Loving Ourselves Overcomes Low Self-Esteem

In last week’s #Thursday Thoughts blog post we started a mini-series that considers how childhood experiences affect our adult lives and influence our parenting. (You can read it here if you missed it.) Owen Connolly has some great insights to share on this, so we have broken up the various interlinked issues into a number of posts. In today’s post we look at how the self-love discussed last week, is negatively affected by low self-esteem. Owen shows how self-esteem is affected by the intimacy needs of childhood, and explains how important it is that we examine what we believe about ourselves. This then can be applied to how we meet the intimacy needs of our children, in order to help them have good self-esteem and positive self-love.


Many of us find it hard to love ourselves because we suffer from low self-esteem. hide-your-real-self Low self-esteem is usually the result of an individual not having their resources applauded. For example, if you happen to be a sensitive-cautious child and your parents look at that as being a huge disadvantage to you and they promote it as a disadvantage – saying “you shouldn’t be shy,” etc. – then what kind of message are you getting? You’re getting the message that you’re not what they want, and if you get that message into your head, you’ll often try to be what you think they want and that leads you to behave in a way that’s copying somebody else. And the more and more you become an actor rather than yourself, the more and more you’ll see yourself as lying to yourself and to the world. You’ll feel you’re not being true to yourself and that the platform you’re starting with is a lie. You’ll begin questioning yourself, and your insecurity will start to be evident. Suddenly one day that whole persona that you designed for yourself will collapse. As a person, you either understand that you are the “I am” or you understand “I need to be somebody else.” If you can accept that you are the “I am” then you have a much less difficult time than someone who is always striving to be somebody that they’re not. In order to accept and love ourselves as we really are, we need to unclutter what we believe about ourselves by removing the lies which have been our truths since childhood. But before we are able to do that, we must first understand the intimacy needs of each child, because it was the denial of those intimacy needs in our own childhood that led us to believe those lies in the first place.


The main intimacy needs of each child work like a domino effect. The four primary intimacy needs have their secondaries, etc. But the primary ones have a foundational effect on how we live our lives. They are almost like the foundations of a house – our house, no matter how lovely, will fall unless it’s built on rock. So it’s a responsibility for a parent to make sure these healthy investments are made in their children. Your children will be demanding them at each stage of their development, and it’s your job to recognise these needs and help to see that they’re met.

According to Owen, there are four main intimacy needs.

  • Acceptance/forgiveness
  • Attention
  • Encouragement
  • Respect

We will look at each of these in turn in successive blog posts. Be sure to join us every Thursday in enjoying Owen’s unique insight.

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