Most of our beliefs about ourselves have come from outside sources: people, education, and experiences. Many of us have allowed the opinions of others to become our opinions of ourselves. We’ve listened to people tell us things about ourselves and then we’ve internalized, processed, and believed what they have told us. If they told us good things like you are beautiful, smart, intelligent, talented, then we probably have built us some confidence and self-esteem. But if they told us things like you are stupid, inadequate, incompetent, fat, ugly, bad, or unworthy, then we very likely have developed a lack of self-confidence and self-esteem.

There is a direct correlation between the quality of our relationships and our levels of self-esteem and self-confidence. If we are like most people, how we feel about ourselves, good or bad, is largely dependent upon the degree of acceptance we have felt from the influential people in our lives.

In the beginning, we learned our beliefs and values from our parents. If their self-esteem was low or they had poor self-concepts, values, and beliefs, then that’s what we learned. If they felt inferior, inadequate, or unworthy, we probably adopted those qualities as well.

When we are children, we go through an “imprint period” where we formulate our behavior patterns based on what is impressed upon our thught patterns by the adults who are instrumental in our development.

If we were told, “You are bad,” it really meant our behavior was unacceptable but most of us didn’t hear it that way. We internalized it to me that we were unacceptable. Most parents don’t realize how important it is to separate the ‘act’ from the ‘child.’

If we were compared negatively to other children, especially children outside of our immediate family, we might have believed those children had more abilities and were more popular than we were. That is when feelings of inferiority set in. If we didn’t receive appreciation or recognition for our achievements then, we may believe others are smarter, stronger or better than we are now?

As a child, were you compared to someone else? How did that affect you? How are you allowing it to affect you now?

Author's Bio: 

Judi Moreo is an author, speaker, and life coach. She has written 11 books including “You Are More Than Enough: Every Woman’s Guide to Purpose, Passion, and Power.” Judi can be reached at