3 Things You Didn't Realize Affect Your Self-Esteem — VIDEO

When we're experiencing high levels of self-esteem, we often feel so awesome as to be downright unstoppable. When our self-esteem is low, however, everything can feel terrible. The exact factors that play into our levels of self-esteem can vary for each person— but as a recent video from The School of Life points out, there are a number of somewhat unexpected things that can affect your self-esteem, too. Y'know, on top of your personal situation, your history, your current circumstances, and so on and so forth.

Why does teasing out these unexpected sources of low self-esteem matter? Out self-esteem can impact the way we interact with others and the way we view ourselves, which can have an enormous impact on how we go about living our lives. It's hard to see yourself positively and treat yourself with care and respect when your self-esteem is through the floor; that's one of the reasons self-care is so important.

If you're struggling with low self-esteem, it's always worthwhile to talk to a trusted friend, partner, or mental health professional to get some outside perspective and insight. In the mean time, here are some interesting, psychology based factors that may be impacting your self-esteem without you even knowing it.

The School of Life on YouTube

1. How You Compare With Your Same-Sex Parent


Apparently, a huge impact on how we view ourselves has to do with the success of our same-sex parent — that is to say, if you identify as female, you'd look at your relationship with your mother, and if you identify as male, you'd look at your relationship with your father. (Unfortunately the video doesn't address how this works if you have two opposite-sex parents, a single parent of the opposite sex, or any of the other countless family and parental arrangements that exist in the world.)

This theory asks you to consider how successful your same-sex parent is, and then compare your own self and achievements to theirs. According to The School of Life, if you're doing better than your same-sex parent, you're more likely to have higher levels of self-esteem. Of course, this is relative: If your parent is very successful in their field, you may gain relative success compared to others, but always feel you're in your parent's shadow. On the flip side, if your parent struggled to support you but you're doing very well, you may experience higher levels of self-esteem because you feel you've overcome obstacles and flourished.

2. How You Compare To Your Peer Group


While I am generally all for women supporting women (and really, people supporting one another, period), I have to admit I often compare myself to those around me, especially those who are in the same bracket of career, age, and location as I am. And apparently I'm not alone in this: According to The School of Life, it's normal to compare ourselves to our peers — the people who were educated with us, who live in our part of the world, and are around our age. If you happen to have a classmate who becomes the future President, it's possible your self-esteem will suffer because you compare yourself to their success and wonder, why not me? On the other hand, if you, for example, graduated from a high school that had a low average of students going to college, but you made it into a prestigious university, you may experience higher levels of self-esteem.

3. How Conditional Your Parent's Love Is


Ah, conditional love. Isn't that the worst feeling in the world? You know, feeling like you have to meet a certain standard or expectation to earn someone's affection and care, and if you don't, then you've failed at everything? For some of us, this horrible feeling occurs in our romantic relationships, but it can also happen from a very young age, with our own parents. A lot of our self-esteem comes from how affectionate our parents were in our childhood and adolescence. If your parents were big on conditional love — having to earn good grades or win sports game to get their full approval, say — you might suffer from lower self-esteem, even if you did routinely meet those expectations. If you've experienced unconditional love, on the other hand, it's likely your self-esteem is pretty healthy and strong, regardless to the ups and downs of your life; it teaches us we innately have value and deserve affection. (Which, of course, is absolutely true.)

Images: Hoang Bin/Pexels; The School of Life/YouTube (3)