March 15, 2015

Childhood and self-esteem

Agatha Christie plaque -Torre Abbey portret
Agatha Christie plaque -Torre Abbey portret (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
(A re-post, slightly edited)

Agatha Christie said: "One of the luckiest things that can happen to you in life is, I think, to have a happy childhood."

If we take "love" - love in any form: romantic, family and friendship - as a proof of our life existence, love is certainly the most important aspect of life, because only if we appreciate our existence in the first place, are we able to fulfilled it. The more love we receive, the more meaningful and joyful we feel our life is. That’s’ why we all desperately search for love.

Unfortunately, all love we received from others is not completely secure. We could lose our lovers, friends and family members. Or, even worse, we could try very hard but still could not get others’ love. However, one kind of love we could never lose - if we ever get it – is the love from ourselves: self-esteem. A person with a true self-esteem would feel the most confident, capable and emotional secure in his/her entire life, because self-esteem is unconditional, which means we do not have to worry about losing it.

However, self-esteem doesn't come to us with life itself. Many people do not have it, or many people have to work very hard to get it. This difference, by psychological studies also my own observation, is mostly caused by our different childhood.

If all love we received from others are insecure, one type of love from others is different - the love from parents. The love from parents has the same nature as self-love – unconditional. Because of this nature of "unconditional", it is secure, so we don’t have to worry about losing it. Whoever have happy childhood, receive this unconditional love from their parents (or whoever raise them), would gain self-esteem easily from the beginning of their life. And because (it seems) that things we learned earlier in our life would usually stay firmer with us in our later life, these people (who received unconditional love from parents) would naturally hold their self-esteem during their entire life. And on other hand, those who do not receive such kind love during their childhood would have issues with self-esteem during their entire life. Some might eventually learned, some might not.

This is how I feel about Agatha Christie’s a few words which tells a universal truth of life.

Of course there are still exceptions, because life is complicated. Even those who have happy childhood might have to face challenge of their confidence under some specially circumstances, or, those who have unhappy childhood or even no childhood at all could end up knowing the best about how to love themselves. However, generally speaking, a happy childhood is a solid foundation of our self-esteem - the most important ingredient of our personal life happiness.


  1. Agatha Christie must have had a good childhood and I agree with her quote. It is lucky to have a happy childhood because, as we know, not everyone does, and very often what happens in our childhood is completely out of our control and those events imprint in our memory.

    What you write about love is so true. It’s an important aspect of life and something we are all searching for in one way or another. Yes, “the love from ourselves: self-esteem” is really the most important, it’s unconditional and not dependent on anyone else. But yes, we are not born with self-esteem, it has to be nurtured and developed. I agree that whether we have self-esteem or have to work very hard to attain it can be traced back to our childhood. What happens to someone early in life, rejection from a mother for example, can stay with that person into adulthood. I can see this reflected in my own life. Yes, it does affect one’s self-esteem. This is a very thoughtful post, Yun!

    1. Thanks Madilyn for your comprehensive reply. We both can relate to this subject deeply because our respective hard childhood.
      You are right that "what happens in our childhood is completely out of our control and those events imprint in our memory". A happy childhood really is a person's life time treasure!

  2. Indeed. I agree with you, Yun. Childhood is so important. I can't even start to imagine what it may be for a person to be deprived of love during childhood. I've befriended people with traumatized childhoods and however I try to love them they don't trust. There are things that are beyond me. Sometimes all you can do is to love them from a distance and hope that one day they will understand that my love for them was unconditional.

    1. Thanks Julia. It's very kind of you to be friend with those who carry trauma. I even tend to believe that most troubled personalities all have something to do with childhood, more or less, at least.