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Are you good enough? low self esteem

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

It's common to have over critical parents that get the balance of praise and criticism wrong. It results in often permanent damage to our mental health and an adult life of deflatedness leading to low chance of finding and maintaining a partner as well as happiness is elusive.


Low self esteem effects every part of our being with everyone. Our partners often pay the price for our condition because all their eagerness to bring you up to speed where contentment permanently remains, they find their partner drop down again and again. Some years ago I had a serious evaluation of this situation I found myself in. I concluded- yes I knew the source- my mothers excess dominance and criticism even as an adult- her yelling when low voice command would have sufficed and her stubbornness to attend to her own mental health issues (suspected BPD). The question then became- what is the action/s I can take to ensure I have a happier life and patch up the damage? 


I continued professional appointments but I knew the major change had to come from within. As with the thread "the best praise you'll ever get" I kept patting myself on the back for being simply a good person. Do that often enough and it sinks in and the removal of the culprit in my life a personal choice


Sometimes we have to rise above the wrongs being done to us to be where we deserve to be. That then leads to "I am a good person, I'm good enough, I was dealt poor parenting and I've now accepted that it is part of life.. a poor hand dealt.


Easier said than done of course, but you have to find that direction in order to achieve. The alternative is to suffer in silence and do nothing. As the saying goes "evil flourishes when good people do nothing". Evil being poor learning behaviours carried on to the next generation combined with lack of praise. Constantly over correcting a dog will see its tail between its legs and timid forever, praise it regularly and it loves life but obeys


Low self esteem is not your fault, it can be  repaired through persistence and belief in yourself, acceptance that you were mistreated. Parents might say like "I was a bit hard on you" or "I shouldn't have treated you that way" and you can choose to forgive. But without remorse forgiveness is less reachable either way you were always good enough...



13 Replies 13

Community Champion
Community Champion


Ivdid nit have over critical parents I was over critical and never felt I was good enough. I made up stories to make me sku d like I was achieving things. 
thanks for  the blog. 

As a child creating imaginary goals is I believe akin to patting yourself on the back. 



Community Member

I have been told I have low self esteem. Somehow connected to not knowing that I was worthy or valued as a person. Often fearful of trying new things in life, not believing in myself that I could do these new things. Not even taking care of myself properly because I didn't value or think I was worth taking care of. 


I choose to forgive my parents. I often felt they didn't believe in me. 




Hi, welcome


Thankyou for posting. In terms of parents or carers loving us, in general I've found that it isnt until a trauma/tragedy that real love is expressed. Many of us live our lives day to day and that can be a routine of sorts and parents are as guilty as everyone else in forgetting to reassure their children they are loved and cared for, valued. So children can be raised with less praise than they thought they could have had. And parents can go through that period unaware of the need of their child. It sometimes comes as a shock to parents when their child expresses that they lissed out on such a basic need. In the parents eyes they dont realise they lacked giving affection or- sometimes the child felt lack of affection even though it was provided. So many variables.


Fearing trying new things could be breaching your security, we feel safe in what we know, who we talk to and the daily challenges we are faced with, its more of the same day to day whereas travelling interstate as an example can be an anxious time. At 17 I left home to join the AirForce. I hated Melbourne. Soon after I longed for Melbourne as I missed the footy and trams. Odd isnt it.


Not valuing yourself is a common theme hence this post, I'm 67yo but at 34yo I was told to play some tapes (now on youtube) by Maharaji Pre Rawat. As part of my meditation I play them. Google his name followed by the following titles- sunset, the perfect instrument, appreciate, All is well. and many more. This is one way to create more value of yourself in your mind.


I's be interested in what you think about them.


PS well done in forgiving your parents.



Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi TonyWk - great discussion, important, as it goes right to the heart of how we feel about ourselves.

From being denied any oportunity to know my mother from age 4, then not having the support I needed from my father, to being mistreated, by both him & my (ex)-step-mother who naid nothing of love or care for me, (& the other kids tood), & other problems from stemming from other people, I  have had to eventually realise what others think of me is just that. I don't have to agree & take their thoughts & feelings on board anymore. I used to, but since that understanding it's much easier for me to feel I am good enough, can do good enough, by my own criteria.

Sometimes I feel the awkward feelings that arise when I feel someone is scrutinising & assessing by their own standards. It makes me feel very uncomfortablem yeah, like I am not meeting expectations again, failing again - hat's hard to shake off in the moment.

I continue to work on these ideas, to not treat myself as I had been treated when I was a child, & even when I thought I'd grown up & found myself in unhealthy relationships. So much comes back to my self-esteem & where it was at when I went into those relationships, & how those relationships kept it so low that I put up with far too much.

It's been a life-long learning for me, that is still not finished.

Thank you TonyWK & those who respond gere. Without people to share some of our thoughts & feelings with, we'd all be feeling very alone & abandoned.



P.S. Tony, I'm 63, just a few years younger & still learning it's okay to be me.

Thankyou mmMeKitty,


The common theme of mistreatment as children resonates here. To be put down, not accepted, step parent situations that scream out for love and care, and non acceptance of the low level of expertise that children have is simply sad and any wonder we end up questioning why. Children are inexperienced adults that naturally have a very low level of work standards. In everything they do their quality is going to be sub standard by adult standards. Yet if these same adults were to carry out actions in a field they are not expert in, their supervisor would have the same opportunity to address them in a domineering manner.


Some of us explode later on in life, in a rage. As a young 21yo prison warder I asked a much older officer if her could tell me how to do a certain task. He replied "I learned the hard way, you can learn the hard way" Such a selfish reply deserved every bit of the tongue lashing he deserved. Part of that address I told him whenever I be approached by a young recruit being asked how to carry out his duties "I'll go out of my way to educate him, so in effect your generation of arrogance will stop with me". So unnecessary and frankly I dont entertain why such adult do what they do, its their problem not mine.


We have to counter the abuse we have received. To do that needs a blend of mentally accepting it and some retaliation imo. Just enough to get you over the line in terms of getting off our chest.


There is one last action to work towards- to reach redemption, a place of peace. For me it came when I removed my narcissistic mother from my life for the last time 12 years ago. A few months passed and she crossed my mind for a moment, then I changed thoughts. I'd made it, my thought of her was ever so short. Her abuse no longer mattered. Peace had arrived as close to it as I'd ever get. 🙂


You're not alone MK, you're not abandoned. 



Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Thanks TonyWK, this thread has really helped me because even at age 47, I still have such low self-esteem. 

I go from job to job, giving up when it gets hard and I feel like my supervisors are always disappointed in me. I've been 'let go' from at least 4 jobs and its always at the back of my mind that I could get sacked from my next job. I worked in administration which is surprisingly hard and stressful and I haven't enjoyed most of my positions in the last 15 years. My therapist used to say that family is a 'mixed blessing' and she's not wrong. I love my parents, they are both good people although my Dad used to joke that children should be 'seen and not heard'. 

Hi Candice


It's early hours and I'm in a depressive cycle

 I just wrote a poem to my daughter and put it in FB. So I was thrilled you replied as it made me shift focus. Thankyou.


The workplace is designed for average people imo, it isn't a good fit for those of us that has a mind outside the square. Creative mind, I'll mind or minds that don't serve to satisfy. Being popular helps. Us kind don't do that either.


So going from job to job is normal for us. I had around 90 jobs, now retired.


I think the key to your predicament is to accept that being an individual is ok, that you don't make an ideal fit among others. It doesn't mean you're stupid but different,  not hopeless bur individual,  not popular but unique... a prized person among sheep. Embrace you, love you and don't feel bad.


Google- beyondblue guilt the tormentor 


Beyondblue the best praise you'll ever get 



Community Member

Low self esteem is something that is really holding me back at this time. 

I wasn't always like this - but from 2016-2021 I was in an abusive relationship and it was like death by a thousand cuts. Constant little (and not so little) jabs at my character, personality etc. It all adds up. Now my self-esteem is so low it seems to cause my pre-existing depression and anxiety to be so much worse.


As a coping strategy during that time I'd retreat to the past - when I was in a happier place/relationship/time. Unfortunately, that coping strategy is now holding me back - I'm lacking the confidence (self-esteem as part of that) to move forwards.


I'm seeing a counsellor tomorrow to hopefully help me get the skills I need to lift my self-confidence back to a place where I can move forwards with my life and hopefully better manage my anxiety and depression.