Compassion and Self-Esteem

How Self-Esteem Develops

During our formative years, we begin to develop an “inner-voice” that will accompany us throughout our lives. This inner-voice is constantly with us. It develops as a mixture of our parents, teachers and authoritative adults, and is honed through our experiences of reward, punishment, encouragement, and criticism. When we have failed to live up to our own expectations, it will criticise and cajole us. When we have done something praiseworthy, it will congratulate us.

However, if the critical voice develops too much power, it will continually scold and belittle us. It becomes less likely to respond to encouragement and positive affirmation, and will accentuate the negative. This is where the erosion of our self-esteem begins in earnest and why development of compassion becomes so vital.

There are many ways of tackling this inner critic, but all start with the recognition and acknowledgement of its existence. We can then begin to understand more about how we constantly seem to strengthen it and reinforce it subconsciously. With this understanding, we can then move onto positive ways of negating its voice through developing a more compassionate view.

The change in self-image and esteem that takes place once this process has begun can rapidly gather momentum, and with this change, comes a whole new way of looking at the world and ourselves within it.