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Behind The Wall | The Swamp Draws In

Most people want to be liked and respected. We like to receive compliments. Positive feelings related to being appreciated and accepted increases our self-confidence. The more our choices and behaviors are praised, the more we want to repeat them. Positive comments are addictive. When we receive them, our brain secretes hormones such as serotonin and endorphins that make us feel good. When somebody comments: “Marry is pretty” or “Jonny is a tough guy”, Marry and Jonny most likely will try to maintain this opinion about themselves, especially if there are other, social or emotional advantages associated with these complements, for example: that others want to be among them people, laugh at their jokes, accept their weakness. In other words, they feel loved and accepted and begin to believe in their magnificence: “People love me for who I am”. Unfortunately, having high self-esteem built on these complements will not necessary increase ones self-confidence. Those who rely on this fake image may become potential victims. In their race to perfection they constantly compare themselves to others and rely on random people’s feedback. They hide their low self-esteem behind the mask of success, importance and power. This image is very fragile and can be destroyed anytime by anyone. One negative comment and shrug of ones shoulders can put the person in despair. In other words, high self-esteem doesn’t guarantee high self-confidence, which is build in the process of socialization and childhood experiences.

Lets remember that our children are our own fault. Parents and teachers often create children’s self-confidence by accepting the child as a person with his or her strengths and weaknesses. Praising, comparing, placing high demands increase the high self-esteem of a child who, wanting to meet parents and teachers expectations, work even more and even harder constantly comparing himself or herself with others. They do anything to achieve their goal and constantly live in deep fear of being defeated or rejected. They feel that they are loved, because they meet set of expectations and strive to reach the goal.

Amanda’s case is drastic. The girl experienced traumatic experiences that will forever remain in her memory. Other than being an attractive girl, Amanda has many talents, she is a great poet and painter, but she is not sure of herself. Therefore she relayed on comments and judgments of other people.

In the process of psychological therapy, a person should realize that he or she deserves to be loved and respected unconditionally. The purpose of psychological intervention is to strengthen person’s self-value and dignity. Self-confidence does not depend on others opinions and comments.

Dr. Ewa J. Antczak & Associates
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