Self-esteem is a crucial element of the human psyche. It’s the driving force that stands behind our motivation and willingness to invest in various areas of our life. Without this invaluable element, our lives would probably be reduced to a futile chase for basic needs and nothing more. We wouldn’t invest in our personal or professional growth, we wouldn’t seek higher purposes, and we wouldn’t be able to fulfill our dreams.
But self-esteem is like a double-edged sword. It can bring you either victory or defeat. When your self-esteem is at a low point, negative things may occur, and one of those things is codependency.
I’m using the word ‘old’ to highlight the fact that our self-esteem issues can usually be traced back somewhere during our first childhood years. Maybe:
- Our parents or caregivers rarely took the time to praise our accomplishments
- They were too focused on highlighting our flaws instead of our qualities
- We were constantly told that we’re not good enough and that we’ll never be successful in life
- One or both of our parents were alcoholics or addicts, not really able to be there for us emotionally
- We were subjected to verbal, physical, or sexual abuse
Whatever the case may be, low self-esteem is most likely a childhood-related issue that can make life as an adult more challenging.
Unfortunately, some people think that once they reach a certain age, their self-esteem will miraculously ‘heal’. In reality, it’s the exact opposite. To be more specific, the more you live with your self-esteem issues, the worse it can get.
Slowly but surely, you’ll begin to doubt your decisions, beliefs, and opinions. You’ll think that others are smarter, better (at anything) and wiser than you, so there’s no point in trying because you’ll never reach the same level. This kind of dysfunctional thinking ‘screams’ low self-esteem and should generally be seen as a warning sign.
What’s the big deal?
But what does low self-esteem or self-worth have to do with codependency? Well, since people who struggle with low self-esteem and a ‘pathological’ lack of self-confidence, can’t trust their own thinking, they’ll most likely rely on others.
Think about it. Low self-worth makes you doubt yourself and keeps you on hold, but at the same time, you still need to satisfy your needs (basic and complex). So, what do you do?
You ‘ask’ others to take care of your needs and desires because you think this task is too much for someone so insignificant and powerless as you.
Basically, you turn yourself into a victim and give up your personal power, all because of some self-worth issues that were ‘planted’ in your head when you were too young to protect yourself from negative influences.
But now you’re all grown up. Now you can distinguish between good and bad. You can be fully aware of your needs and desires, and work toward pursuing them. And since you’ve reached a certain level of maturity, you can start working on your self-esteem issues, which will result in a decrease of your codependent tendencies.
More on how you can begin boosting self-esteem issues down the road.