The Biological Reason For Low Self Esteem

“I know I’m a good person,” Phyllis said earnestly. “I do a lot for my friends. They can count on me and they know it. I would never hurt anyone. I’m kind. The only thing is,” here, she hesitated, “I don’t treat myself nearly as well as I treat everyone else. Although I know this is ridiculous and objectively, I disagree with it, but deep inside, I don’t believe I deserve it.” A case of low self esteem that doesn’t have to be. It’s as if Phyllis is split between her logical self which knows she is a good person in the same way that you and I “know” E=mc2, a knowing at a distance, and her inner self which thoroughly believes she doesn’t deserve to be treated well. It is the illogical, inner self that seems real and the logical self that seems fake. How did this happen and how can Phyllis get past it? Toxic Messages Are Just Stronger Neural Pathways To answer this question requires a short side-step into the world of neuroscience. There is a lot of fascinating research going on all over the country on how the brain works and how it connects to our thoughts and feelings. Apparently, the more we hear a message, the stronger the neural pathways in our brain become. That is, if certain of our actions were followed by particular messages by our parents as we grew up, then a pathway was constructed in our brains so that the instant we would behave in a certain way or something would happen, it would trigger the neurons firing. The more...
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