Challenges to Self-Esteem
Self-esteem is learned in childhood, and certain experiences could accelerate its development: being subject to criticism or abuse from parents and caretakers; missing out on experiences that would foster a sense of confidence and purpose; receiving little or no positive reinforcement for accomplishments; being stigmatized for unusual appearance or behavior; for one's race, class, or social identity; or having a learning disability or physical impairment.
In adulthood, even a well-developed self-esteem can be challenged by sudden life changes or perceived failures: losing a job or changing jobs; ending an intimate relationship; having legal or financial troubles; struggling with addiction or substance abuse; having children with emotional troubles; physical health concerns. A host of other events may cause us to question our worth or value. Therapy can help put such events in perspective and enhance strengths to increase resilience, social support, and hope.