Why does our self-esteem rise and fall at any given moment? (and what can we do about it)

Why does our self-esteem rise and fall at any given moment? (and what can we do about it)

via Psychology Today by Lisa Firestone


  • Our critical inner voice is a pattern of negative thoughts about ourselves and others.
  • The critical inner voice can be shaped by our upbringing and our experiences.
  • Compassion will help combat the inner critical voice.

On any given day of our lives, our self-esteem is likely to hit plenty of peaks and valleys. One minute, we may feel confident and content, the next we may feel insecure and uneasy. As unsettling as this can be, it’s not uncommon. Our self-perception is often not based on what’s actually going on in our lives, but rather on a negative internal distortion known as our “critical inner voice.”

The critical inner voice is a well-integrated pattern of negative thoughts toward ourselves and others. In addition to casting a shadow on our sense of self, this internal enemy is often at the root of our maladaptive behavior. We experience this “voice” not as an auditory hallucination, but as a series of questioning, critical, and self-limiting thoughts and attitudes that pop up throughout our day.

To understand the workings of this voice, it’s helpful to first look at its origins. Our inner critic is shaped from early life experiences that are internalized and influence our sense of identity. Just as positive experiences of love, warmth, and security help shape our positive sense of self, negative life experiences inform our inner critic. In an attempt to make sense of painful or hurtful experiences, our minds draw conclusions about who we are and how people will perceive us.

Hurtful attitudes we pick up from our parents or primary caretakers, as well as painful interactions with peers, siblings, or influential adults, can all help shape our critical inner voice. A rejecting or dismissive parent may leave us feeling unimportant or like a burden. An intrusive and judgmental parent may make us feel like we are full of flaws and simply not good enough.

As adults, we may go on to live independent lives, but we’ve absorbed these attitudes and carry them with us, kind of like critical parents in our heads. The tricky part about this process is that we rarely identify these thoughts as outside forces coloring our realistic point of view. Instead, we see our critical inner voice as our real point of view.

So, how does this voice affect us in our present lives?

… keep reading the full & original article HERE