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Blackberry's avatar

What's something significant you remember that had a negative or positive effect on your self-esteem?

Asked by Blackberry (32554points) May 2nd, 2012

For example, I remember being rejected pretty badly by a woman, and that experience stuck with me for awhile.

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37 Answers

john65pennington's avatar

Not once, but three times, I was overlooked to be promoted. I expected this because of my envolvement with our police union. You make political enemies in my position. I gave up on being promoted, so I set my sights on being a detective. With this position, you received a 10% pay raise. I was promoted to a detective. My salary was now the same as a Sgt. and I did not have the problems of being a supervisor.

It counted on my pension, without the worries of a Sgt. and that made me a happy person.

YARNLADY's avatar

I had little or no self-essteem through out my school life. I thought there was something wrong with me because I was so different from the other kids. I loved classes and learning and hated the playground and recess.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

I have a tender self-esteem as it is, but a friend told me once that it is not healthy to think about past wounds to your self-esteem. Reason being that your body reacts to the incident the same when you think about it as when it happened. I have found this to be very sound advice, and I have made a conscious effort to not mull over, or even attempt to remember, bad experiences.

Sunny2's avatar

I’ve never told this to anyone. When I was between 6 and 10 years old (I don’t remember exactly,) an older girl (teen ager) told me that I was pretty and it was too bad, because pretty children grow up to be ugly. It made me super critical of the way I looked and anxious that I would be ugly. It made my teenage life more difficult than it needed to be. I’d look at my face critically and check it out: eyes OK; nose OK; mouth OK except my teeth are kind of big. Why didn’t it all come out OK together? I learned I was lucky I look like I did in college. And I wasn’t ugly at all.

wundayatta's avatar

For a long time I felt bad because I never made much money. Then I felt bad because my wife no longer seemed to love me. Then I felt bad because I got a brain chemistry disorder. That was the worst. Made me think seriously about killing myself so no one would have to put up with me any more.

[I write that in trepidation that someone surely is dying to tell me it’s too bad I didn’t. Well, doesn’t matter. I can tell myself the same thing. And then ignore it.]

Self-esteem is a no-win topic for me. I have learned to give up on that one and move on to something more positive.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

My dancing teacher instilled in me an incessant desire to lose weight regardless of whether I had any to lose or my health. To this day, when I meet her, and I’m no longer 15…I still get scared that she’ll say I’m fat.

janbb's avatar

My Dad told me twice in the last six months of his life, “You do everything so well.” That was a gift.

Aethelflaed's avatar

In high school, I had a tough time getting more than ok marks in English, for reasons beyond everyone. I even had one teacher tell me that because I was so articulate when I spoke, and then my writing was so (apparently) atrocious, he thought I had a writing learning disorder. It’s very hard for me to believe that I am a competent writer, regardless of how many good grades I get on papers now (or, for that matter, how much I’ve looked back at those apparently atrocious essays and decided they were pretty good).

You know what has helped, though? (And this is really awful of me.) Having to revise classmates’ papers in an upper-division writing class, and realizing that if they aren’t totally flunking out for this quality of writing, I’m a damn good writer.

yankeetooter's avatar

I have lead a very lonely, and not so happy life. I have been chatting with this guy online, who wants me to meet him for lunch. I was expressing some general misgivings, such as women have to be careful meeting someone from the internet who they don’t very well. In extreme cases, the woman could be raped, or even killed.

He told me that as miserable as my life has been, he didn’t see how being killed could be any worse… :(

Blackberry's avatar

@Aethelflaed I was the same with math. I even had to have another class period just for tutoring in math, although I excelled in writing and I was told I was writing at a level much higher than my peers, so that boosted my self esteem.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

@yankeetooter I would say, from this guy’s comment, that you are one that wallows in past hurts. That is not healthy, and is bringing all that negativity into your current life. Wow, if he thinks being killed would be preferrable to what your life is now, I would say you really need to work on letting the past be the past.

Not judging you, by any means. I am just concerned for you.

yankeetooter's avatar

@Skaggfacemutt…I didn’t say I felt that way. I was really hurt that he would say something so horrible to me, though…

ucme's avatar

Positive effect: I was born me, I like those beans.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

@yankeetooter I understand – just saying that he wouldn’t have said that unless he got the impression from you that your life was crap. Watch what you are projecting, that’s all.

lloydbird's avatar

I remember that time, when I stubbed my toe, on what turned out to be – a valuable diamond.
For what it’s worth.

tom_g's avatar

I’m sure being the “fat kid” in school growing up (until high school) had some not-so-nice effects on my self esteem.

tedibear's avatar

It’s significant to me, though it may sound minor to others. I’ve mentioned this before on Fluther, so my apologies for the repetition if you recognize it. In sixth grade, I mentioned to a friend of mine that I thought a certain boy was cute. She then turned to him and said, “Hey, she thinks you’re cute.” He was standing with two of his buddies, glanced at them, looked at me and replied, “Arf, arf!” The boys laughed at me and turned away. I’m sure now that his reaction was due to embarrassment and because he was with his friends. But then, all it served to do was hurt me. As he was popular and it small school system, word got around pretty quickly. It set me up for a junior high and most of high school experience that placed me in the realm of the unattractive.

Add to that the “terrific” college experience of being asked – ad infinitum – “Would you introduce me to your roommate? She’s really hot!” Amongst many other experiences and the daily addition of many, many media messages and it adds up to some significant battering to how I feel about myself being able to be a complete woman. Someone who is intelligent, with a good personality and physically attractive.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Awww @tedibear. :( Sorry, but that was a shitty friend, to do that to you.

tedibear's avatar

@Dutchess_III Yeah she really wasn’t. We didn’t stay close too long after that. She lived across the street, but started hanging out with a different crowd. I so wanted to punch her that day!

bewailknot's avatar

The first day of second grade the 2 girls I usually played with during recess said they didn’t want to play with me any more. They lived near each other so played together all summer and I hadn’t seen them since June. Somehow it left me expecting to be rejected – still.

Judi's avatar

I worked for a company that had pre employment testing. I was making a lateral move within the company. I expressed some concern about my ability to live up to the expectations of my new boss. He said, “Judi, I’ve seen your test scores. You are going to do great. ”
At that time (I was in my 20’s) employers were not required to show you your file so I had no idea how well I had done on the testing. This was the first company that really appreciated me as an employee.

wundayatta's avatar

@yankeetooter That guy seems like such a jerk. I can’t understand why anyone would say that. I hope you let him know how hurtful that is in your goodbye email.

yankeetooter's avatar

I have…thanks @wundayatta…and thanks for not turning it around on me. I just couldn’t believe anyone would say something that mean!

wundayatta's avatar

I know. It’s shocking. And I don’t see any point in blaming the victim. You can’t make someone act like that. It takes a special kind of mean to act like that. It’s a wonder he hasn’t pissed someone off so badly they decided to take him out yet.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Whenever people have selected me to accomplish some high level task because I am well qualified to do it and then stand over me telling me step by step how and when I show perform each step (whether they really know enough about it or not). That enrages me and makes be feel devalued.

Judi's avatar

My georgous older sister was in a bicycle accident. Her face was bruised and swollen, 2 black eyes, fat lip, really bad.
I was talking to my older brother a few years later and jokingly said, “The one time I was prettier than Jacque.”
My brother replied, “I wouldn’t necessarily say that.”
It was really hurtful because I always lived in my sisters shadow. Not only was she smart and stunning, but she was also kind and compassionate. I really felt like I would never measure up.
After moving 800 miles away, I think I have finally nursed my self esteem back to health. It’s taken since 1985 though.

linguaphile's avatar

My mom’s a terrific mom, and she meant well in doing this… but she never really let me do things or solve problems myself, She didn’t leave me to deal with things on my own—it was always, “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it,” and I never really had to face doing difficult things.

As an adult, it became somewhat crippling—I was excellent at helping and defending others, going to battle for others, but couldn’t do the same for me. I didn’t develop good assertion skills and had a bad habit of ignoring things, hoping they would fix themselves. I often wouldn’t know how to start dealing with a problem, didn’t know how to tell people to back the eff off, didn’t know how to say no and it severely affected my self-esteem.—not good at all!

I’m SO relieved I grew out of that!

deni's avatar

@Blackberry I REALLY like this question!!!!! I’m gonna think about it.

ratboy's avatar

I don’t have enough appendages to count the times I’ve been passed over for a Nobel Prize; being overlooked and undervalued is a never ending ache. It is some consolation, however, that I was awarded a free coke in a Burger King contest.

wundayatta's avatar

Oh wow! A new source of pain: I was passed over for the Nobel prize even more times than @ratboy was! The pain! The pain! Will it never end?

And I never got a free coke from Burger King, either.

Mariah's avatar

My previous attempt at college took me down a notch. For some reason I just had a really difficult time coping with leaving home. Seemed like I was the only one – what was wrong with me? And then there was the academic trouble I had. I was great at anything theory related, but when it came to the “hands on” work in the lab I was a flailing mess. I was starting to think I was useless outside of academia, which was a disappointment because I had dreams of being an engineer.

And I was sick, sick enough that I had to take a leave of absence and come home after just one quarter. That felt crummy too. I was starting to doubt my abilities to do college. And it felt like it was partially my fault, because my disease was aggravated by stress. Maybe if I had just been better at managing my stress, maybe I wouldn’t be so sick.

So I had to sit around my parents’ house for more than a year, not accomplishing anything, not moving forward in life. That really made me feel awful about myself.

My grandma has dementia, and when I would go to visit her during that year it seemed like she only remembered the shameful things about me. That I had had to drop out of college, that I still didn’t have my driver’s license. It’s not her fault of course, but it felt awful, like my only memorable traits were my failures.

Ahh, but it’s always darkest before the dawn. I got my body sorted out and I went back to college and this time around I kicked ass. I took a robotics engineering class that involved a lot of lab work and that was notorious for being difficult, and I certainly wasn’t a natural at it, but I put in a lot of elbow grease and ended up building a pretty damn good robot. I have a job lined up for next year after two very competitive rounds of interviews. I’m pleased as punch with myself, actually. :)

linguaphile's avatar

@Mariah I’m impressed with your pulling yourself up by your own bootstrapsthat’s far more difficult than being helped up. Congratulations on a job excellently done :)

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Judi You kind of lost me. If I read it right, you made the joke about it being ”...the only time you were prettier than her,” and your brother disagreed. How did that hurt your self esteem?

linguaphile's avatar

@Dutchess_III Judi’s brother meant, even all beat up from the accident, her sister was still prettier than Judi. Ouch.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Ooooooooo. Tell me where he lives @Judi Wait…are you sure he didn’t mean “I wouldn’t necessarily say that was the “only” time you were prettier than her”? ....

Judi's avatar

No @Dutchess_III, he meant that even all beat up, my sister was beautiful. I don’t think he meant to hurts feelings. He’s kind of like Spock. Why should the facts hurt my feelings?

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