public attention."# Why is that? He suggests that part of the problem is that since the suicide rate for older people has always been high, "it has not created the sudden alarm accompanying the dramatic increase in youthful suicide."
These statistics, although shocking, are just cold numbers. They cannot convey the loneliness of life without a cherished mate, the frustration of lost independence, the despair of a lingering disease, the emptiness of chronic depression, the hopelessness of a fatal illness. The sad truth is that while young people may attempt suicide as a reckless reaction to temporary problems, older people are usually faced with problems that seem to be permanent and unsolvable. As a result, they often approach suicide more determinedly than the young and carry it out with a terrible efficiency.


"Not only is suicide significantly more prevalent among older persons, but the suicidal act itself reflects important differences between old and young," notes Dr. Hendin, in his book Suicide in America. "In particular, the ratio of attempted to actual suicides shifts quite markedly among older persons. Among the population as a whole, the ratio of attempted suicides to actual suicides has been estimated to be 10 to 1; among the young (15-24), it has been estimated to be 100 to 1; and among those over 55, it has been estimated to be 1 to 1."
Self dislike, depression loneliness and suicide have a very great role in one person's self esteem. Although the above statistics made it seem to be impossible to overcome these feelings, the research hopefully gave us all the possible ways that we can be victorious and set ourselves free from this psychological slavery.